Voter fraud investigation continues in Harrisonburg
UPDATE (Oct. 31, 5:39 p.m.):
WHSV checked in with the Harrisonburg's Director of Elections, Deborah Logan, to determine any new updates on a voter fraud investigation in the Friendly City.
Last week, information circulated that charges could be pending against the individual responsible for registering dead individuals to vote, but no information regarding official charges has yet been passed on.
The Commonwealth Attorney's Office has not answered calls about the situation, and no charges have been made public.
UPDATE (Sept. 29, 6:34 p.m.):
On Thursday, Sept. 29, WHSV learned the name on the registration ballot that prompted a voter fraud investigation in Harrisonburg: Richard Claybrook Senior.
He passed away in 2014, and had his name used on a false voter registration form in 2016. His family was deeply disturbed and alerted authorities when they found a notice in the mail saying the deceased Claybrook could vote in Harrisonburg.
We also spoke with Virginia House Republicans today, who say that this case of voter fraud exemplifies their push for Voter ID laws.
Republican delegate from Charlottesville, Rob Bell, said, "If we really mean one person, one vote, then we need to make sure that those votes aren't diluted by people that are illegally or unlawfully voting".
We also reached out to the Harrisonburg voter registrar and the Rockingham Commonwealth's Attorney. However, they declined further comment on the investigation.
UPDATE (Sept. 16, 1:15 p.m.):
According to Joe Fitzgerald, the co-founder of HarrisonburgVOTES, a JMU student used deceased people's information to register to vote. The student acted independently from HarrisonburgVOTES and did not file the applications for the organization.
That student, who we are not naming at this time, no longer works for HarrisonburgVOTES.
According to the organization's website, the goal of HarrisonburgVOTES is to encourage young people to register to vote. The organization says it wants to raise the number of registered voters to 25,000.
UPDATE (Sept. 16, 12:52 p.m.):
According to Deborah Logan, the Director of Elections for the City of Harrisonburg, this investigation is ongoing. As of Friday, multiple parties are being questioned in relation to the voter fraud. They are not able to release any names at this time.
ORIGINAL STORY (Sept. 13):
The FBI and Harrisonburg Police are investigating voter fraud.
Commonwealth's Attorney Marsha Garst said law enforcement is looking in to whether an organization used "a number of" deceased people's information to register to vote. As of Tuesday afternoon, the investigation is ongoing and she could not release more information.
According to a statement from the Harrisonburg Registrar's Office, a family member notified the Commonwealth's Attorney and an investigation was opened by the Harrisonburg Police Department.
You can read the full statement from the Harrisonburg Registrar's Office, with all details of the situation, at the bottom of this article below the asterisks.
Director of Elections Deborah Logan said you can look up yours or your deceased family member's voter registration status online. She said you can also call the voter registrar's office and they can help you as well.
The office said they will submit a full list of false registrations to the Electoral Board before election so the registrations can be canceled.
Full statement from the Voter Registrar's Office:
"Several weeks ago an organization engaged in registering voters for the upcoming election submitted numerous voter registration applications. A review by my office staff revealed that a number of these registration applications appeared false. An affected party’s family member notified the Commonwealth’s Attorney and an investigation was opened by the Harrisonburg Police Department. The matter has also been investigated by the FBI. At this time, the Harrisonburg Police Department continues its investigation but my understanding is the matter has been referred to the Commonwealth’s Attorney and the United States Attorney for the Western District of Virginia. So far the investigation has revealed a number of voter registration applications that are false. At some point before the election, we will submit a list of the false voter registrations to the Electoral Board to have those registrations cancelled. This is all the information I have at this time.
It has come to my attention that this matter has hit social media and I want everyone to know that our office is handling this as advised by the City Attorney, the Commonwealth’s Attorney the Police Investigator and the FBI Agent.
Questions can be directed to Chris Bean at the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office."