INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The voter registration deadline is quickly approaching, but state officials have a different concern in mind.
Secretary of State Connie Lawson said voters should check their voter registrations to make sure they’re accurate. A group called the Indiana Voter Registration Project has turned in forged voter registration forms. The group was altering the information of voters who had already registered, changing addresses without the voters’ knowledge or consent, according to officials.
Indiana State Police are investigating the suspected voter fraud in Hendricks and Marion Counties. Investigators said there are at least ten cases where voter information appears to have been doctored, and it's possible the investigation could expand.
The FBI has been briefed of the investigation, which at this point includes six ISP detectives.
"An alert Hendricks County clerk saw some discrepancies with voter registrations they were receiving," said Capt. Dave Bursten with Indiana State Police.
The investigation into the fraud started in Hendricks County about three weeks ago when election staff there noticed incomplete forms and signatures that didn't match up. Police said the probe expanded to include false voter information in Marion County.
"It appeared there were some actual fraudulent voter registrations. We've determined at least ten at this time, and we are continuing our investigation," said Bursten.
Fake registrations could strip someone of their vote or even give a person the ability to cast multiple ballots.
"That possibility certainly exists, and that's why we take this investigation very seriously," said Bursten, "Imagine if your name has been turned in with a different address, and now it comes time to vote. You go to your regular voting place and they say, hey it says you don' t live here anymore. You can't vote."
Lawson encouraged voters to check their information at indianavoters.com or through the Indiana Voters app. If you find something wrong, contact the Secretary of State’s Office at 1-866-IN-1-Vote (1-866-461-8683).
“Election integrity and security is a top priority,” Lawson said. “We are working with the state police to ensure this matter is addressed quickly. I encourage all Hoosiers to be vigilant at this time and to monitor their voter registrations until the close of the voter registration deadline.”
The voter registration deadline is Oct. 11, and Lawson believes the group will continue to operate right up to the close of registration. Be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the Secretary of State’s Office.
Voters can register by going online or visiting their county clerk’s office. Hoosiers can also register at state offices like the Bureau of Motor Vehicles or Family and Social Services.
The Indiana Voter Registration Project released the following statement on Thursday afternoon after the secretary of state’s office issued the warning. The group said they are working with Indiana law enforcement.
"We sincerely hope that no one in a partisan elected position is using their office in an effort to make it harder for the people of Indiana to vote. The Indiana Voter Registration Project is a nonpartisan effort to ensure that all Indianans who are eligible to vote can do so. As part of its quality-assurance program, the Indiana Voter Registration Project has reviewed tens of thousands of applications and identified a small handful that may have had incomplete or inaccurate information and, in those instances, we immediately informed the Registrar and asked them to double check those forms for accuracy. We have and will continue to work with Indiana authorities to resolve these issues, so that no one is prevented from voting in November who is eligible to do so."
- Spokeswoman Christy Setzer, Indiana Voter Registration Project