Indiana 2008 Presidential Primary Election Fraud Probe Heats Up
By Eric Shawn
December 7, 2011
Charity Rorie, a mother of four, sat in her Mishawaka, Ind., kitchen, stunned that her name appeared on a 2008 Democratic presidential primary petition for then-candidate Barack Obama.
“That’s not my signature,” she told Fox News, saying her signature is “absolutely” a fake. She also said she was troubled someone forged both her signature and that of her husband, Jeff, and listed personal details such as their address and birthdays.
“It’s scary,” Rorie said. “It’s shocking. It definitely is illegal. A lot of people have already lost faith in politics and the whole realm of politics, so that just solidifies all of our worries and concerns.”
Robert Hunter Jr. said his name was faked, too.
“I did not sign for Barack Obama,” he told Fox News, adding his signature supporting the then-Illinois senator’s effort to get on the primary ballot was also a forgery.
As he examined the Obama petition he held in his hands, Hunter pointed out that “I always put ‘Junior’ after my name, every time … there’s no ‘Junior’ there.” He said the signature on the petition looks “very close” to his real one, but it clearly is not.
“My wife and I actually signed a petition for Hillary Clinton,” he said. “I am an Obama fan, but not in the primaries I wasn’t.”
The prospect that theirs are two of an estimated 150 signatures that may have been forged on the petitions has raised the question of whether President Obama actually reached the legitimate number of signatures needed to be placed on the ballot in Indiana. Under state law, presidential candidates need to file 500 signatures from each of the state’s nine congressional districts. Indiana election officials say that in St. Joseph County, the Obama campaign qualified with 534 signatures; Clinton’s camp had 704. The certified signatures were never challenged.
“I had always thought that, now-President Obama, had earned his victory in Indiana,” said the state’s Republican chairman, Eric Holcomb. “But then I quickly learned that he had cheated his way on to the ballot in the primary.”
The allegations that election fraud touched a race for the highest office in the land are at the center of an investigation by St. Joseph County Attorney Michael Dvorak. He would not comment, but sources say the probe is gaining steam as prosecutors delve into the petitions that sailed through the St. Joseph County Voter Registration Board, located in South Bend. There have been reports that as many as seven people may have been involved in an alleged conspiracy to fake the petitions.
“I was very surprised,” said the newly elected Democratic chairman of St. Joseph County, State Sen. John Broden. “This is a bipartisan issue that we need to take a look at … so I hope that this is something, that we as both parties, try to look at what exactly happened, and most importantly, how do we prevent it from happening again.”
Broden recently replaced long-serving Democratic Chairman Butch Morgan, who resigned suddenly in October under party pressure because of the scandal.
“There is no evidence that Butch Morgan ever personally directed, authorized or condoned the forging or alteration of petition signatures,” said his attorney, Shaw Friedman, who argued against the resignation. He said Morgan did “absolutely not” forge any signatures, or know who might have.