Pennsylvania state police widen probe of voter registration fraud

The state probe involves voter registrations gathered by Washington-based FieldWorks LLC, a 15-year-old company that has worked with a wide range of Democratic and progressive groups around the country

PUBLISHED : Friday, 04 November, 2016, 9:53pm
UPDATED : Friday, 04 November, 2016, 10:07pm

State police have widened their investigation of possible voter registration fraud in the state of Pennsylvania, raiding the Philadelphia office of a grassroots organisation that works with Democrats, while election officials in the suburbs questioned the validity of thousands of last-minute applications from the company.

The state probe involves voter registrations gathered by Washington-based FieldWorks LLC, a 15-year-old company that has worked with a wide range of Democratic and progressive groups around the country.

State police arrived at FieldWorks’ Philadelphia office with a search warrant on Thursday, less than a week after raiding the company’s location in suburban Delaware County, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Agents said they were looking for evidence of “fraudulent voter registration forms”.

In unprecedented warning, Trump suggests US election could be rigged and says Clinton is ‘the devil’

FieldWorks submitted 7,000 voter registration applications to the Pennsylvania Department of State, which sent them in batches to Delaware County on October 14 and 17 without providing any evidence they had been turned in on time, said Delaware County solicitor Michael Maddren.

“We have a real issue on our hands,” he said. “We’ve asked the Department of State to appear and explain themselves.”

Department of State spokeswoman Wanda Murren insisted FieldWorks had submitted the applications by October 11.

“If they were not timely received or postmarked, we would not send them to any county,” she said.

FieldWorks also faces questions about its canvassers. An ongoing review by Delaware County election officials has revealed problems with hundreds of applications, from addresses that don’t exist to Social Security numbers or driver’s license numbers that don’t match. Some voters were registered multiple times — one woman appeared on nine applications.

It’s rigged-diculous: Obama rejects Trump’s warning that election might be fixed

A warrant obtained for last week’s state police search in Delaware County noted agents were looking for “any templates [physical or electronic] utilised to construct fraudulent voter registration forms”, and evidence the same voters appeared on multiple registration forms.

In a statement issued before Thursday’s raid, FieldWorks spokesman Matt Dorf said the company “has the most rigorous quality controls in the industry and zero tolerance for fraud”.

FieldWorks is cooperating with local officials and “will work aggressively with authorities to seek the prosecution of anyone involved in wrongdoing”, he said. The apparent irregularities had Republicans crying foul.

Republican Representative Patrick Meehan, whose district includes Delaware County, wrote to the US Department of Justice on Thursday to demand an investigation of FieldWorks.

Some of the applications “are not only clearly suspect, but they are criminal”, Meehan said

in an interview.