“Throughout history, it has been the inaction of those who could have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of justice when it mattered most; that has made it possible for evil to triumph.”
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Press Release: Investigation of Marion County Board of Voter Registration for Possible Fraud and Other Legal Violations is Requested
Independent Congressional Candidate
Mmoja Ajabu and Coalition of
Political Activists Call for Investigation of Marion County Board of Voter
Reminder:Date and Time of Press Conference is Wednesday, July
25, 2012 at 1 pm, Outside of the Secretary of State's Office, Second Floor of
Statehouse, Room 201.
Earlier this year, Rev. Mmoja
Ajabu filed as an independent candidate for Congress.As an independent congressional candidate, Indiana
law required that he obtain 3,010 signatures from voters within the 7th
Congressional District to qualify for the ballot.By law, these signatures were to be certified
by the Marion County Board of Voter Registration.The Board is led by two appointees, one each appointed
by the Marion County Democratic and Republican chairman.
Rev. Ajabu and his campaign
staff worked diligently to gather signatures mostly from approaching potential
voters outside the Marion County Traffic Court.In the first batch, Rev. Ajabu turned in over 4700 signatures.Of those signatures, the Board confirmed 1300
were registered voters in the 7th Congressional District.
Later Rev. Ajabu turned in a
second batch of petitions, including 443 pages with signatures of approximately
4,430 individuals.This time, the Marion
County Board of Voter Registration issued a letter declaring that not a single
registered voter could be found among the 4,430 names. As a result, Rev
Ajabu was determined to have fallen short of the 3,010 signatures needed to
qualify for the ballot.
A review by the Ajabu for
Congress campaign discovered the second batch petitions, in fact, included 2,418
registered voters.Along with the 1300
from the first batch, Rev. Ajabu easily qualified for the ballot.A subsequent review of the second batch petitions
shows that, unlike the first batch, the petitions contained no handwritten notations
indicating the names were ever reviewed by the Board.
This is not the first
occasion in which the Board has acted in a questionable manner. This Spring
there was a successful challenge to Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim
Wallace based on a supposed failure of signatures on the petitions to match
what was on file.The attorney in that
case bringing the challenge was none other than the former Marion County
Republican county chairman who had appointed the very GOP board member who
refused to certify Wallace.
The Marion County Board of
Voter Registration appears to be using its ministerial authority to disqualify
candidates who are opposing those preferred by the county chairmen.Such actions undermine the integrity of the
political process and could discourage future candidates who dare challenge the
establishment's preferred candidates.Further,
the actions of the Board could involve fraud and other legal violations.
Because of concern over the
integrity of the petition process, Rev. Ajabu and a coalition of Republicans,
Democrats, and members of the Tea Party, have called a press conference to ask
that Secretary of State Connie Lawson and other public officials investigate
the actions taken by the Marion County Board of Registration and determine
whether the conduct of the Board in attempting to disqualify candidates, constitutes
fraud or otherwise violates Indiana or federal law.In addition, Rev. Ajabu and the coalition will be asking that Secretary
of State Lawson and members of the legislature review whether there needs to be
changes to the law, perhaps by removing the Board of Voter Registration from
control of the major party county chairmen or possibly adding an independent
member to act as a watchdog on the two major parties.