Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Press Release: Investigation of Marion County Board of Voter Registration for Possible Fraud and Other Legal Violations is Requested

Press Release  

Independent Congressional Candidate Mmoja Ajabu and Coalition of
Political Activists Call for Investigation of Marion County Board of Voter Registration

Contact Person:         
Paul K. Ogden, Attorney at Law
317-297-9720 (office)                                                                         

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.

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patriot paul said...

I'm unaware of any local tea party or tea party-at-large chapter having knowledge or encouraging this event.

Anonymous said...

I am surprised that you would align yourself with someone of Ajabu's ilk. He has a talent for public stupidity. He is an albatross to anyone he attaches himself to.

Marycatherine Barton said...

When I ran as a third party candidate in Marion County and Indiana years ago, I had no trouble with the Marion County Election Board or the Secretary of State's Office, and qualified each time. What in tarnation is going on with our election board this century?