Voter fraud probe expands to Hancock County

GREENFIELD — Local election officials are advising Hancock County residents to check their voter registration information after investigators announced fraudulent voter applications were filed in nine counties, including Hancock.

The Indiana State Police and the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office launched an investigation in August into allegations an Indianapolis-based voter registration organization, Indiana Voter Registration Project, filed fraudulent voter application information in Hendricks and Marion counties.

After serving a search warrant at the business Tuesday, detectives announced they are expanding the investigation to include Hancock, Allen, Delaware, Hamilton, Johnson, Lake and Madison counties.

Investigators believe the total potentially fraudulent registrations could number in the hundreds, according to an Indiana State Police news release issued Tuesday. The fraudulent registration information includes combinations of correct names with fake addresses, fake names with real addresses and fake birthdates, police said.

Hancock County Clerk Marcia Moore said the local election office has been instructed to send copies of any suspicious voter registration applications to the Indiana State Police for review. Several have already been sent, though Moore would not confirm how many.

The Indiana Voter Registration Project often canvasses Hoosier neighborhoods or visits fairs and festivals to register voters, officials said. The group is accused of altering information for voters who were already registered, according to a press release from the Indiana Secretary of State’s office. No arrests have been made, Indiana State Police Sgt. John Perrine said.

Investigators made copies of thousands of documents housed at the Indiana Voter Registration Project headquarters in downtown Indianapolis Tuesday, though all original documents were left to protect the election process, police said. All court documents pertaining to the investigation have been sealed for the next 30 days.

Perrine said it’s too early to tell the motive behind the alleged filing of fake registration forms, though investigators suspect employees of the Indiana Voter Registration Project might have been trying to meet a quota of applications rather than trying to influence the election.

Local and state election officials are encouraging voters to visit indianavoters.in.gov to verify their information is correct before casting ballots this fall. Early voting is slated to begin next week.

At a glance

Local and state election officials are encouraging voters to visit indianavoters.in.gov to verify their voter registration information is correct before casting ballots this fall. Early voting is slated to begin next week.

If you find inaccurate information included in your registration, call the Hancock County Election Office at 317-477-1171 and the 24-hour Indiana State Police Voter Registration Application Fraud tip line at 888-603-3147.

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Caitlin VanOverberghe is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3237 or cvanoverberghe@greenfieldreporter.com.