Virginia election officials will not seek a criminal investigation into voter registration forms that a District-based nonprofit mailed to hundreds of dead Virginians, children, non-citizens, pets and others ineligible to vote.
Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in July had called for a criminal probe into Voter Participation Center mailings, which arrived in hundreds and possibly thousands of commonwealth mailboxes already filled out with the names of ineligible voters.
State Board of Elections Chairman Charles E. Judd said at the time that he did not expect to seek a criminal investigation into the mailings, which the center blamed on a faulty commercial mailing list.
On Monday, the full board officially decided against an inquiry. It took no vote, but at a meeting on the issue declined to ask Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) to investigate.
“[A]fter hearing from many folks on both sides of the issue, and with the repeated assurances from VPC that they would not pre-populate the forms [with the names of voters], edit their copy so as to not imply that the mailing was sent from SBE, and take additional measure to ‘clean’ the lists before the mail drop ... the board took no action to officially ask the AG to investigate,” Judd said later by e-mail.
The board received more than 750 complaints, mostly from people whose pets or deceased relatives have received solicitations to register to vote. The mailings revived talk of voter fraud in Virginia, a crucial swing state where President Obama and Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, are deadlocked in a recent poll.
Romney’s campaign had argued that the mailings threatened the integrity of the presidential election.
The center stressed that it mailed applications for registering to vote — forms widely available at government offices and online — and not voter ID cards, which can serve as identification at the polls and can be issued only by elections officials. It was the responsibility of recipients and elections officials to make sure no one actually registered with an errant form, the center said.