This post has been updated.
Three Virginia congressmen are asking the U.S. Department of Justice to launch a probe of alleged voter registration fraud in Virginia and other states, just as the Virginia State Board of Elections said Tuesday that it was not pushing for a statewide investigation into the case of a Republican accused of discarding voter forms because local prosecutors haven’t asked for help.
Virginia Democrats have been calling for a wider investigation since the Rockingham County sheriff’s office announced last week that it had arrested Colin Small, 23, of Phoenixville, Pa., on 13 counts of voter registration fraud. Small, who has not responded to requests for comment, was allegedly seen discarding completed voter registration forms in a Harrisonburg dumpster.
Now U.S. Reps. Gerald Connolly, James P. Moran Jr. and Bobby Scott, all Democrats, have upped the ante, writing a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking for an investigation into vote fraud allegations against both Pinpoint — which employed Small — and Strategic Allied Consulting, another contractor fired by the Republican National Committee that previously employed Small.
“The number of allegations in a multitude of locations would suggest something more than the isolated acts of ‘a few bad apples,’” the three Democrats wrote. “We respectfully request the Justice Department to assume the responsibility and conduct its own investigation, given the mounting evidence that one company may have been engaged in a similar multi-state effort to commit voter registration fraud.”
A Justice Department spokesman said Tuesday afternoon, “We have received the letter, and we are reviewing the letter.”
In Virginia, the office of state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II has not commenced an investigation of the case because it can only do so if the SBE or local prosecutors request one. (On Monday, Cuccinelli sent a letter to state Sen. Donald McEachin (D-Richmond), who has called for a probe by the AG, saying the General Assembly should grant his office increased authority to initiate such investigations.)
On Tuesday, the SBE released a statement from SBE Secretary Donald Palmer saying his office was “cooperating with the ongoing investigation” by local authorities.
“Pursuant to state law, violations of election laws are investigated and prosecuted at the local level unless additional support or resources from the Attorney General are indicated,” Palmer said. “At this time, the Commonwealth’s Attorney has not indicated a need for assistance on the state level.”
The Rockingham County commonwealth’s attorney’s office had not responded to a request for comment as of this posting.
On Friday, an SBE official told the Associated Press that it was not asking for a broader investigation of the Small case because it appeared to be an isolated incident. On Monday, Palmer clarified that the board had not decided whether to request an investigation and would need unanimous agreement to do so.
This post has been updated since it was first published.