GOP cries ‘fraud’ at Dem voter registrations
U.S. Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-7, of Chadds Ford, is calling out a Democraticaligned voter registration organization and the Pennsylvania Department of State for allegedly missing an Oct. 11 deadline to file nearly 7,000 applications that he said appear to be duplicative or fraudulent as part of a possible conspiracy.
“That (date) is unambiguous, and yet we have literally thousands of applications that were dumped on Delaware County with no proof of timely filing with respect to that date,” said Meehan during a news conference Thursday at the Delaware County Government Center Building. “Of the 7,000 that were jammed down the throats of the commission here, it is estimated that close to 3,500 of them have some sort of infirmity … causing the county to send out more than 1,000 questionnaires to people all over, looking for further information to substantiate their ability to vote.”
The Delaware County Voter Registration Commission will hold a hearing this morning in an attempt to determine when those forms were actually submitted, according to county Solicitor Mike Maddren. It was unclear Thursday if the commission would also delve into the forgery issue.
The applications were allegedly gathered by FieldWorks LLC and delivered to the Department of State, according to Meehan. He questioned why a form allegedly gathered in Del-
aware County would be delivered 100 miles away in Harrisburg.
“The requirement is that … you send the voter applications to the commissioner in our county. That’s in the rules. That was not done in this case,” said Meehan. “Rather, at the last second, literally thousands of these applications were not sent to Delaware County and the commission, they were sent to the state. They circumvented the requirements.”
Delaware County Republican Party Chairman Andy Reilly said the county voter registration office received one package of forms from UPS Oct. 14 weighing 1 pound and another Oct. 17 weighing 10 pounds. A receipt for the first package indicates an Oct. 11 transaction date and the second lists Oct. 14 as the date the package was sent.
“We had a number where Social Security numbers or driver’s license numbers did not match the individual identified,” said Maddren. “We received 6,300 (forms) on those two dates, close to 900 had that issue. Another 2,400 were already registered; over 100 listed addresses that don’t exist; 200 to 300 didn’t include vital information.”
Reilly, joined by Chester County GOP Chairman Val DiGiorgio and Springfield Republican Party Chairman Michael Puppio, noted many of the registrations were filled out in June, July and August, and asked why the forms were held until the last minute and taken to the Department of State in Harrisburg rather than the local registration commission in Media.
When Reilly asked the Department of State for a receipt or other material showing a date stamp for receipt of those applications, he said he was provided two sheets of paper from FieldWorks that were stamped Oct. 14 by the department. Those two forms appear to be dated Oct. 11 by FieldWorks, but only account for 871 of the approximately 6,900 forms received, he said.
“When the Department of State forwards any voter applications to the counties, we attest to the fact that they were either postmarked or delivered in person by the registration deadline,” spokeswoman Wanda Murren wrote in an email. “If they were not timely received or postmarked, we would not send them to any county. The Department of State received voter registrations from FieldWorks by the deadline and, in accordance with the department’s usual procedures, sent timely received registrations to the appropriate counties for processing, including Delaware County.”
Pennsylvania State Police served a search warrant at the FieldWorks office at 510 Chester Pike, Norwood, on Oct. 28 seeking evidence of violations of the Pennsylvania Election Code and tampering with public records.
Jeffrey A. Johnson, acting deputy press secretary for the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office, said he cannot comment on that investigation or whether anyone associated with FieldWorks is facing criminal charges. An affidavit of probable cause accompanying the warrant has been sealed, according to Delaware County District Attorney spokeswoman Emily Harris.
FieldWorks has issued a statement claiming it has a “zero tolerance” policy for fraud and will “work aggressively with authorities to seek the prosecution of anyone involved in wrongdoing.”
A spokesman for FieldWorks did not respond to an email seeking comment on the newest developments Thursday.
Meehan said Thursday that the Department of State would have Delaware County simply input the forms and allow them to vote, but pointed to one woman whose name appears on nine separate forms and lists five different addresses.
“Maybe they’d like to tell us … which of the nine separate registration forms should we use for (her)?” he said. “Which of the (five) locations – different locations – where she registered to vote through this organization?”
Members of the press were given copies of that individual’s multiple registrations, as well as a packet containing 52 forms with purportedly bad addresses. Copies of Voter Registration Commission mailings that had been returned indicating the address does not exist were included with some names but not others. In some cases, the address identified on the provided summary did not match the actual form. One was for a person listed on the summary as living in Upper Darby, for instance, while the application indicated the person lived in Chester. That address does exist in Chester and no returned mailing for that individual was attached to the press packet.
Nonetheless, those names reflect only a fraction of the allegedly late or insufficient forms that will be the subject of today’s 9 a.m. hearing in the county council meeting room on the first floor of the government center.
Reilly said he hopes a representative from the Department of State will be present at the hearing today to provide more information on when the forms came to that office and what authority a third-party organization like FieldWorks has to deliver the forms to that department instead of the local voter registration office.
Meehan also said he would send a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch requesting an investigation into what he deemed “clear criminal activities” with respect to at least a few of the names submitted.
While there is clear evidence of voter registration fraud, according to Reilly, there is still a question of whether that could or will translate to fraud at the polls. Reilly said fake identification would be easy to acquire or other issues with poll watchers could allow fraudulent voters to slip through.
Puppio suggested a simple fix might be to allow any of these voters, if they show up, to vote provisionally. That would ensure no one is disenfranchised if they can be verified in that district while keeping potentially fraudulent votes off the books.
Republican leaders talk about challenges to Democratic voter registrations Thursday. From left are Chester County GOP leader Val DiGiorgio, U.S. Rep. Pat Meehan, Delaware County GOP Chairman Andy Reilly, and Mike Puppio, Springfield GOP leader.