Indiana Dems Convicted for Obama, Clinton Ballot Petition Forgery Scheme

Butch Morgan

Two Democratic political operatives have been convicted for a scheme that involved forging petitions to get Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on the 2008 primary ballot in Indiana.

Convicted Thursday on felony conspiracy charges related to the scheme, Butch Morgan Jr. directed Democratic officials to forge the petitions, which are required for candidates on the ballot. The second man, Dustin Blythe, was also convicted on felony forgery charges, Fox News reports:

The scheme was hatched in January of 2008, according to affidavits from investigators who cite former Board of Registration worker Lucas Burkett, who told them he was in on the plan at first, but then became uneasy and quit. He waited three years before telling authorities about it, but if revelations about any forgeries were raised during the election, the petitions could have been challenged during the contest. A candidate who did not qualify with enough legitimate signatures at the time, could have been bounced from the ballot. [...]

Under state law, presidential candidates need to qualify for the primary ballots with 500 signatures from each of the state's nine congressional districts. Indiana election officials say that in St. Joseph County, which is the 2nd Congressional district, the Obama campaign qualified with 534 signatures; Clinton's camp had 704.

Prosecutors say that in President Obama's case, nine of the petition pages were apparently forged. Each petition contains up to 10 names, making a possible total of 90 names, which, if faked, could have brought the Obama total below the legal limit required to qualify. Prosecutors say 13 Clinton petitions were apparently forged, meaning up to 130 possibly fake signatures. Even if 130 signatures had been challenged, it would have still left Mrs. Clinton with enough signatures to meet the 500 person threshold.

Published under: Crime Blotter