South Bend Tribune – Obama signatures might have fallen short

Obama signatures might have fallen short Barack Obama 2008 Presidential Election Fraud Indiana,

Faked names on ’08 primary petitions could have kept Obama, and possibly Clinton, off Indiana ballot.

South Bend Tribune (IN)

October 14, 2011

Obama signatures might have fallen short

ERIN BLASKO Tribune Staff Writer

SOUTH BEND — Minus suspected fakes, then Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama

likely fell short of the number of signatures needed to appear on the 2008 Indiana primary ballot, and

it’s possible his opponent, Hillary Clinton, did as well, according to information obtained by The

Tribune as part of an investigation into suspected ballot petition fraud.

Trent Deckard, Democratic co-director of the state Election Division, in an e-mail Thursday told The

Tribune Obama’s 2008 petition for primary ballot placement in the state contained 534 certified

signatures in the 2nd Congressional District. Clinton’s petition contained 704 certified signatures, he

said.

Presidential candidates must collect at least 500 signatures in each of the state’s nine congressional

districts to appear on the statewide primary ballot in Indiana.

As reported Sunday, The Tribune, in conjunction with Howey Politics Indiana, has uncovered scores

of fake signatures on both the Obama and Clinton petitions in the 2nd Congressional District and

specifically St. Joseph County.

Dozens of people whose signatures appear on the Clinton petition have told The Tribune they did not

sign the document, and Erich Speckin, a forensic document analyst hired by the paper and Howey

Politics identified at least 19 suspected fake Obama petition pages.

Those Obama pages account for more than 100 signatures, meaning, minus the fakes, the former

senator likely would not have qualified for ballot placement in the state.

Whether Clinton, a former senator and now secretary of state under Obama, would have qualified is

harder to determine. The Tribune has identified 35 fake signatures on her petition in the district at this

point.

That said, Speckin identified a number of suspected fake Clinton petition pages as well.

Clinton narrowly defeated Obama in the Indiana primary, and Obama won the state in his general

election victory over John McCain.

If Obama had not been on the ballot in Indiana, it would not have changed the outcome of the primary

election. The former senator and current president won the Democratic nomination for president

despite losing to Clinton in Indiana.

There is no evidence Clinton or Obama knew about the fake signatures. Voter registration offices

across the state certified both candidates’ petitions, as did the Election Division.

No one challenged the petitions at the time.

Responding to the ballot question, state Republican Party Chair Eric Holcomb said in a statement

Thursday: “I’ve consistently said Barack Obama earned his narrow victory in Indiana. If these new

allegations are true, that’s no longer the case. He wouldn’t have visited the state 48 times and aired

countless commercials because he wouldn’t have even been on the primary ballot.”

Holcomb, who has called on the Department of Justice to investigate the Clinton and Obama

petitions, also responded to a report that the suspected fake Obama petition pages passed through the

county voter registration office on days when the Republican member of the office was out.

“The evidence currently suggests this was clearly not a clerical error or simple oversight,” Holcomb

said. “Multiple crimes have been committed in a brazen violation of the public trust against the people

of Indiana and our electoral process.”

As reported by The Tribune on Wednesday, the pages in question bear the stamped signature of

Republican Linda Silcott. That indicates Silcott, who missed a number of days of work in early 2008

because of the death of her husband, was out at the time the documents passed through the office.

“With this latest development that the Republican board member was not even present to confirm the

validity of these fraudulent signatures, yet another set of questions is raised,” Holcomb said.

“Were the forged forms purposely shepherded through the process knowing she was out of the office

and approval would come easily? Where did the vetting process break down or was it meant to? …

What knowledge did the Obama and Clinton campaign teams have of the effort to collect fraudulent

signatures?”

Holcomb also suggested St. Joseph County Prosecutor Mike Dvorak, whose office is looking into the

Obama and Clinton petitions, “recuse himself from any investigation being conducted by his office.”

“Believing Prosecutor Dvorak is a victim of this crime, it’s essential to maintain complete impartiality

in investigating this important case,” he said. “Therefore he should step aside and cooperate with

those assigned to the investigation.”

Dvorak’s name and signature appear twice on the Clinton petition. He told The Tribune one of the

signatures is his but did not respond to a question about the validity of a second signature sent to him

a few days later, saying the matter was now under investigation.

The state Democratic Party declined to comment on the ballot question Thursday. It did, however,

question the Election Division’s signature totals for Obama and Clinton in the 2nd District.

In an e-mail, the party provided to The Tribune an electronic file of a report released by the division a

day before the deadline to file in 2008. The report, generated by a Statewide Voter Registration

System petition module, indicates 580 total signatures for Obama in the 2nd District and 734 for

Clinton.

In a previous statement, party Chair Dan Parker said he supported an investigation into the fake

petition signatures but asserted that, even without those signatures, both Clinton and Obama would

have qualified for the ballot.

“Both had their signatures in well in advance of the deadline,” he said. “Both had more than enough

signatures. Both would have qualified. If you look at every petition, both would have had more than

500 signatures.”

Even 580 Obama signatures, though, would not be enough to make up for more than 100 signatures

the handwriting expert says were not legitimate. It will take further analysis to determine whether

there are enough faked signatures to push Clinton’s legitimate total below 500.

Staff writer Erin Blasko: eblasko@sbtinfo.com 574-235-6187

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Barack Obama 2008 Presidential Election Fraud Indiana,