'Obama' voter registration card in Butler County leads to investigation
Butler County discovered it issued a voter registration card in 2008 bearing a name just one letter different from Barack Obama's, even though a fact check showed the application contained bogus information, officials said.
County detectives are trying to track down the applicant, who could be charged with a felony or misdemeanor, including perjury and making a false affidavit, which are punishable with jail time and fines, Butler County Detective Scott Roskovski said.
Butler County Jury Commissioner Jon Galante discovered the fake registration last week when a questionnaire used to find potential jurors was addressed to be sent to “Barack H. Obana” at a Slippery Rock University address. Voter registration lists are one tool used to build lists of potential jurors.
Roskovski said he sent information about the fake voter registration to the Secret Service, but he admitted there's little chance of finding who filled out the form, which he said likely was a college prank.
“It shows the bigger picture of how easy voter fraud can be,” Roskovski said.
Elections Bureau Director Shari Brewer, who wasn't election director in 2008, said no one attempted to vote using the fake card.
A state database lists the name on the voter registration card as Barack H. Obana, with a 1981 birthdate. A check determined the phone number and driver's license number on the application were fake, Brewer said.
The election bureau issued the card anyway because state law requires cards to be issued even if information, such as birthdates or Social Security numbers, is found to be incorrect, Brewer said on Tuesday.
The Department of State disputed that claim.
“If due diligence leaves you dubious, you have the authority of the county to accept or reject that,” Pennsylvania Department of State spokesman Ron Ruman said.
“When this was approved, it was right before the close of registration,” Brewer said. “It was a presidential election, and we would have been swamped with registrations.”
Bill Vidonic is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5621 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Aldi set to open Cranberry location
- Connoquenessing Valley innovative learning space emphasizes interaction
- Butler County community reigns as king of Cranberries
- Drilling regulations divisive in Middlesex
- Butler Township man in jail after reportedly holding woman at gunpoint
- Iron Mountain digs deep in Butler County mine to bring in clients
- Butler County to join growing 911 network
- Middlesex natural gas drilling hearings under way
- Interstate 376 lanes reopen in Hopewell following garbage truck fire