NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Newport News Commonwealth’s Attorney Howard Gwynn is personally investigating 33 allegedly fraudulent voter application forms.
Gwynn tells 10 On Your Side he is looking to figure out who filled out the applications.
Registrar Vicki Lewis told 10 On Your Side she noticed several applications with identical signatures, so she turned them over to Gwynn.
Gwynn said he received the first form two weeks ago. The rest of the forms were sent to him last week.
Gwynn said Wednesday that he is not sure how the alleged fraud could have happened, but is looking into how third-party groups may have gotten the information on the forms.
According to Gwynn, third-party organizations sometimes try to register for people, but that the information submitted can be inaccurate or wrong.
Newport News Electoral Board Chairman, Sean Devlin wants to reassure residents.
“The process is being followed,” he said.
According to Devlin, “There’s always something that comes up and we have the people in place with enough knowledge in the system that will be able to address that.”
Devlin believes the investigation began because he process worked.
“I would like to ensure the people of Newport News that our voting process, our registration process is being followed by the letter of the law and that they can feel comfortable that everybody’s going to get an opportunity to vote and it will be a fair and honest election.”
Gwynn told 10 On Your Side false information on a voter registration form can range from a name, address, date of birth or social security number.
In Virginia, it is a felony to put materially false information on a voter registration form — with punishment ranging from one to 10 years in prison.
“There is a process of the law. If you break the law, there’s people there to monitor it and the Commonwealth’s Attorney will investigate and that’s their job. Our registrar is doing her job in monitoring the registration process and turned it over to the Commonwealth’s Attorney to do their process,” Devlin said.
Residents in Newport News will cast ballots in the Third Congressional District race. That’s the seat currently held by Bobby Scott. 10 On Your Side contacted Scott and his opponent, Marty Williams, for comment on the investigation.
Many voter registration irregularities are a result of people being paid by outside organizations to register a certain number of voters, which encourages some unfortunately to submit false information in order to get paid. However, there is no evidence that I have seen of anyone actually voting because of a fraudulent voter registration application. I am confident that our local registrars will identify fraudulent registration applications, as the Newport News registrar appears to have done. Any allegation of voter fraud should be fully investigated and prosecuted. It is important that voters have confidence in our election process.”
Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA-03)
This shows that voter fraud is real and it corrupts our longstanding political process. I believe that this is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’. Voters are tired of these attempts to hijack elections and it’s time for my opponents’ party to admit the obvious and finally solve these problems.”
Marty Williams, Marty Williams for Congress