Romney camp asks AG to investigate Va. voter registration forms

Posted at 12:18 PM, Jul 25, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-25 14:12:58-04

RICHMOND, Va.  (WTVR) - CBS 6 recently told you about voter registration forms being sent out to dead people and dogs here in Virginia.

What had some people chuckling is no laughing matter to the campaign of one presidential candidate.  The Romney campaign is now asking the Virginia Attorney General to investigate.

Registration forms started showing up in people's mailboxes from the Voter Participation Center (VPC), a private, non-profit, non-partisan organization which its website describes as “dedicated to increasing the participation and amplifying the voices of unmarried women (women who are single, widowed, divorced or separated) and other historically underrepresented groups that's attempting to register new voters.”  The VPC buys mailing lists from vendors, and while they say they try to check every name, some slip through the cracks.

One of those cracks was an address in Bedford County.  Tim Morris said he was shocked to get a voter registration form addressed to "Mozart".  Mozart was his dog who died two years ago.  The registration form was sent by the Voter Participation Center.

The Richmond Times Dispatch reports a letter was sent by a Romney campaign lawyer to Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli asking his office to investigate if any laws were being broken.  The Virginia State Board of Elections has also received similar complaints, but since the voter participation center is a private organization, they can`t stop them from sending out registration forms.

Justin Reimer, the Deputy Secretary for the Virginia State Board of Elections says “We have not been formally contacted by the Romney campaign.  We`re currently reviewing (the request for an investigation) and will respond when we`re prepared to do so.'

Curt Cashour, the Virginia Communications Director for "Romney for President" emailed this response:  “Virginia will be an important state in this year`s election, and we want to make sure that the integrity of the election is being protected.'

We also talked with a representative for the Voter Participation Center who did not want to go on the record, but tells us the organization buys the same mailing lists that, for instance, a credit card company uses in trying to acquire new customers.   One way a dog like Mozart may have gotten a form with his name on it is from his owner putting that name on a magazine subscription. 

The VPC points out less than one percent of their Virginia mailings went out to someone... deceased, dog or whatever... not eligible, and those voter registration forms have to be reviewed and confirmed by an election official anyway before they're counted.

Wednesday afternoon, CBS 6 received a statement from Brian Gottstein, Director of Communication, Office of the Attorney General of Virginia:

"Our job right now is to advise our client, the State Board of Elections, as they work to ensure the law is complied with and that the voter registration process is not compromised.  With regard to an investigation, any type of investigation on the part of our office would have to be initiated by a request from SBE.  The SBE has not made such a request."

Stay with CBS 6 News and for updates on this developing story.