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Michigan Democratic Party Officials Charged for Electioneering

5:30 PM, Mar 17, 2011 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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Two former officials from the Oakland County, Mich. Democratic Party were charged today for forgery and perjury relating to a political scheme hatched in the last election. According to the Detroit Free Press, the officials have been accused of placing Tea Party candidates on ballots without those candidates' permission by forging their signatures:

Oakland County Circuit Judge Edward Sosnick is serving as a one-person grand jury in the case.

On Wednesday morning he unsealed indictments charging Michael McGuinness, the former chairman of the Oakland County Democratic Party, and Jason Bauer, the party's former operations director, with forgery and perjury. Bauer faces three additional counts of notary fraud because he notarized the candidates' petitions. The men could receive a maximum of 14 years in prison if convicted on the most serious charge of forgery.

The indictment alleges that the pair attempted to place two county commission candidates, Aaron W. Tyler and Ruth Ann Spearman, and a state senate candidate, Johnathan M. Young, on the ballot without the candidates' knowledge. The two men forged the signatures on the affidavit of identity and falsely swore under oath to qualify them to run, the indictment says.

McGuinness and Bauer were trying to split the Republican vote with "fake" Tea Party candidates, perfectly legal, but questionably ethical. But forging signatures is straight up forgery. Justin Elliott at Slate points out that the prosecutor is a Democrat, so there can't be any crying foul along partisan lines on this.

And while this isn't technically voter fraud as Democrats seem to frequently employ, it still comes under the umbrella of illicit electioneering. What is it about the way people vote that make many Democrats think they need to rig elections?

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