Former Gov. Joe Kernan says a signature on a petition to place Barack Obama‘s name on Indiana’s 2008 primary ballot isn’t his, putting him among dozens of dubious signatures found in a newspaper’s investigation.
Kernan, a Democrat who campaigned for Hillary Clinton during the 2008 primary, told the South Bend Tribune that he didn’t sign the Obama document.
Suspected fake petition pages to place Democrats Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on the ballot during the 2008 Indiana primary passed through the county voter registration office on days when the Republican head of the office was absent, The Tribune has learned.
The pages in question bear the stamped signature of Republican Linda Silcott, indicating Silcott was not in the office at the time to sign the documents by hand. By comparison, most of the other, non-suspicious pages examined by The Tribune contain Silcott’s written signature. ….
Typically, petition pages in St. Joseph County are signed by hand by both the Republican and Democratic members of the Board of Voter Registration.
In early 2008, however, Silcott missed a number of days of work because of the death of her husband. Consequently, her first deputy, Mary Carrol Ringler, often stamped Silcott’s signature on the pages.
Each of the suspected fake petition pages bears Silcott’s stamped signature, indicating the documents passed through the office on days when she was off.
Though Ringler was the only person permitted to use the stamp, she kept it in an unlocked desk drawer, Silcott said.
In addition, Ringler only began working in voter registration on Jan. 22, 2008. The suspicious petition pages are dated Jan. 28 and 29 and Feb. 4 and 5, within the first two weeks of her arrival.
Ringler told The Tribune Tuesday she could not recall how often she used the stamp during the 2008 primary. “Honestly, I don’t know,” she said. “I know I didn’t do a lot petitions that year because I was brand new.” She said she mainly uses it on purchase orders now.
Pam Brunette’s written signature also appears on the backs of the suspicious petition pages. She is the Democratic member of the Board of Voter Registration.
Brunette did not respond Tuesday to a call seeking comment about the stamped pages. She said last week that voter registration workers “are not handwriting experts, so our job is basically making sure the papers are complete.”
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