Man pleads to voter fraud in Harrisonburg case

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- A Harrisonburg man has pleaded guilty to voter fraud.

According to a release from the U.S. Attorney Office for the Western District of Virginia, 21-year-old Andrew J. Spieles pleaded guilty on Tuesday to submitting fraudulent voter registration forms.

Under the plea to one charge of knowingly transferring false Virginia Voter Registration Forms, he agreed to a prison sentence of up to four months.

Spieles worked for an organization called Harrisonburg Votes, which is affiliated with the Democratic Party, to register voters during the weeks leading up to the 2016 election.

He admitted to submitting 18 fraudulent registrations to the local registrar's office.

According to evidence presented in court, Spiels' job was to register as many voters as possible and report to the campaign headquarters in Harrisonburg.

Part of his duties included entering voter information into a computer system including name, age, address and political affiliation.

Once a week, a volunteer or employee would then hand-deliver paper copies of registration forms to the registrar.

In August of 2016, he was told to combine his numbers with those of another person because their territories overlapped.

On Aug. 15, an employee at the Harrisonburg Registrar's Office contacted law enforcement after another employee recognized a registration form submitted in the name of the deceased father of a Rockingham County judge.

The office then discovered several other instances of falsified forms, some of which were in the names of deceased people while others contained incorrect information like differing middle names, birth dates and Social Security numbers.

It was learned that none of the individuals named in the falsified forms had actually submitted them.

Name recognition by the registrar's office employee helped detect the crime.

Spieles admitted to preparing the false forms by getting name, age and address information from lists provided by the Virginia Democratic Party and then fabricating a birth date based on the ages listed and fabricating Social Security numbers.

He also said he created all 18 of the fraudulent forms and no one else participated in the criminal activity.

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