UPDATE: Election Commissioner Testifies on Fraud Cases (see updated information in red below)
Nebraska Watchdog has learned that several suspected cases of petition fraud involving the possible recall of Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle are now under investigation.
Douglas County Election Commissioner Dave Phipps, who has said there is no indication of “widespread fraud”, has turned over 20 questionable signatures to the Douglas County Attorney for possible prosecution.
Phipps says it’s not clear how many individual circulators are involved. Phipps tells Nebraska Watchdog the 20 signatures were found ”on a variety of (petition) pages.” Phipps says the names were rejected and are not included in the final count. Phipps says he’s not sure if the circulator or circulators involved were paid or volunteer.
All this comes as Suttle takes his legal case against the recall to court. The Mayor is accusing the Mayor Suttle Recall Committee of widespread fraud and is blaming Phipps for allowing some names to be counted that shouldn’t have been.
During his testimony (today) Monday, Phipps was asked by Suttle’s attorney if some of the names submitted by the suspicious circulator(s) were verified and became part of the final count. Phipps answered, “It’s possible, I assume we have accepted some.”
A Nebraska Watchdog investigation first uncovered a dead voter’s name among the verified signatures.
Late last month, needing 26,643 legitimate names, the Recall Committee submitted 37,600 signatures to Phipps’ office. According to Phipps his office threw out 9,594 signatures and accepted 28,720. That left a cushion of 2,077 names.
Suttle’s court fight began Monday at 9 a.m. Nebraska Watchdog will be in the courtroom throughout the trial.
Reported by Joe Jordan, firstname.lastname@example.org
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