Possible Harrisonburg Registrar Scandal?

Brent Finnegan -- October 25th, 2008

By now you’ve heard about the rejected registrations and alleged voter disenfranchisement at the Harrisonburg Registrar’s office.

Today, new information and allegations have come to light concerning hijacked voter registration forms and the Harrisonburg registrar’s son.

On October 6, the last day to register to vote, volunteers from the Obama HQ delivered a stack of registration forms to the registrar’s office. Among those forms was the registration of an Obama staffer.

But six of the forms that were delivered in person arrived back at the office in the mail a week later, with a Richmond postmark. Joe Fitzgerald, Vice Chair of the 6th District Democratic Committee, wrote in an email yesterday:

The form went to the Registrar’s Office on Oct. 6. Somehow, it left that office, went to Richmond, got in a mailbox, and came back to Harrisonburg. In a handwritten envelope, with the Obama office written as the return address.

The forms were rejected. The Obama staffer, along with several witnesses, appealed the rejection of his form to a judge in Winchester. The judge said that the case needed more attention, so the case will be heard again, this time in Harrisonburg on Wednesday, October 29.

But it gets weirder. Yesterday (Friday) morning, Fitzgerald received several threatening, obscene messages on his voice mail. The caller claimed to be calling from the Obama Campaign. According to Fitzgerald, HPD traced the threatening calls to Ellis Logan, son of Harrisonburg Registrar Debbie Logan. According to Debbie, Ellis has lived in Richmond since June.

Fitzgerald wrote:

Maybe [Ellis] thinks I’ve been picking on his mother… Maybe that justifies him lying, and saying he was a concerned citizen calling from the Obama campaign when he called from Richmond, where somebody mailed the hijacked registration forms, claiming they were from the Obama campaign.

How and why did those six registration forms end up in the mail, postmarked from Richmond?

Debbie Logan said that Ellis never had access to any of the voter registration forms in Harrisonburg. She said that the only time he was in the office recently was to vote absentee. “He did go to the DMV [in Richmond] and tried to register, but he didn’t get it done in time, so he has one last time he can come back to his old locality and vote absentee, which he did. He came in here and voted,” Logan said.

Logan declined to comment about the postmarked voter registrations or the threatening phone calls, adding, “I have an election to run, and I’ll be more than happy to talk to you at length on anything you want to question me on after November 5th.”

112 Responses to “Possible Harrisonburg Registrar Scandal?”

  1. Renee says:

    It is also possible the registrations could’ve been mailed to Richmond, put in another envelope with the handwritten Obama return address, and mailed back, so this whole theory isn’t contingent of someone being in town to pick up the registrations.

    I read Joe’s email on this topic and it is so suspicious. I really really hope I’m wrong, but there have been enough suspicious activities this year for me to believe someone in that office is not doing their job, or worse, doing something criminal.

  2. Emmy says:

    Wow this just keeps getting more insane. Something is NOT right here.

  3. republitarian says:

    Yeah, after that chick beat the crap out of herself…

    and since Fitzgerald’s involved…..

  4. Del says:

    Heaven forbid anyone besides you and Dave should raise questions about someone in local government.

  5. republitarian says:

    I talked to several folks last evening about this situation. It looks like a young man may need some medical help.

    I was just needlin’ Joe a little….

  6. David Miller says:

    Of all people to not have a problem with this. You had better change your tune Myron. This is voter fraud. This is a felony in federal prison type of fraud. The registrars office is indicated on major corruption in my analysis. Now we’ll have to see what the actual verdict on the 29th is (see I can wait for the rule of law, maybe there is no fraud-we’ll see) In the meantime, grow some testicles, we know that you’re great at raising cane now get on it. This is supposed to be a republic but if your vote gets erased, disenfranchised, simply put not allowed then we’re screwed. Remember that one day you may not hold the majority in the valley so do unto others for Christ’s sake.

  7. Run with it, guys…if this is as you say it is, the Registrar should RESIGN, NOWm and the FBI should be investigating this.

    Myron and I tried to warn the community about the local Republican infrastructure when we discovered that Suzanne Obenshain was simultaneously on the City’s Electoral Board AND 26th District Chairman of the Republican Party…that’s a Class One misdemeanor that caused former Judge McGrath to quickly reappoint Suzanne to the City Electoral Board just after the Albemarle Assistant Commonwealth Attorney opined there was “no crime” because Suzanne gave up her seat on the Electoral Board the second she became 26th District Chairman.

    But then, the C.A. never did explain to us exactly how the statute she was accused of violating is actually violated.

  8. David Miller says:

    Briggman, you have a knack for this type of digging. Regardless of my disdain for dialogue with you, I appreciate your watchdog stewardship in the community when you approach the role respectfully and cautiously. As JG recently put it, sunlight is the best disinfectant.

  9. Dave Briggman says:

    Thanks, Miller, I think. :-)

  10. Dave Briggman says:

    David Miller and I aren’t being rude by using our last names…if allows us (and the readers) to more easily follow our dialog.

  11. republitarian says:

    I learned my lesson last time….I’m staying out of it.

    I was told to stay out of Harrisonburg’s business and I’m going to follow that advice this time.

    I pity those with “issues” and doing irrational things only proves that they need help. Unfortunately, sometimes people with issues are in positions of authority. As soon as they are removed….it’s over.

    This seems like something Joe needs to handle since he’s directly involved. I’m just a farmhand….

  12. Weak, republitarian, weak. What a convenient time to take someone’s advice. I’m suspect few people are buying it.

  13. republitarian says:

    See, I can’t win either way….

  14. You made your bed bro….

  15. Christa says:

    This is kind of ironic. Everyone attacked Myron when he went after Becky, including me. He was pretty much attacked on a daily basis for it. (and should have been) Now something else has happened in the city and he wants to stay out of it…which he should. But this particular incident involves your votes and you are outraged by it. And you should be. Why is it OK for you all to be attacking him, now that he won’t investigate it? I’m a little confused here.

  16. i had an interesting call from the registrar’s office this sunday afternoon.

    in short, a very nice person called to tell me that my absentee in-person ballot that i filled out last thursday was incomplete – and might not be counted.

    luckily (?!), i was able to quickly explain (and therefore, complete the all-important “section a”) about working a 12-hour shift in C’ville on election day. this was, apparently, an acceptable excuse and i was reassured that all would be well.

    read more at the state.

  17. Christa,
    Where’s the irony? For as long as I have monitored HB blogs he and Briggman have strutted arounf like peacocks as they’ve fancied themselves some sort righteous civil servants protecting democracy and searching for truth. They hang out in courtrooms, file silly complaints and subtly threaten people on these blog sites. And now you defend his convenient, well timed, decision to not investigate (therefore protect) a republican during an election year? Hmmmm….My guess is that if the Registrar was a dem, or the wife of a competitor, then he’d be all over it.

  18. Christa says:

    I am NOT defending his well timed decision not to investigate. I simply asked why now do any of you want him to help you? I don’t seem to remember you at all VP when all this was happening several months ago, unless you used a different name.

  19. Christa says:

    Most on here know I don’t defend Myron, unless he’s right.

  20. Dave Briggman says:

    Valley Progressive, you show yourself to be quite ignorant. You make certain statements, which are completely or partially incorrect…then, when corrected (e.g., your statement about the do-nothing congress for the last two years), you make it sound that the one correcting you raised the issue.

    You’ve made erroneous errors about “my candidates” and you’ve made another one assuming I’m in favor of mob rule in the form of a democracy. I’m not — neither were the Founding Fathers of this country.

    You’re also making an assumption that I’m not sure you can back up your statement that the City Registrar is, in fact, a Republican. I know Debbie Logan, and I don’t know her political persuasion. The registrar is a non-partisan position.

    I can obviously see why you’re hiding behind a pseudonym …you obviously aren’t too bright…and even less-informed than your lack of intelligence would indicate. Most on this blog and republitarian, have the moral courage to use their real names when posting — I notice you lack such courage.

    And for the record, generally when I raise an issue, laws get changed…I think I can show you at least five statutes which have been changed on account of my “protecting” [God forbid] democracy.

    What have you done for the community lately?

  21. republitarian says:

    Dave and I wouldn’t know how to “investigate” this issue properly….call Aldrich.

  22. Dave Briggman says:

    And, VP, if you want something done about the Registrar, get off your fat ass and do it yourself.

    The Registrar is not an elected position…I haven’t really researched as to how she could be removed… perhaps somewhere in your immense [lie] hippocampus, you might be able to get right on it.

  23. Emmy says:

    I hope he does stay out of it. I just don’t actually believe he will.

    The issue here impacts every single voter, not just the democrats. It’s a very big deal and I hope it is taken very seriously….which is why I hope he stays out of it.

  24. First and foremost this has NOTHING to do with “helping” us. It is about a supposed interest on his part to ferret out corruption and illegality in Rockingham County ( an interest that I’m happy to go on record as saying, is admirable). I just think that in the interest of justice and the welfare of our city, it should transcend party lines.

    As for your memory of me, I will be honest, I have posted a few times using a pseudonym but mostly over the past couple of months I have just been reading, and observing, the local blogs (thanks to Mason’s aggregator). Then, a few weeks ago, I decided to to start my own blog which, admittedly now pretty much all about the election, but after Nov 4th I plan to be less partisan and direct it more toward all issues that effect the Valley.

    Your last comment about defending Myron comes down to one’s definition of “right.” I suspect my definition, and your definition, are quite different.

  25. republitarian says:

    Furthermore, our “investigations” usually don’t get any results….

  26. finnegan says:

    Briggman wrote: “You’re also making an assumption that I’m not sure you can back up your statement that the City Registrar is, in fact, a Republican. I know Debbie Logan, and I don’t know her political persuasion. The registrar is a non-partisan position.”

    Read this:

    “She has experience and knows what the electoral process is all about,” Obenshain said.

    In addition, Obenshain said, “she is very well connected and understands the dynamics of our community.”

    In recent years, Obenshain has worked with Logan on elections. “She has been very efficient,” said Obenshain, who added that Logan is highly qualified to provide the community with fair and quality elections.

  27. Christa says:

    After visiting your blog, VP, I can tell you that our definitions on most things are different.

  28. Truth be told, uncovering impropriety in the Registrar’s actions would most likely give him some of the attention that he so craves. Locally, regionally and possibly nationally as so much attention is being spent on voter fraud and party corruption. Apparently he’s playing the party robot, choosing party affiliation over democracy and moral righteousness.

  29. republitarian says:

    After reading Emmy’s comments I have changed my mind.

    I’ll be back with an update after calling some sources and doing some background.

  30. Christa,
    Just so long as we are able to “agree to disagree” in a civil manner, I promise to consider your comments respectfully.

  31. Breslau says:

    I wouldn’t expect too many people to use their full real names on a community blog when they are being attacked personally as well as conducting personal attacks.

  32. Emmy says:

    Oh yeah all because of my comments.


  33. Emmy, Emmy :-). I am now a fan of Republitarian.

  34. Christa says:

    Emmy and Lowell will tell you that I am very open minded on most things, VP. Even though I am a Republican.

  35. Christa says:

    Breslau, no they don’t. I wish I would have been anonymous when I first started blogging over a year ago. Actually there are times I wish I had never started.

  36. finnegan says:

    I can’t believe I’m sticking up for Myron after all the things he’s said about me, but I don’t think it’s fair to accuse him of “playing the party robot, choosing party affiliation over democracy and moral righteousness.”

    If you know anything about who he has backed or opposed, I don’t think you’d make that statement.

    And a friendly reminder to everyone here: keep it civil. Address others the way you’d like to be addressed. Steer clear of name calling.

  37. Dave Briggman says:

    Nice pickup of the DNR article, Brent…you know, it would be very interesting to go back and look to see if any Electoral Board decisions were made while Suzanne Obenshain was both Secretary of the Board and 26th District Chairman of the Republican Party…

    Using the reasoning of the Assistant Commonwealth Attorney of Albemarle County, all votes Suzanne would have cast would have been void…and I won’t even speak as to Judge McGrath’s reappointment of Suzanne to the Electoral Board after Mark voted to keep McGrath on the Circuit Court — despite the clear and convincing evidence of the violations of both Virginia and federal law by McGrath while he was sitting on the Circuit Court bench.

    Perhaps Myron might remember the exact time period I’m writing of here?

  38. Dave Briggman,
    YOU stand corrected. It was I who corrected you regarding the posts on the do-nothing Congress, Go re-read the post (or have someone read it to you) and you’ll see. I suspect that your comment here is more to persuade people who did not read our exchange.
    As for my error regarding your candidate, I did acknowledge my mistake, and quite honestly I don’t think the significance of the error will turn into a major scandal anytime soon, and it certainly does not reflect on my intelligence. I don’t spend my days trying to memorize the preferences and lifestyle of the great Dave Briggman.

    Additionally, I think it is well known that Ms. Logan has quite the republican bent.

    Lastly, you say ” if you want something done about the Registrar, get off your fat ass and do it yourself.” I don’t have the sources or time that Myron does, and I don’t know the process as well as you do. Give me some ideas of what to do and where to go and I will do what I can.

  39. Finnegan,
    Can you specify to whom you are directing your civil comment?

  40. Dave,
    “Using the reasoning of the Assistant Commonwealth Attorney of Albemarle County, all votes Suzanne would have cast would have been void…and I won’t even speak as to Judge McGrath’s reappointment of Suzanne to the Electoral Board after Mark voted to keep McGrath on the Circuit Court — despite the clear and convincing evidence of the violations of both Virginia and federal law by McGrath while he was sitting on the Circuit Court bench.”

    This is bogus, how could that happen?

  41. Dave Briggman says:

    Well, the first place I would go is to examine Suzanne Obenshain’s (re)appointment to the Board of Elections after the Albemarle Assistant Commonwealth Attorney came to the conclusion that Suzanne did nothing wrong (did you know that Mark Obenshain represents Albemarle County in lawsuits?)…

    Under §24.2-106 of the Code of Virginia it says:

    There shall be in each county and city an electoral board composed of three members who shall be appointed by a majority of the circuit judges of the judicial circuit for the county or city. If a majority of the judges cannot agree, the senior judge shall make the appointment. Any vacancy occurring on a board shall be filled by the same authority for the unexpired term. The clerk of the circuit court shall send to the State Board a copy of each order making an appointment to an electoral board.

    If you take a peak, only Judge McGrath signed an Order restoring Suzanne to the Electoral Board — and did so with such lightning speed after the Albemarle C.A. fired their fax to Marsha Garst that you’d thought a stay of execution was taking place. I recall no other judge’s name mentioned on the Order to reinstate Suzanne. [Again, Myron may have a copy of the Order]

    I’m assuming Suzanne voted to put Debbie Logan in as Registrar…of course, if Suzanne’s reinstatement violated Virginia law…her vote would not have counted.

    The election system in Virginia is pre-rigged, ensuring only Democrats and Republicans have any place in its operation.

  42. Dave Briggman says:

    VP, it was bogus…but so few pay attention to what’s going on with government around here…and even fewer have the ability to control what does, or doesn’t come out in the local media (EXCEPTION: WSVA).

  43. republitarian says:

    Dave, you think we ought to help these democrats that who usually mock us, demean us and make fun of us?

  44. Good info, I did not know that Obenshein represented Albemarle County. I apolgize up frong for my niaveness here, but how could something so blatant occur without anyone raising an eyebrow? As for your last comment I couldn’t agree with you more. I think the WHOLE system, local, regional, state and national is rigged to protect a two party system. They are afraid of competition and each know their enemy and know that eventually they will obtain power again. Unlike a multiple party system where you actually have to build coalitions and come up with plans that appeal to the majority of the people.

  45. Dave Briggman says:

    I don’t know, Myron…

    I’d be willing to research the issue at an hourly rate…the last three documents I’ve written and submitted to the courts for adjudication have been upheld by those courts…

    Maybe we should had this off to Aldrich for him to take action. ;-)

  46. Republitarian,
    You’re not helping a “democrat” your helping a fellow citizen of the Valley. I have no interest in going after someone because of their party affiliation. I do believe however that anyone who abuses the lawhould be held accountable. Anyone. I think you would be shocked if you knew what values and issues that we probably agree on. I consider myself an american first, fiscal conservative second, and a social progressive third.

  47. Dave Briggman says:

    Oh, Myron and I had a bird’s eye view of the Electoral Board issue…TV-3 did one story (right Myron) before Mark Obenshain threatened to bury Tim Saunders (the reporter who did the story) in a defamation action.

    Folks, when you vote for Republican candidates for local offices, your not voting for a true Republican…these are Republican lites — very lite.

    You are voting for fascists…those who’d protect government a helluva lot more than they’d protect the individual. They are true statists in every meaning of the word.

    I mean, how the hell else could you elect a Matt Lohr, who missed 40% of the School Board meetings he was supposed to be representing District One in? A teacher, just barely long enough so that he could say he was “a teacher”. A legislator so smug, he wanted to create a government employee to market pumpkin farms for gosh sakes.

  48. Emmy says:

    “Dave, you think we ought to help these democrats that who usually mock us, demean us and make fun of us?”

    Myron, you mock demean and make fun of democrats all the time, so please don’t act like you’re hurt now.

    Dave, I’m going to agree with you about Republicans in this area. I know you don’t like Democrats but part of the reason Democrats are doing so well here now is because the Republican party has become very lazy. They are trying to skate by on the fact that so many people vote straight party lines and people are starting to wake up and realize that the party really quit trying some time back.

  49. Christa says:

    Dave, I’m curious to know what Republicans in this area that you mentioned, besides Matt.

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