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. Dave Briggman says:

    Actually, I’m supporting Gene Hart to take out Matt Lohr and I’m supporting Governor Warner….their political ideology differs greatly from Obama’s.

  2. Dave Briggman says:

    Republicans we have in state government from across the state would be on my list…and the fish rots from the head down (Bill Bowling, Bob McDonnell).

  3. Christa says:

    You said local….

  4. Dave,
    I blog a fair amount on national sites like USAToday and a theme that I always come back to is the neo-fascist movement going on in the republican party. There’s no denying it. Some people call it a “corporatocracy.” Different name-same idea.

  5. Dave Briggman says:

    Pick any local Republican we have in the General Assembly.

  6. Dave Briggman says:

    I cannot disagree with you, VP, which is why I wanted to form a Saturday morning where we could in a non-partisan fashion, if that’s possible, do “opposition research” on the entrenched Republicans we have so we could best explore how to rid ourselves of the elected officials we have in place.

    Nobody seemed interested. Hell, I’d take a Republican out probably sooner than a Dem because I recognize them to be more fascist than Republican. The rank-and-file Republicans seem to be too stupid to see that, though.

    Actually, the last sentence may be too harsh. It is extremely difficult to shine a bright enough light on Republican office holders to the electorate to do any good.

  7. Maybe its because I’m fairly new to HB blogging, but when did you propose this oppsition research? That is something I could warm up to, what was the format? I have become like so many others, I pick the “lesser of the two evils.” I’m convinced that you cannot have a “perfect” candidate in a two party system. How would we like it if we went to a restaurant and could only pick from 2 entrees? Or only had two models of cars to choose from? or 2 colors to paint your house? Ok, I guess you get my point…..

  8. Dave Briggman says:

    I think it was just after Gene Hart announced his intent to take out Matt Lohr…destabilizing the local Republicans is the only way we’ll get better government — from any political party.

  9. I don’t know Gene Hart, but I’ve heard that he is a good man.

  10. Christa says:

    He is a good man, vp, but Matt Lohr is a good man also.

  11. Dave Briggman says:

    Yes, Christa, Matt is a good guy, however, he’s a marginal legislator who is repeatedly distracted from his responsibilities to his constituents by his wife’s repeated encounters with cancer.

  12. Not to doubt you Christa because I’ve never met Matt either, but I have heard lots of fairly negative comments about his shirking his responsibilities, From introducing questionable legislation to ignoring his constituents. I was on a site the other night, I’ve forgotten which one, where a poster rationalized Matt’s lack of participation and lack of attendance to functions that he has been invited to, as possibly [sic] “due to his farm responsibilities.” I’m sorry, but these priorities are wrong. as a representative of the people, he needs to be accessable. He needs to choose between politician or farmer because he obviously can’t handle both.

  13. Christa says:

    Well, God forbid you have any compassion about that Dave.

  14. Christa says:

    He has too much on his plate right now VP.

  15. As an aside Christa, I’ve heard that his farm has a real nice pumkin/halloween/fall program for kids. Do you know if his farm is open on Mondays? I’ve got two little ones that I’d like to take there.

  16. Dave Briggman says:

    Actually, Christa, I’m participating in the prayer chain for his wife.

    That has no relevance on his effectiveness as a legislator and the distraction his wife’s illness must, necessarily, be to him.

  17. Christa says:

    I took my grandson to “Home on the Farm” today. It was wonderful and we had so much fun, but it is only open on weekends. We got lost in the corn maze and I ended up carrying him for 20 minutes until we found our way out! LOTS of really great stuff for the kids. I think next weekend might be the last they are open this year. It’s right out of Harrisonburg off of Rt 42. Are you from this area?

  18. Dave Briggman says:

    Christa, the fact is if Matt had his next meal on his plate, it would be too much for him to pay attention to his duties as a Delegate. You can be as nice as you want, but if you’re not equipped to do a job, you’re not equipped.

  19. Christa says:

    I didn’t really answer your question about Matt’s place. Sorry. I don’t know anything about it. Myron knows, I believe.

    Then Dave, pray for Matt also to give him the strengh he needs to get through this. He should probably step down, but have some compassion for him also.

  20. Dave,
    you’re right. I too am able to separate Matt Lohr the family man from Matt Lohr the legislator. Unfortunately in his situation, his obligation is great for his constituants. They are mutually exclusive and he needs to make a choice. For me, the choice is obvious, its family, But only Matt Lohr can make that decision.

  21. It’s right out of Harrisonburg off of Rt 42. Are you from this area?

    No, but I can get there. Is it before you get to main street Broadway? Thanks for the info about being open only on weekends, I just assumed that it was open evey day up to halloween,

  22. Christa says:

    Home on the Farm is near Harrisonburg. If you are coming FROM Harrisonburg, the turn off is less than a mile from the Food Lion in Park View. If you are planning to go next weekend, let me know and I will scan a map for you. It’s not hard to find and it is well worth the trip. I had as much fun as my grandson did!

  23. Excellent, thanks so much!

  24. Christa says:

    And I have been to your blog a few times this evening VP. I have clicked several times to comment, but the last time I voiced an opinion on RockDem, I was called names, so I never went back.

  25. Christa,
    I hope that you haven’t been called names on my blog! As you probably can see from my posts there, I have an issue about responsibility, accountability and a true concern for this country as most of us do. The difference is in how we peceive these faults. I refuse to let others make that decision for me, please feel free to comment if you desire. I hope we all can “agree to disagree”, or in the case with you and Dave Brigggman tonight, agree to agree.

  26. republitarian says:

    Part of the reason democrats are doing well here is that misguided people, who have misguided principles, are selling out country out….

  27. Renee says:

    “Part of the reason democrats are doing well here is that misguided people, who have misguided principles, are selling our country out…”

    That’s a matter of opinion! I think democrats are doing well here because their ideals and stances on the issues and approach to solving our country’s current domestic and international problems resonate with the local people (among other positives). I think republicans aren’t doing as well here as they usually do because of 1) a departure from some traditional republican stances, and 2) their failure to present clear solutions to current problems and their focus on discrediting the democrats. (among other negatives) … at least, that’s my opinion. The question of which of us is misguided should be answered over the next 4 years – whoever takes office sure will have a lot of challenges to overcome.

  28. Renee says:

    And I’m curious which of my principles you find “misguided”…. though I’m not sure I want an answer to that question now that I wrote it. Being someone that would make a divisive blanket statement about all democrats, I probably don’t want to know more details of why you said it, since clarification of a generalization like that is unlikely to solve anything. Nevermind.

  29. Emmy says:

    You’re right Renee, you don’t want to know but its a safe bet that everything you believe in he would consider misguided.

  30. David Miller says:

    I’ve had a weird morning and need to say the following. I’m voting for Barack Obama because I believe that he is both a good American and will be good for America. I don’t believe that he is a socialist, a muslim nor a terrorist. I’m both heartened and disheartened by my community as of late. I’ve received flak for my vote of choice. I’d like to repeat the following. If you disagree with my politics, tell me why with disciplined reason. Leave emotion at the door and I’ll respect your argument. It is not acceptable to voice hatred to me or my community for a legitimate candidate on the ballot for president. It will not be accepted any more than you would accept it from me. Thank you.

  31. Brian M says:

    Dave, sounds to be like you listened to Candid Comment this morning. I almost called and violated my no radio call-in rule, but I was able to escape the urge at the last minute. What stupid comments! Man I hate ignorant people. I can take saying you don’t want to vote for Obama because his policies are somewhat socialistic (which I agree they are), but to say he is a Muslim undercover operative since birth is more than a little extreme. Ugh.

  32. Christa says:

    Hey David, would that be the reason you dodged me the other evening after you said you wanted to hear MY politics? LOL ;)

    And I’m voting for McCain because I feel he is the better choice for America, but what’s really crazy is that I offered to drop Emmy off at JMU so she wouldn’t have to walk. We just had a big laugh over that. Whether you are Democrat or Republican, this is very exciting for Harrisonburg. I told Emmy I thought the reason they weren’t having football practice was not because they are going to move the rally, but that Obama would probably come in a helicopter and land on the football field. My guess.

  33. Dave Briggman says:

    Brian, I thought Obama was an undercover Muslim operative. Isn’t that why his middle name is Hussein? :-)

    Christa, I heard they were removing the roof from the Convocation Center so Obama could arrive from the heavens without interference from said roof. ;-)

  34. Bubby says:

    I for one am astonished by the delusion of our rightwing thinkers who have determined that Barack Obama can be an Islamic theocrat, atheistic communist and national socialist while posing as a center left candidate. Were these the skills they taught him at that madrasah in Indonesia…or just the impaired conclusions of a thoroughly bamboozled Republican cult?

  35. Dave Briggman says:

    “Center left candidate”? What the hell have you been puffin’ on this AM?

  36. zen says:

    Many people are living the reality that you refuse to, Briggman. Obama is not the radical that you believe, and want others to believe that him to be.
    Obama is anti-gay marriage, is pro-death penalty, pro-guns, and in some respects a bit hawkish on national security.

    Your lame attempts to cast his as a scary figure are a failure.

  37. Emmy says:

    Dave, I moved your comment into moderation. It’s borderline on our “no name-calling” policy and I want someone else to make the call.

  38. zen says:

    I read his remarks.
    Seriously, Briggman, must you constantly resort to such tantrums?
    It’s really no wonder you trip over yourself from being so eager to demonize people who you disagree with. For example, in the same comment you complimented Obama as a “dynamic speaker” you then proceeded to attack him for the number of times he says “ah.”

    As to my CC call…what is ‘ignorant’ about acknowledging that when people move or die they typically do not remove themselves from the registration roles?

  39. margo says:

    Thanks for the lively conversation. I am thrilled Obama is coming to Harrisonburg. I am an independent and have voted both sides of our limited aisle. I am voting for Obama because I believe he has demonstrated the steady and intelligent hand we need at the helm right now. I am also voting for him because I have young children and the vision he has presented gives me hope for their future. I am tired of leadership that is a fear-based corporatocracy. Obama’s leadership is appears to be based on hope and genuine vision. The slurs made of his character are utterly ridiculous.

  40. Dave Briggman says:

    zen,

    There are mechanisms under most states’ laws (I know laws don’t mean a whole lot to Dems), that mandates removal of felons, removal of those of have moved from their jurisdiction, etc., ad nauseam, such that the scenarios you outlined on the radio this morning generally DO NOT happen.

    Election law in Virginia in outlined in Title 24 of the Virginia State Code.

  41. zen says:

    Briggman,

    Having these mechanisms mandated doesn’t equate to having them enforced (I know that reality doesn’t mean a whole lot to you).
    Regardless, my intent is not to deny that willful manipulation of our elections is possible, plausible, or even occurring. Rather, my point is that there are enough reasonable doubts available than to use one to tarnish a certain candidate—an incredibly popular one at that.

    This is an interesting article that touches on something similar in Wisconsin.

    The DOJ cites the following in regard to The National Voter Registration Act Of 1993:

    The Act allows for removal of voters from registration lists when they have been convicted of a disqualifying crime or adjudged mentally incapacitated, where such removals are allowed by state law. The NVRA also provides additional safeguards under which registered voters would be able to vote notwithstanding a change in address in certain circumstances. For example, voters who move within a district or a precinct will retain the right to vote even if they have not re-registered at their new address.

    In addition, the Act granted additional time to Arkansas, Vermont, and Virginia to comply because they needed to change their constitutions in order to comply with the Act and maintain a unitary registration system for federal and state elections.

    After the NVRA became effective, several states failed to take the steps necessary to comply with the law; several of them also challenged the constitutionality of the Act. Beginning within a month of the Act’s effective date, the Department responded by filling a series of lawsuits requiring these states to comply with the Act’s procedures as well as defending its constitutionality.

    Those states involved in the first round of cases included California, Illinois, Michigan, Mississippi, Pennsylvania, New York, South Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia.

  42. zen says:

    Apparently the law doesn’t mean a whole lot to the Republican senator from Alaska.

  43. Peppa says:

    Is there anything in the local news on this?

  44. Renee says:

    @margo, I totally agree with you. I’ve considered myself an independent voter in the past, but I’m all for Obama and most dems in this election :)

  45. Renee says:

    @Briggman – “I know laws don’t mean a whole lot to Dems”?

    You really should stop making untrue inflammatory statements like that.

  46. Dave Briggman says:

    Alright, Renee.

    Prove to me the statement I made is untrue, and I’ll comply with your request.

  47. Renee says:

    Well, seeing as there are millions of democrats in our nation, I think I could find many of them that honor and abide by the law. In fact, I bet it’s just as many as republicans. I’m not sure what political party has to do with respect for the law.

    You’re just being ridiculous, and arguing with you seems to be a hopeless cause, so I’m no going to even waste time doing that.

    Everyone – I’ve got to get some work done so I can spend all day over at JMU tomorrow. Have a good night! I can’t wait ’til tomorrow! It will be fun :)

  48. David Miller says:

    Prove that water isn’t created by frogs humping and I’ll stop saying that it is. You just love it when someone takes your bait Briggman.

  49. Emmy says:

    I came across this on another site and thought it might be some information we could all use.

    http://www.gregpalast.com/dont-go-postal/

  50. Dave Briggman says:

    Few, if any of the voters that had appeals Harrisonburg’s denials got the ability to vote this morning…I note for the record that the Assistant Commonwealth Attorney kept trying to tie the voter registration driver to “Obama” and several affiliated groups.

    Although the Commonwealth attempted to keep the son of Debbie Logan out of this, Judge Lane allowed evidence relating to the phone calls made to JGF.

    As I needed to view a hearing in Winchester this afternoon, I left just after JGF testified…perhaps he can fill us all in on what happened.

    One of the main questions I had about today’s hearing was: Why did the “Obama Organizer” wait until the last possible day to register for the upcoming election after moving here from California?

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