In 2008, both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton got on the ballot illegally in the presidential primary in Indiana. On Thursday, two Democratic political operatives were convicted on all counts relating to the scheme.
Former St. Joseph County Democratic party Chairman Butch Morgan Jr. was found guilty of felony conspiracy counts to commit petition fraud and forgery, and former county Board of Elections worker Dustin Blythe was found guilty of felony forgery counts and falsely making a petition. It was apparently a plan hatched by Morgan, who told Democratic officials and workers to fake the names and signatures on petitions so Obama and Clinton would be eligible for the state ballot. Blythe forged scores of names on the petitions.
Former Board of Registration worker Lucas Burkett was originally part of the scheme but then quit; he waited three years before he came clean with the plan. Meanwhile, Obama and Clinton, who both could have been thrown off the ballot if the petitions had been challenged, marched merrily on.
In Indiana, presidential candidates need 500 signatures from each of the state’s nine congressional districts to qualify for the ballot. With the help of the illegal plot, both candidates managed to garner enough signatures in St. Joseph County, which is the 2nd Congressional district; Obama netted 534 signatures, Clinton, 704.
An Indiana State Police investigator said the police perused the Obama petitions and, “selected names at random from each of the petition pages and contacted those people directly. We found at least one person (and often multiple people) from each page who confirmed that they had not signed petitions or given consent for their name and/or signature to appear.” The audacity of the forgers was so great that they even forged the signature of Joe Kernan, a former governor of the state.