The ongoing investigation by the Indiana State Police into possible petition fraud involving a volunteer for Dean Phillips’ campaign for the Democratic presidential candidate continues in St. Joseph County. It is worth noting that the county’s Democratic Party leader had previously been convicted ten years ago for engaging in a petition forgery scheme. Recently, St. Joseph County Clerk Amy Rolfes and her team uncovered numerous suspicious petition signatures and addresses. Prompted by this discovery, Rolfes promptly informed state elections officials and the State Patrol, who subsequently initiated an investigation last week.
“They are making progress,” Rolfes said. “I know it’s not sitting. They’re taking it very seriously.”
Sgt. Ted Bohner of the Indiana State Police declined to provide any comments regarding an ongoing investigation, stating that the review process is expected to be extensive. According to Rolfes, she is aware of the identity of the campaign volunteer but is unable to disclose any further details at this moment.
On January 25, the Phillips campaign volunteer arrived at the end of the business day with approximately 80 petition documents to assist in getting Phillips on Indiana’s presidential ballot. Despite running an unlikely campaign for the Democratic Party presidential nomination against President Joe Biden, the Minnesota congressman’s primary is scheduled for May 7.
Rolfes mentioned that a significant number of the petition papers lacked necessary information, prompting the campaign volunteer to be advised to complete the forms and return them. The following day at 11 a.m., she returned with 53 pages, all of which were completed. However, the clerk and her staff immediately noticed some issues with the documents.
“Curiously, there were addresses that simply did not exist. The streets did, but not the house numbers,” the clerk said. “We would look through and compare the signatures but there was nothing like them in the statewide system.”
Indiana’s local election offices have the capability to examine voter signatures using a comprehensive statewide database. The staff at St. Joseph County, in particular, displayed exceptional diligence in this regard. However, Rolfes pointed out that the discrepancies were strikingly obvious, as they uncovered fraudulent zip codes and other irregularities.
“We kept saying, ‘That’s not valid. That’s not valid.’”
Rolfes’ office notified the Election Division of the Indiana secretary of state, instructing them to proceed with processing the remaining petitions and then contact the State Police. Following the completion of Rolfes and her team’s review, agents arrived at the location a few days later.
In the state of Indiana, falsifying campaign petitions, declarations, or certificates is considered a Level 6 felony, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 2 1/2 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Back in 2008, an election fraud scheme took place in St. Joseph County, located in Northern Indiana and known for being the home of South Bend and its former mayor-turned-transportation secretary, Pete Buttigieg, who was criticized for his incompetence. Owen “Butch” Morgan, the Democratic Party chair of St. Joseph County, was convicted in 2013 on felony conspiracy charges related to forgery and petition fraud. His attempt to include Democratic presidential candidates such as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on the 2008 ballot led to his conviction. Morgan served a six-month prison sentence before passing away in 2023. Additionally, three other Democrats were also found guilty.
Rolfes suspects that the latest incident of alleged petition fraud may have been driven by “absolute apathy.”
“They thought, ‘They’re never going to look.’ That had to be the mindset. It’s like cheating on homework,” the clerk said. “What I know is we were doing our jobs. … I feel that’s the first line of defense in election integrity: do your job. If more people did, maybe we would see more of this stuff coming to light.”
Councilwoman Amy Drake recently revealed that she and her Republican colleague, Rolfes, joined forces during their 2022 election campaigns. Their shared focus was on addressing concerns related to election integrity, with a particular emphasis on the alleged breaches of absentee ballot room access protocols by former Democrat County Clerk, Rita Glenn.
“Glenn is alleged to have entered a secure ballot room the day before the May 3,  primary election without following the proper access procedure. After going into the room, she was seen on video throwing away what looks like rolls of paper, possibly from that room,” ABC 57 reported.
Rolfes emerged victorious in the election and promptly commenced addressing the issue of the absentee ballot room locks, which lay at the core of the Glenn controversy. As per the St. Joseph County GOP, she achieved the distinction of being the inaugural Republican to secure this office.
“Her message to our county is that she sincerely is focused on election security — at a time when voters really care about this issue because of questions about national election integrity,” Drake said.
Left-wing organizations and their supporters in the complicit media have consistently attempted to suppress reports of election fraud and associated wrongdoing, dismissing these claims as mere fantasies concocted by conspiracy theorists.
“Election fraud is not a conspiracy theory in St. Joseph County. It is real. This incident demonstrates why signature requirements and photo identification are essential elements of ensuring our elections are honest and fair,” Rolfes said.