"Organizing for America" Under Election Investigation

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About 150 people will not get to vote next week.  They registered with Organizing for America ahead of the Republican primary, and the third-party group failed to turn in the applications on time.

The Charlottesville Commonwealth's Attorney Office is now investigating a potential election crime.  Voter Registrar Sheri Iachetta tells NBC29 that 147 people have been disenfranchised, and she says there is a big lesson to be learned here.

Organizing for America, part of Barack Obama's re-election campaign, is under investigation for allegedly breaking an election law.  Iachetta said, "Third-party groups have to follow the law and there are certain steps they have to follow."

Iachetta says the group turned in 147 voter registration applications past deadline; they have to be turned in within 15 days of when the voter signs it or when the registration books close.  That information is clearly stated on this voter registration drive request form.

"These people are putting their trust and faith in this group that the applications are going to be turned into the appropriate person," stated Iachetta. 

Iachetta says the applications were signed and dated on February 4.  Books closed for the state's primary on February 13.  They were hand delivered Iachetta's office on February 21.  She forwarded the information to the commonwealth's attorney on February 24. 

Iachetta said, "The law is very specific about what I have to do."

Under Virginia law, failure to mail or deliver voter registration forms is considered a misdemeanor.  But Iachetta admits that third-party groups are helpful when it comes to signing people up to vote - especially in 2008.

Iachetta and her staff can't cover every inch of the city to register people to vote.  She said, "I would say investigate the third-party group before you sign up with them."

NBC29 did reach out to Organizing for America for comment, but we have received nothing at this point. However, the Democratic Party of Virginia sent us the following statement: "Virginia Democrats take voter registration laws seriously and go to great lengths to provide training for staff and volunteers. We plan to look into this and to coordinate with the Democratic National Committee to ensure this matter is handled properly."

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