The political operative accused of trashing a stack of voter registration forms faced a judge in Rockingham County Tuesday afternoon.
Colin Patrick Small, 23, was charged with multiple felony and misdemeanor counts, and could be looking at possible jail time. But jail time is looking less likely after Tuesday's preliminary hearing.
The case made national headlines as a possible Republican voter-suppression scheme. But the most serious charges dealt with criminal misuse of Social Security numbers, and the judge said that did not happen.
Small still faces five misdemeanors - of voter fraud and obstruction of justice - but the Rockingham County judge dismissed eight felony counts - of disclosure of Social Security numbers - during Tuesday's hearing.
A Harrisonburg store owner testified that he saw Small dump a bag containing eight voter registration forms into his recycling bin. That was last October, on the final day to register for the presidential election.
The forms were complete with names, addresses and Social Security numbers. But a sheriff's investigator testified that all of the forms were expired, and the defense said Small believed those citizens had already been registered.
Small will go to trial on the less serious voter fraud charges at a later date.
His attorney says this whole matter is - at best - a civil case of possible negligence, in trashing what he thought were useless forms.
Felony Counts Dismissed for Man Accused of Voter FraudMore>>