Issuance of fake voter ID cards is investigated

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ATLANTA --- A temporary elections clerk with a good memory for faces foiled an alleged scheme to use fraudulent voter ID cards to cash stolen government checks.

On Wednesday, the State Elections Board heard details about its staff's investigation into the case and voted to suspend further action until any criminal investigations are complete.

"This is one of the most serious cases we've encountered in our investigation," said Shawn LaGrua, the inspector general for the secretary of state's office.

The clerk thought she recognized a woman who asked to be issued a free voter ID card in November 2007, but the name didn't seem right. After issuing the card, a records check after the woman left proved the same woman had received a card six months earlier under the name LaRae Shelton.

This might not be the first incident.

"In fact in Richmond County, there have been questions since the beginning of the issuing of voter ID cards why Richmond County has sometimes had a large number of voter ID cards (than) in the past," Ms. LaGrua said. "And we had some suspicions, and they were confirmed by this investigation."

Ms. LaGrua did not give the board evidence of other problems, and her spokesman, Matt Carrothers, declined to elaborate.

Andy Garner, an investigator on Ms. LaGrua's staff, and Richmond County sheriff's Investigator Michelle Walden interviewed Ms. Shelton, who told them she got the bogus card at her boyfriend's urging to cash a check stolen from Sherrie Andrade, who is registered to vote in Chatham County.

Ms. Andrade told the investigators a Social Security disability check had been stolen while she stayed at a motel on Gordon Highway.

In 2007, Richmond County issued 701 of the 4,229 voter ID cards issued statewide -- far out of proportion to its share of the state population.

Lynn Bailey, the executive director of the Richmond County Board of Elections, considers the Shelton case a one-time incident.

"We have no reason to believe there is anything widespread with this," she said Wednesday.

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No_Longer_Amazed 01/22/09 - 09:21 am
The victim was on disability,

The victim was on disability, staying in a Gordon Highway motel, mmm.... I bet she was also getting free bus pass. I wonder what other illegal purposes these voter ID cards are being used for?

wizzardx1 01/22/09 - 10:16 am
I would assume a VOTER I.D.

I would assume a VOTER I.D. would be used to VOTE!

message 01/22/09 - 11:50 am
This claimed about a Vote ID

This claimed about a Vote ID card being used to cash a cheque is preposterous. I have a Voter ID card and on the back you can see in bold print" only valid for voting identification".If a store clerk did cashed a cheque with a Voter ID card she was in on the scheme.

elliottness 01/22/09 - 12:35 pm
i'm still puzzled about these

i'm still puzzled about these check cashing do you get an id to match the name to the name on the stolen check, in the first place?so you're telling me you steal the check then go and get an id with that name?i would not issue any ids with out a birth certificate or some proof.this crap is way too lax here.perhaps finger print these people and do a back ground check before issuing anything.grown ups walking around with no id or license should cause many red flags to arise.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 01/22/09 - 05:12 pm
Elliot, you have hit the nail

Elliot, you have hit the nail on the head. The people issuing the Voter ID cards have no interest into whether the person standing before them is who they say they are. They will issue the Voter ID card based on nothing more than the person's filling out the form and affirming the form is accurate. Of course, it's fraud on the person's part, but the state official in the DMV office does not care.

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