The trial is underway for a former Democratic official and a Board of Elections worker who are accused of being part of a plot that has raised questions over whether President Obama’s campaign — when he was a candidate in 2008 — submitted enough legitimate signatures to have legally qualified for the presidential primary ballot.
The two face charges of orchestrating an illegal scheme to fake the petitions that enabled then-candidates Obama, and Hillary Clinton, to qualify for the race in Indiana.
Former longtime St. Joseph County Democratic Party Chairman Butch Morgan Jr. faces multiple felony conspiracy counts to commit petition fraud, and former county Board of Elections worker Dustin Blythe is charged with nine felony forgery counts and one felony count of falsely making a petition of nomination. The proceedings began Monday in South Bend.
Morgan is accused of being the mastermind behind the plot, by allegedly ordering Democratic officials and workers to fake the names and signatures that Obama and Clinton needed to qualify for the presidential race. Blythe, then a Board of Elections employee and Democratic Party volunteer, has been accused of carrying out those orders by forging signatures on Obama’s petitions.
Two former Board of Elections officials have already pleaded guilty to charges related to the scheme and could testify against Morgan and Blythe.