The Virginia State Board of Elections announced Friday that it will not ask the state's attorney general to investigate the Republican operative accused of tossing out eight completed voter registration forms, rejecting Democratic-led efforts at a full investigation into the alleged tampering.
State Senator and chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus Donald McEachin had called for a complete investigation of the incident, in which 31-year-old Colin Small is accused of deliberately discarding valid voter registration forms.
“This is simply too serious an issue,” McEachin said in a statement. “Voting is the bedrock of our democracy and we, as Virginians, deserve to know exactly what happened, how widespread the abuse and under whose orders, if any, the individual in question acted.”
Yet the board decided not to request a formal investigation by Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, leaving the matter up to local authorities. A spokesman for Cuccinelli's office told the Washington Post that the attorney general could only review the case if the State Board of Elections asked him to do so.
Police arrested Small, who worked for a firm contracted by the state Republican party, on Thursday, and charged him with four counts of destruction of voter registration applications, eight counts of disclosure of voter registration application, and one count of obstruction of justice. Police learned of the alleged crime from a convenience store employee who noticed a man speed off after tossing what turned out to be completed registration forms in a dumpster behind his store.
Democratic Party of Virginia Chairman Brian Moran also called for an investigation into the incident, saying it would be hypocritical for the Republican attorney general to ignore the case despite Republicans efforts nationwide to combat alleged voter fraud.
"This isn't about partisan politics, it's about integrity in our elections," Moran said in a statement. "Given their rhetoric about eliminating voter fraud, Republicans should welcome an investigation to prove that these disturbing incidents are isolated and not a central feature of the GOP campaign effort this year."