A college student in Virginia was sentenced to 100 days in jail for registering dead people to vote in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election—as part of a voter registration drive from a group closely linked to the Democratic Party.
Andrew Spieles, 21, was sentenced in federal court on Tuesday.
Spieles was a student at Virginia’s James Madison University, and he worked as a staffer for a group called Harrisonburg Votes, which was affiliated with the Democratic Party in Harrisonburg, Va.
Harrisonburg Votes paid Spieles to register as many Democratic voters as possible.
Spieles would go out in the field to register voters, using “walk sheets,” and he would enter the voter data into a computer system used by the Virginia Democratic Party to track voter information, such as name, age, address, and political affiliation.
Every Thursday, a Democratic Party employee would turn hard copies over to the registrar’s office in Harrisonburg.
When Spieles failed to make his numbers, he turned towards voter fraud. And did so 18 times.
Spieles almost got away for it. But, unfortunately for him, his luck ran out on August 15, 2016–when employee from the state registrar’s office noticed that a familiar name appeared on a piece of voter registration paperwork submitted by Spieles: the recently-deceased father of a local judge.
Another employee in the registrar’s office then notified the U.S. Department of Justice.
After investigators dug deeper into Spieles’ voter registration forms, they discovered that he had submitted fraudulent documents multiple times. Some of the Democratic “voters” he registered were deceased citizens. Other documents had fabricated information about real, living people–such as fake birthdays, made-up middle names, and fabricated social security numbers.
Spieles admitted to the Department of Justice investigators that he had submitted 18 false voter registration documents, but he also said that no one else in the Virginia Democratic Party had participated in his crime.
Spieles faced up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine for his role in perpetuating voter fraud in a state narrowly won by Hillary Clinton.
But because he pled guilty to his crime, he was able to get off with a comparatively-light sentence of just 100 days.
In addition, the court also waived any monetary fines, due to Spieles’ inability to pay. He will also not be required to serve any probation following his jail sentence.
Voter fraud has emerged as a hot-button issue in recent months—after a series of videos from journalistic outlet, Project Veritas Action, were released last year. The controversial issue received even more publicity after President Donald Trump made a bombshell claim that widespread voter fraud had cost him the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election.
A recent poll from the Washington Post revealed that 47% of Republican voters back Trump’s claims–and 73% believe voter fraud is a widespread issue.