Obama supporters convicted of voter fraud in Ohio – an update

The New Paltz, NY Times Herald-Record has a story this morning on the conviction of Amy Little, Tate Hausman and Yolanda Hippensteele.

Political organizer from New Paltz guilty of illegal voting
By Alexa James
Times Herald-Record
Posted: April 30, 2009 – 2:00 AM
NEW PALTZ — Conspicuous political mobilizer Amy Little of New Paltz pleaded guilty Tuesday to voting illegally in Ohio during the presidential election campaign.
During the race, Little worked for an independent get-out-the-vote group called Vote Today Ohio. While touting Democratic candidate Barack Obama in the battleground state, she also registered to vote there.
Little, 50, claimed she’d moved from her home in New Paltz to a place in Columbus, near Ohio State University. Her new address doubled as headquarters for Vote Today Ohio. Other transplants in the group also used that location to register to vote in Ohio.
According to Ohio election laws, voters must reside in the state at least 30 days prior to the election and must intend to stay there after November.
“From my perspective, I was within the law,” Little said Wednesday, suggesting she was “targeted by Republicans.”
Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Charles Schneider saw things differently. In court, he said Little and her compatriots chose to vote in Ohio, instead of their home states, in an attempt to sway its electoral college toward Obama.
He sentenced Little, along with Daniel “Tate” Hausman, 32, of New York, and Yolanda Hippensteele, 30, of California, either to spend 60 days in jail or pay a $1,000 fine. Little said she’ll pay the fine.
The controversy also cost Little her role as a paid adviser for Rep. John Hall, D-Dover Plains. He cut ties with her when the investigation surfaced.
Little plans to continue her political work in New Paltz. The misdemeanor conviction “is such a footnote,” she said. “Obama won by a landslide (in Ohio) and that’s what I was working for.”
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said his office is investigating dozens of voter fraud cases.

Little is probably correct that the numbers of voter fraud cases would not have tipped the election. However, her public quotes portray her as taking it all very lightly. The Ohio law is pretty clear that residency was required to vote in the state. These three people never planned to stay there. It is an open question how prevalent this practice was. I think the conduct of the leaders raises questions about the integrity of the entire Vote Today Ohio operation. Many people came from out of state to work for VTO and get out the Obama vote during Ohio’s “golden week” of early voting. Organizers were asking for places to stay for these out-of-state organizers all over the state. How many of them followed the lead of the VTO leaders?
Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien told me yesterday that more indictments are on the way. Court documents relating to the case are here and here.

Obama supporters found guilty of voter fraud in Ohio

I investigated and followed this story along with Palestra through the Fall. You can get caught up quickly at this post. Months later, the three leaders of Vote Today Ohio were found guilty of voter fraud.
Here is the story from the Columbus Dispatch:

3 voting advocates guilty of fraud
Tuesday, April 28, 2009 3:33 PM
By Barbara Carmen
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Three staff members for Vote Today Ohio, an independent get-out-the-vote organization supporting Barack Obama, pleaded guilty in Franklin County this afternoon to voter fraud.
The three came to Ohio from states where Obama was likely to win in an effort to swing Ohio’s electoral college vote toward their candidate, Judge Charles A. Schneider said.
Given a year’s probation and a $1,000 fine were Daniel Hausman, 32, and Amy Little, 50, both of New York, and Yolanda Hippensteele, 30, of California. They told the court they had good intentions when they registered to vote and cast ballots the same day in early voting at Veterans Memorial.
“I was paying rent and living full-time in Ohio,” Hippensteele told the judge, “I didn’t attempt to vote in another state. … I think it’s all a misunderstanding. I have a profound respect for the voting process.”
Assistant Prosecutor Brian Simms said the three later tried to rescind their registration and cancel their votes; two were successful. Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien had warned visiting campaign staff members that they shouldn’t vote here if they didn’t plan to stay after the election.
Schneider told the three that “rescinding your request is like giving back the money once you’ve been caught.”

Amy Little was fired as a campaign adviser to Rep. John Hall (D-NY) after it was revealed that she had voted in Ohio, despite a residence in NY and intentions to return to NY.
Michael Stinziano, Director of the Franklin County Board of Elections, said he expects there may be more such outcomes since his office referred more allegations to the prosecutor.
Lots more on this story here.

Voter registration fraud indictment handed down in Ohio

This morning Franklin County (OH) Prosecutor Ron O’Brien announced the first in what will be a series of indictments of individuals for voter registration fraud. Here is the new release via Palestra.net
Ohiovoterfraud
I am wondering if the six cases referred last Friday involve these folks or this woman?

Ohio voter fraud probe is issue in New York state Senate race

The woman who was fired by NY Rep. John Hall, Amy Little, has become a focus in another New York political contest. According to the Utica Observer-Dispatch, Ms. Little worked for another Democrat, Don Barber, who is trying to unseat incumbant state Senator, James Seward. Sen. Seward wants to know if Ms. Little did voter registration work for challenger Barber. Barber has refused to comment, except to say that Ms. Little no longer works for the campaign.
For her part, Ms. Little continues to deny wrongdoing. She told the Middletown Times Herald-Record that she voluntarily withdrew her vote because of the media attention.

Vote Today Ohio leaders withdraw their votes in Ohio

Palestra.net reporter Tiffany Wilson is reporting this morning that Amy Little, and Yolanda Hippensteele have withdrawn their votes in Ohio. Tate Hausman sought to do so but his vote had been opened and he cannot do so. He is seeking to withdraw his registration. The legal implications are unclear to me at this point. I had initially written that Hausman had withdrawn his vote but Ms. Wilson clarified in an email that Mr. Hausman’s vote had been opened.
Amy Little was recently fired from her job as adviser to NY Rep. John Hall.
There are other out-of-state voters that have been turned in to the Franklin County Board of Elections, no word as yet on their intentions.
More to come…

Vote Today Ohio organizer fired as adviser to New York Rep. John Hall

Yesterday, I posted about Amy Little, an adviser to New York Rep. John Hall and his campaign manager during the 2006 election. Little is also co-organizer of Vote Today Ohio, a pro-Obama get out the vote organization. Today according to the Times Herald-Record (NY), Ms. Little has been fired as Rep. Hall’s adviser in response to an investigation of her vote in Columbus, Ohio.
Alexa James writes,

NEW PALTZ — Congressman John Hall (D-Dover Plains) fired one of his long-time campaign advisers Tuesday, after learning that she’s embroiled in voter fraud investigations in Ohio.
Amy Little, 49, has been a registered Democrat in New York since 1991, and Ulster County election officials said she voted in the party primary here in February.
But in October, Little registered to vote in Ohio. On her registration paperwork, she indicated she moved from her home at 142 Guilford Schoolhouse Road in New Paltz to a place at 1979 N. 4th St. in Columbus, near Ohio State University.
That Ohio address also doubles as headquarters for a grassroots get-out-the-vote group called Vote Today Ohio. The organization’s pro-Obama Web site says it targets “young people from campus/urban centers” and drives them to early voting sights in Ohio. The group also offers housing to out-of-town members.
Franklin County Board of Elections officials said four people, including Little, registered from Vote Today Ohio’s address in October, just before the state’s deadline. Little requested an absentee ballot, which election officials said she has submitted.
According to Ohio election laws, voters must reside in the state at least 30 days prior to the election and must intend to stay there after November.

Ms. Little maintains she is following the law:

“I’ve been living in Ohio,” she said, when reached on her home phone in New Paltz Wednesday morning. “I have no intention of voting in New York,” she said, before cutting off the conversation, saying she had a flight to catch to Ohio.
Spokeswoman Pam Kapoor, with Vote Today Ohio, said Little moved into the group’s headquarters a couple months ago, along with several other “core members.”
Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney Ron O’Brien confirmed that Little’s name and address are under scrutiny.
Franklin County Board of Elections Director Michael Stinziano said his office has about 160 allegations pending, including “many” directed at Little and Vote Today Ohio. Election fraud in Ohio is a felony.
Rep. Hall’s campaign isn’t waiting for a verdict. The freshman congressman, who’s running for re-election in the 19th district, heard about Little’s problems Tuesday. “The moment we heard about it, her campaign consulting contract was terminated,” said Campaign Director, Susan Spear.

1979 N. Fourth Street, Columbus, Ohio.
1979 N. Fourth Street, Columbus, Ohio
UPDATE: The Poughkeepsie Journal has an article on Rep. Hall’s response to the Vote Today Ohio leader, Amy Little. Just a couple of additional points:

Pam Kapoor, a spokeswoman for Vote Today Ohio, said Little was part of a group of five or six people who had been living at the headquarters for the past three months. She said it wasn’t uncommon, calling the news “much ado about nothing.”

Pam Kapoor (who apparently is from Canada) said Vote Today Ohio has had the HQ for three months. I don’t know how long someone has been there but the self-described leader, Tate Hausman has only been there since mid-September.
(h/t to Liberty Boys for the Poughkeepsie article)

Advisor to New York Rep. John Hall registered to vote in Ohio

UPDATE: Below I referred to a letter sent to about 150 people with questionable residency. Here is that letter.
I suppose this might be the fourth dot. The Franklin County Board of Elections confirmed tonight that Ms. Little did cast a vote In Ohio by absentee ballot.
There are three dots to connect in this post.
Dot one – Amy Little, former campaign manager for Rep. John Hall (D-NY) and current advisor, resides in New Paltz, New York (this is near Poughkeepsie).
Dot two – Ms. Little is in Columbus, Ohio (1979 N. Fourth Street to be exact) co-organizing Vote Today Ohio, a pro-Obama get out the vote group.
Dot three – Ms. Little registered to vote in Ohio even though she is a resident of New Paltz, NY.
Currently, Prosecutor Ron O’Brien and the Franklin County Board of Elections are investigating about 150 people with questionable residency who registered to vote in Franklin County. Michael Stinziano, Director of the Franklin County Board, told me:

It is public knowledge that the Franklin County Board of Elections is investigating all allegations submitted to either our office or the Prosecutor’s office and as part of that, consideration of what the allegation alleges. At this time, I cannot state whether the investigation is voter fraud, registration fraud or something additional.

No telling how widespread this is. Vote Today Ohio and similar groups are in major Ohio cities and at large state universities. I have reported on this before. Obamatravel.org helps fund people to make these trips. Here is the mission of Obamatravel.org:

Welcome to OBAMAtravel.org. This site is designed to help volunteers from non-swing states get to crucial swing states by connecting them with the resources they need.

If these volunteers come to get out the vote, that is organizing. If they come to vote, that would be considered improper. Clearly, it disrupts the election to have people from a state the Obama campaign deems safe come to a swing state and vote there.

Franklin County (OH) pulls out of state ballots for review

I talked this morning with Carolyn Gorup at the Franklin County Board of Elections in Columbus, Ohio. She noted that 200 absentee ballots have been pulled for review. Some of these were due to inability to verify the address. Others, however, were due to concerns about out-of-state voters entering Ohio to vote. The Vote Today Ohio group is one that was specifically identified.
Ms. Gorup indicated that the BOE is very serious about maintaining the integrity of the election and are actively researching leads about improper out-of-state voters. Information can be emailed to the Franklin County Board of Elections at boe (at) vote.franklincountyohio.gov.