Sterling Heights Council candidate charged with forging signatures

(MGN)
Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 12:39 PM EDT
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STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. (WILX) - A Sterling Heights man is facing felony charges for alleged ballot fraud.

Tuesday, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said Paul Manni, 27, has been charged with nine counts of forging a signature on an absent voter application, a five-year felony, and nine counts of making a false statement on an absent voter ballot application, a 90-day misdemeanor. The charges stem from the Nov. 2021 election.

Read: Civics class, community service for voting fraud suspects

According to Nessel’s office, the City Clerk for Sterling Heights became suspicious when then city council candidate Manni personally dropped off about 50 absentee voter applications with his signature while indicating that he was delivering the applications at the voters’ request.

Nine of the voters included in the applications were reached by clerk staff to verify if they did wish to apply for an absentee ballot. Each of the nine individuals told investigators they did not.

The Clerk then contacted the Bureau of Elections to report the suspected fraud, which prompted an investigation. After completing the investigation, it was referred to the Department of Attorney General for evaluation. None of the applications turned in by Manni resulted in a valid ballot going to the voter.

“These charges prove the state’s signature matching standards and other election security checks and balances catch instances of wrongdoing, prompt thorough investigations and result in appropriate action,” Nessel said. “I appreciate our ongoing partnership with the BOE to root out attempts to undermine our elections.”

Manni was arraigned on Aug. 5, and has a probable cause conference scheduled for Aug. 18 at 1:00 p.m.

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