|Photo of Mike Marshall from The Voting Film Project|
Three Jennings County residents face a combined 65 felony counts after being indicted by a grand jury on charges of vote fraud, forgery and perjury.Marshall, as the local Democratic party leader in Jennings County, has been credited in recent years with turning out incredibly large numbers of absentee ballots that have tipped several close races in favor of the Democrats, including a local state representative race that narrowly gave Democrats control of the Indiana House of Representatives a few years ago. Marshall was featured in The Voting Film Project, a documentary on the 2008 presidential election along with another Indiana Republican Party activist, Dee Dee Benkie. "On Election Day, Republicans and Democrats alike are stunned as Barack Obama defeats John McCain to carry not only North Vernon but the entire state of Indiana," the website promoting the documentary says. The website describes Marshall as "a savvy political consultant who has been in politics since he was 16, when he was the leader of The Birch Bayh Democratic Club."
Mike Marshall, a Democrat and president of North Vernon's Utilities Service Board, faces 12 Class D felony counts of forgery, 13 Class D felony counts of perjury and 20 Class D felony counts of vote fraud, according to paperwork filed with the Jennings County clerk's office.
Marshall's son Chris Marshall faces one count each of forgery and perjury and nine counts of vote fraud.
John Cook, a Democrat and member of the Utilities Service Board, faces two counts of forgery, three counts of perjury and four counts of vote fraud.
The case stems from an absentee ballot filed in last year's election.
This is not the first time Marshall has been at the center of controversy. Marshall, an openly gay man, started out running the campaign of Indiana's first openly gay congressional candidate, Kris Kiser, in Indiana's 7th congressional district in the 2006 primary race against former U.S. Rep. Julia Carson (D). Marshall left Kiser's campaign after a falling out with the candidate. There were also allegations of wrongdoing committed by Marshall when he ran Joe Donnelly's 2004 congressional campaign in the 2nd District concerning the misuse of campaign funds.
Vote fraud allegations have recently made headlines in the 2nd District after the South Bend Tribune and Howey Politics uncovered a massive petition-forging effort on behalf of the 2008 Indiana primary presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton that took place within the district in order for the two candidates to gain access to Indiana's Democratic primary ballot. The investigation discovered that without hundreds of forged signatures, Barack Obama's name would not have appeared on the primary ballot, a key turning point in his successful bid for the nomination over Hillary Clinton. Indiana Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker forced the resignation of 2nd District Chair and St. Joseph Co. Democratic Chairman Butch Morgan despite Morgan's contention that he had nothing to do with the forging of the petition signatures. St. Joseph Co. Prosecutor Michael Dvorak, a Democrat, has agreed to investigate the allegations after the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District turned it down after receiving orders from the Obama Justice Department in Washington not to investigate the case, deferring to the state prosecutor. Following the petition-forging scandal, Democrats have launched their own investigation to try to prove that Republicans engaged in wrongdoing during the petition-gathering process for Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential primary campaign in Indiana.
UPDATE: The Jeffersonville News & Tribune reports that Jeffersonville Mayor Tom Galligan accepted the reisgnation of Mike Marshall, who had been in charge of his campaign efforts to solicit absentee votes, following new of today's indictment.
In a short interview on Friday, the mayor acknowledged that he’d been working with Marshall for the last eight months. He said he knew his family and that he had campaign experience working in the re-election campaign of Rep. Terry Goodin, a Democrat, and one of Southern Indiana’s state house representatives.
Marshall was one of several people that Galligan personally thanked during his victory speech on primary night in May. According to the latest campaign finance reports, filed Friday, Galligan’s campaign paid Marshall’s business, North Vernon-based At Your Service Co., more than $52,710.23 through the year — almost a third of the campaign’s total expenditures.
“He was in charge of getting out the vote,” Galligan said. When asked to elaborate on what those duties entailed, he referred questions to campaign manager Phil McCauley.
McCauley said Marshall supervised a staff of about five people who would solicit eligible voters to vote by absentee ballot. Marshall and staff also made phone calls on Galligan’s behalf, McCauley said.
McCauley said he had not heard about the indictment until a reporter called him about Friday afternoon.
“It’s a stunner,” he said.
He called Marshall and read him media coverage of the indictments over the phone.
“He offered me his resignation on the spot,” McCauley said.
“The reason we got Mike Marshall involved was because we thought he was squeaky clean. We wanted everything 100 percent clean,” McCauley said.Yeah, right, McCauley must have been sleeping under a rock if he believed Mike Marshall was "squeaky clean." It was common knowledge in Democratic circles that Marshall was a master at absentee voter fraud. That was why they sought out his services.