John Moore/Getty Images
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced felony charges had been filed against a former Sterling Heights City Council candidate related to ballot application forgeries.
Paul Manni, 27, of Sterling Heights, was arraigned Friday in Macomb County’s 41-A District Court with nine counts of forging a signature on an absent voter ballot application, five-year felonies; and nine counts of making a false statement on an absent voter ballot application, 90-day misdemeanors.
Manni is a Republican precinct delegate, the Detroit Metro Times reports.
According to a release from Nessel’s office, leading up to the November 2021 election, the Sterling Heights City Clerk became suspicious when Manni personally dropped off approximately 50 absentee voter applications with his signature and an indication that he was delivering the applications at the voters’ request.
When contacted by clerk’s office staff to verify the claim, nine of the voters included in the applications advised they had not sought to apply for an absentee ballot.
The clerk then reported the suspected fraud to the Bureau of Elections (BOE), which began an investigation. Once completed, it was referred to the Department of Attorney General (DAG) per standard procedure.
The release emphasized that 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, who finished eighth in a race for six seats, is next due in court for a probable cause conference at 1 p.m. Aug. 18.
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.