Advance Notice: Briefs

Failed Sterling Heights City Council candidate charged with forging ballot applications 

By: - August 10, 2022 12:02 pm

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.

Paul Manni | Facebook

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.

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Jon King
Jon King

Jon King has been a journalist for more than 35 years. He is the Past President of the Michigan Associated Press Media Editors Association and has been recognized for excellence numerous times, most recently in 2021 with the Best Investigative Story by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Cleary University. Jon and his family live in Howell, where he also serves on the Board of Directors for the Livingston Diversity Council.