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Student headed to prison for registering dead voters for Democrats

Andrew J. Spieles, 21, of Harrisonburg was sentenced to 100 days in jail (Photo: WHSV in Harrisonburg)

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WSET) -- A former staffer with Harrisonburg Votes, a political organization affiliated with the Democratic party, paid to register area voters during the weeks leading up to the 2016 National Election, was sentenced in federal court Tuesday for causing 18 fraudulent Virginia Voter Registration Forms.

Andrew J. Spieles, 21, of Harrisonburg was sentenced to 100 days in jail.

The court waived any fees associated with the charges due to an inability to pay the fine, and Spieles will not have to serve any probation following his jail-time.

He previously pled guilty to one-count of information charging him with knowingly transferring false Virginia Voter Registration Forms.

According to evidence presented a previous hearing, in July 2016 Spieles' job was to register as many voters as possible and report them to Democratic headquarters in Harrisonburg.

In August 2016, Spieles was directed to combine his registration numbers with those of another person because their respective territories overlapped.

After filling out a registration form for a voter, Spieles entered the information into a computer system used by the Virginia Democratic Party to track information such as name, age, address, and political affiliation.

Every Thursday, am employee or volunteer hand-delivered the paper copies of the registration forms to the Registrar's Office in Harrisonburg.

On August 15, 2016, an employee at the Registrar's Office contacted law enforcement after another employee in the office recognized a registration form submitted in the name of the deceased father of a Rockingham County judge.

The Registrar's Office discovered multiple instances of similarly falsified forms when it reviewed additional registrations.

Some were in the names of deceased individuals while others had incorrect middle names, birth dates, and social security numbers.

The Registrar's Office then learned that the individuals named in these forms had not in face submitted the new voter registrations; the assistant registrar's personal knowledge of the names of some of the individuals named in the falsified documents facilitated the detection of the crime.

Prosecutors admitted that he prepared the false voter registration forms by obtaining the name, age, and address of individuals from "walk sheets" provided to him by the Virginia Democratic Party, fabricating a birth date based on the ages listed in the walk sheet, and fabricated the social security numbers.

Spieles admitted that he created all 18 fraudulent forms himself and that no one else participated in the crime.

The investigation of the case was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Harrisonburg Police Department.

The Rockingham County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office also assisted in the investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Jeb Terrien prosecuted the case for the United States.

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