RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) - Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli will not investigate a voter fraud case out of Harrisonburg. He says he cannot investigate unless the State Board of Elections or a local Commonwealth's Attorney asks him to, and that has not happened.
Last week, WAVY.com reported police arrested a voter registration supervisor working for a contractor of the Republican Party of Virginia. Officers say they found voter registration forms in a dumpster. Cuccinelli says local authorities are conducting their own investigation.
Cuccinelli says he is frustrated that he cannot legally investigate this case. He calls this a "severe shortcoming in our election laws" and he makes it clear the law needs to change.
Cuccinelli wrote a letter in response to a request made by Virginia Senator Donald McEachin. He asked Cuccinelli to investigate the alleged dumping of voter registration forms in Harrisonburg.
In the letter, Cuccinelli says he cannot legally investigate unless "requested to do so by the State Board of Elections."
"The three of them who are not prosecutors, have no criminal justice background have to sit around and decide and conclude unanimously that they want the attorney general's office to investigate something," says Cuccinelli.
In his letter, Cuccinelli calls the current system cumbersome and less effective than it if his office could also work to punish voting violators.
"We wouldn't be duplicating what the commonwealth's attorney is doing there obviously very aggressively. What we would do is things that reach beyond that jurisdiction."
Cuccinelli is talking about things like working to figure out if cases of voter fraud are coordinated efforts with people throughout the state. That is something Cuccinelli says Commonwealth's Attorneys can not do.
The Attorney General suggests McEachin fight to change the law.
"I suggested concurrent jurisdiction with the Commonwealth's Attorneys. Right now, the local Commonwealth's Attorney has jurisdiction over these cases."
Cuccinelli says changing the law is a straightforward and necessary process to make sure voters rights are not violated at the polls.
"If Senator McEachin brought this bill and we supported it, I think it would probably roll right through the General Assembly," says Cuccinelli.
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