It’s the big story that the media outside of South Bend, Indiana don’t want to report. It’s the story of how Democratic election officials in the St. Joseph Co. Board of Registration Office conspired to forge signatures on the nominating petitions of Barack Obama in 2008 so that he would have enough signatures to make the 2008 Indiana Democratic primary ballot. Without those forged signatures, Barack Obama’s name would not have appeared on the 2008 Indiana primary ballot, and in all likelihood, that blunder would have cost him the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.
The South Bend Tribune, which broke the original story, reports on yet a second official charged in the petition-forging scandal pleading guilty to her role. This time it is Pam Brunette, the former head of voter registration in St. Joseph County.
Pam Brunette pleaded guilty Tuesday to one count of Class C felony forgery, one count of Class D felony official misconduct and one count of Class D felony falsifying a petition.
Three additional counts were dismissed. The former head of Democratic Voter Registration faces between two and eight years for the Class C felony and six months to three years for each Class D felony.
A sentencing hearing has been set for 10 a.m. May 9 before Superior Court Judge John Marnocha.
Brunette is the second person in the past two weeks to admit guilt in the case, which also involves former longtime county Democratic Party Chair Butch Morgan and former party member Dustin Blythe.
Bev Shelton pleaded guilty to one count of forgery and one count of falsifying a petition on March 28 as part of a plea agreement under which she has agreed to testify in the upcoming case against Morgan and Blythe.
Shelton, who worked under Brunette in Voter Registration, will be sentenced at the same time as her former boss.
According to the Tribune, Brunette didn’t actually forge the signatures but knew the petitions contained forged signatures that had been forged by party officials and certified the petitions knowing they contained forgeries.