An unsuccessful candidate for Sterling Heights City Council has been charged with forging ballot applications for the November 2021 election, the Michigan Attorney General's Office announced Tuesday.
Paul Manni, 27, of Sterling Heights, is charged with nine counts of forging a signature on an absent voter ballot application and nine counts of making a false statement on an absentee voter ballot application. He was arraigned last Friday.
Leading up to the election, the Sterling Heights clerk became suspicious when Manni dropped off about 50 absentee voter applications with his signature. He indicated that he was delivering the applications at the voters’ request, authorities alleged.
Nine of the voters contacted by clerk staff each said they did not apply for an absentee ballot.
The Clerk referred the matter to the Michigan Bureau of Elections, which launched an investigation, then forwarded the results to the Attorney General.
A press released issued by the Attorney General's Office said none of the applications turned in by Manni resulted in votes.
“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,” said Attorney General Dana Nessel in a statement.