HARRISONBURG, Va. – A James Madison University student is heading to prison after he pleaded guilty to registering dead voters for the Democratic Party during the 2016 election.
Andrew Spieles, 21, received a 100-day prison sentence in federal court on Tuesday for falsifying 18 Virginia Voter Registration Forms that were submitted to the registrar’s office in Harrisonburg last August, WSET reports.
“On August 15, 2016, an employee of 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,” according to the Department of Justice. “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 bore incorrect middle names, birth dates, and social security numbers.”
Spieles was working for the Democratic campaign during the voter registration drive, and “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 fabricating the social security numbers,” the Justice Department wrote in a news release.
Spieles told investigators that he alone was responsible for the fake voter registrations and claimed his antics were designed to help his co-worker reach a registration “quota,” The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported in June.
Court documents reveal Spieles’ job was to register as many voters as possible and report to the Democratic campaign headquarters in Harrisonburg, according to WCAV.
Spieles, whose grandfather had died earlier that year, said he had no idea that three of the names he used on those forms were for people who had died. Choking back tears, he said he would have felt “hurt and angry” if his family had received a letter about registering to vote addressed to his grandfather, and he wanted to apologize to the families.
He also apologized to the court and said he wanted to find a way to transform this situation into a way he can help people.
The fraud is punishable by up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine, but Spieles reached a plea agreement with Assistant United States Attorney Jeb Terrien that limited his sentence to between 100 and 120 days behind bars.
On Tuesday, a judge waived the enormous fee because Spieles couldn’t afford it and sentenced the student to 100 days in prison, WSET reports.
“There is no indication any fraudulent votes were cast in November’s election as a result of the improper registrations,” according to the Times-Dispatch.
A James Madison University spokesman told The College Fix Spieles graduated from the school before his misdemeanor conviction.