Thursday, February 27, 2003

E-mail inaccurately claims tax vote delay



By Patrick Crowley
The Cincinnati Enquirer

FORT THOMAS - The state may launch a criminal investigation into an e-mail circulated Tuesday that included inaccurate information about a special election involving a Fort Thomas Independent Schools tax increase.

Campbell County Clerk Jack Snodgrass contacted Commonwealth Attorney Jack Porter, the top state prosecutor in Campbell County, after he received a copy of the e-mail. Porter said he has forwarded the complaint to the Kentucky Attorney General's Office and has requested an investigation.

"Anything involving allegations of election and voter fraud needs to be looked at by the Attorney General's Office," Porter said. "I've sent the information and asked for an investigation."

Jennifer Dean, a spokesman for Attorney General Ben Chandler, confirmed receiving the information Wednesday but had no further comment.

The e-mail claims that the March 4 tax vote has been postponed until April, which Mr. Snodgrass said is untrue.

"Alert," the e-mail reads. "I have heard the Campbell County Board of Elections are having trouble with voting machines. I'm told the vote is being changed to the first Tuesday in April when many (Fort Thomas residents) are out of town on spring break.

"Sounds like an inside job," the electronic message said.

Snodgrass said there are no problems with the county's voting machines and the date of the election has not been changed.

"This has upset me very much," Snodgrass said Wednesday. "Anyone who has seen this may pass it on to others, and someone might believe that the Election Day has been changed. They would be deprived of their right to vote.

"And the comment about an `inside job' is a black mark on the Board of Elections and very detrimental to me," Snodgrass said. "My reputation has to be perceived as straight up and honest, and this is very damaging to that."

Porter said the person responsible for circulating the e-mail could be charged with interfering with an election, a Class D felony punishable by one to five years in prison. Porters said the e-mail was sent to about 25 people, but that it could have circulated among "hundreds" of people passing it to others.

E-mail pcrowley@enquirer.com




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