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Friday, Aug. 22, 2014

Forgeries keep man off ballot

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

(Photo)
Jimmy Neal Anderton
(Bedford County Jail photo)
A Shelbyville City Council hopeful blamed "lack of time" as the reason for forging 14 signatures on his qualifying petition, officials say.

Jimmy Neal Anderton, 44, of Highland Court was barred from seeking the position after Bedford County election officials discovered the alleged forgeries.

"We contacted them (those whose names were allegedly forged) and they'd had no contact at all with him," Detective Sgt. Brian Crews of the Shelbyville Police Department said.

Rare charge

Anderton was indicted by the Bedford County grand jury last week on one count of a little-known charge: False entries on an registration or election document.

"We could have charged him with multiple forgeries," Crews said. "He forged 14 signatures and turned in the petition."

City council ballot petitions require 25 valid signatures, officials say.

"He's admitted to forging them," Crews said. "He basically said he ran out of time, was pushed for time and knowingly turned it in."

Anderton was hoping to run in Ward 1 against incumbent Jo Ann Holland and challenger Henry Feldhaus.

Discovery

"It was brought to our attention by the election administrator (Summer Leverette) that some signatures appeared to have the same handwriting," Danny Robbins, chairman of the Bedford County Election Commission, said.

"It was brought before the election commission at our regular meeting. We all determined the handwriting was the same on several signatures."

All signatures on ballot petitions are reviewed, Robbins said.

"We review all of them. The administrator verifies that all those that signed the petition are registered voters. It's our (election commission) job to see if there are any obvious discrepancies."

"They looked at signatures and noticed those toward the bottom looked similar," Crews said. "They compared the signatures on the petition to those on voter registration cards and confirmed those in question had been forged."

"It was very obvious that the handwriting was similar," Robbins said. "I'm not a handwriting expert. It just looked like the same handwriting."

D,A. notified

At that point election officials notified the office of District Attorney Robert Carter, who asked Crews to investigate.

The names were taken from a list of registered voters, Crews said.

"You can get a list of registered voters in your district. He used one of those lists."

The charge is a Class D felony, Crews said. Officials say a first offender would not be likely to face jail time.

Anderton turned himself in at Bedford County Jail, posted $3,000 bond and faces a court date of Dec. 17, records indicate.