FBI investigating 'VIP' voting machine in Jefferson Parish

Private, VIP voting machine may break laws

The FBI is now investigating a complaint about a voting machine, set up in the private conference room of Jefferson Parish Registrar of Voters Dennis DiMarco.

Late Friday, Robert Evans, the Metairie attorney who heads up the campaign to recall JP President Mike Yenni, told WWL-TV, federal investigators notified Evans they wanted to interview him.

Evans admitted he filed the federal complaint after using the "special" voting machine earlier in the week.

"(The) machines are not available to the disabled, Evans said. "They're not available to the public. They are just special machines to Mr. DeMarco to use as he sees fit."

As WWL-TV first reported, Louisiana's Secretary of State investigators seized the machine that was set up, out of public view, just steps from where early voters waited in long lines to cast ballots on the 5th floor of the Jefferson Eastbank Government Building in Elmwood.

On Thursday DiMarco said the machine was for police and firefighters, but admitted in some cases "VIPs" used the machine.

"It's really a convenience for those who's time is for lack of a better word maybe more valuable than others," DiMarco said.

Both federal and state authorities are now investigating whether any laws were broken.

WWL-TV legal analyst Chick Foret maintains there doesn't appear to be any violations of the federal Voting Rights Act.

But, he says DiMarco may have some problems when it comes to the state election code.

"The Louisiana election code clearly states that voting machines need to be in the full view of the public," Foret said. "This machine was not in the full view of the public."

In a strange twist, Constitutional Amendment Number One on the November 8 ballot, deals with registrars of voters across the state.

If approved it would allow the legislature to establish new qualifications for local registrars of voters, such as minimum education and workforce experience requirements.

"Unfortunately, common sense is not a qualification to be a registrar of voters," Sen. J.P. Morrell, D-New Orleans said. 

Morrell, who's district includes parts of Jefferson Parish said the legislature would be able to mandate registrars get better training on the state election code.

"Everybody is 100 percent committed to there being no voter fraud," Morrell said. "When you start having secret, separate booths, that don't have that level of scrutiny, that is when people really, really get concerned."

The voting machine in question and the list of voters who used the machine are now secured in a West Jefferson warehouse. 

Jeff Landry Opinion on Poll Distance by WWLTVWebteam on Scribd

(© 2016 WWL)


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