- The Washington Times - Friday, October 28, 2016

Virginia authorities have charged a man who registered voters for a liberal political advocacy group with voter registration fraud, saying he filed false applications for people who do not exist.

Vafalay Massaquoi, 30, is accused of inventing applicants and forging voter registration forms that were filed with the Alexandria Office of the General Registrar. He’s charged with two felony counts of forging a public record and two felony counts of voter registration fraud.

An Alexandria Police Department spokeswoman said Mr. Massaquoi worked for New Virginia Majority, a progressive nonprofit that works with people of color, women, youth and gay communities.

Officials with New Virginia Majority did not respond to requests for comment Friday.

Authorities did not say how many false voter registration applications were filed.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Bryan L. Porter said no votes were cast using the fraudulent registrations.

“Given the recent public attention to claims of election fraud, I think it is important to note that there is no allegation that any illegal vote was actually cast in this case,” he said in a statement issued Friday. “Furthermore, since the fraudulent applications involved fictitious people, had the fraud not been uncovered the risk of actual fraudulent votes being cast was low.”

Anna Leider, General Registrar for the City of Alexandria, declined to say how the false applications were detected but said that a “group” of questionable applications were turned over to the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office for investigation.

“We’ve been adding a lot of new voters and they are voting enthusiastically,” she said. “I think the state has a fairly good voter registration database, so we are in good shape.”

New Virginia Majority has in recent months played a roll in reaching out to convicted felons to advise them their right to vote can now be restored in Virginia. Gov. Terry McAuliffe has taken steps to restore voting rights to felons who have completed there sentences.

Mr. Massaquoi was arraigned Friday in Alexandria General District Court and is being held in custody. Authorities had issued a warrant for his arrest months earlier, but he had moved out of the area and was taken into custody in Pennsylvania.

A preliminary hearing has been set in the case for Dec. 13.

• Andrea Noble can be reached at anoble@washingtontimes.com.

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