SOUTH BEND -- County Prosecutor Michael Dvorak said Thursday that the investigation into the presence of fake signatures on ballot petitions in St. Joseph County remains ongoing but that he expects a charging decision soon.
Dvorak said he and a deputy met with state police investigators Thursday, "and I can't divulge any specifics, but I can say there are a few more things that need to be completed."
He added that he expects a charging decision in the case "very soon."
"That does not mean we are charging anyone," he said, "but we will be making a charging decision very soon."
As part of a joint investigation, The Tribune and Howey Politics Indiana in October reported the presence of hundreds of fake signatures on petitions to place Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on the state primary ballot in 2008.
At about the same time, and in response to the report, the county prosecutor's office opened an investigation into the case. It has\ since been turned over to state police.
Though no suspects have been named in the case, a forensic handwriting analyst hired by The Tribune has linked Democrat Dustin Blythe, a former worker in the office of voter registration, to some of the fake petitions.
Blythe was reportedly a close aide to former longtime county Democratic Party Chair Butch Morgan, who, amid pressure from the state Democratic Party related to the petition case, resigned that position in October, two days after The Tribune identified Blythe. Morgan has denied any involvement and has said the investigation would clear him.
Blythe, meanwhile, has since left the office of voter registration to pursue other opportunities, state Sen. John Broden, Morgan's successor, told The Tribune last week. He has been replaced by Pam Brunette, his former boss, who has herself been replaced by Terry Coleman.
The office of voter registration consists of four Republicans and four Democrats appointed by the respective county party chair. The heads of the office -- Brunette and Republican Linda Silcott back in 2008 -- constitute the Board of Voter Registration.
Falsifying a ballot petition is a Class D felony in Indiana. The statute of limitations in such cases is five years, Dale Simmons, co-legal counsel for the state Elections Division, told The Tribune in September.
Staff writer Erin Blasko: