Attorney General's office investigating former candidates campai - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Attorney General's office investigating former candidates campaign

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JACKSON CO. -- SIU student Anthony Barbato decided to run for Jackson Court Board to work toward lowering taxes. Although he didn't win, in the campaign process, he ended up costing Jackson County taxpayers thousands. 

County Clerk Larry Reinhardt says it appears Barbato went door to door at the SIU dorm rooms, asking for support, registering people to vote, and signing them up for absentee ballots. 

"There were almost 500 registration and absentee ballot requests turned in. Over 400 of those, the individuals didn't respond to them. The ones that we've talked to, did not want the ballot. Many did not want to be registered in Jackson County," said Reinhardt.  

Reinhardt says his office sent out the ballots, each costing about five dollars to send. In total this cost the county about $3,000 dollars. More than 75 percent of those were never returned. Many of those registered said they didn't realize what they had signed. 

"We've got a couple affidavits. People said they felt pressured into signing these documents," said Reinhardt. 

Reinhardt said he first saw a red flag when ALL 500 requests from Barbato were for Republican ballots. The next red flag was in the applications themselves. The names, birth dates and signatures were all correct, but nearly all social security numbers were incorrect.  

Reinhardt says this serves as another reminder not to sign anything unless you completely understand it.

He says its unclear at this time if Barbato will face any charges. 

"It'll be up to the Attorney General's office whether they feel that crosses the line into fraud or not. From our perspective, it was certainly a lot of waste. Wasted time on their part, and wasted time and resources on our part as well," said Reinhardt. 

We have reached out to Barbato, but he has not responded. 

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