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Published: Monday, 10/18/2004

Defiance County man arrested in alleged voter registration-crack cocaine scheme

Chad Staton is facing felony charge. Chad Staton is facing felony charge.

A Defiance County man has been arrested for allegedly filing more than 100 false voter registration forms in exchange for crack cocaine from a Toledo woman working on behalf of the NAACP s voter registration drive.

Chad Staton, 22, of Stratton Ave., faces a fifth-degree felony charge of false registration after sheriff s deputies said he filled out the registration forms by himself using either fictitious names or addresses and gave them to Georgianne Pitts, 41.

Toledo police searched Ms. Pitts home and discovered drug paraphernalia along with more voter registration forms. Police said that Ms. Pitts admitted to paying Mr. Staton in crack cocaine, in lieu of cash.

Ms. Pitts, working on behalf of the NAACP National Voter Fund, submitted the forms to the voter fund, which in turn submitted them to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.

Because the addresses on the forms were for the Defiance area, the Cuyahoga County elections board sent the registration forms to Defiance County s elections board, with a note to check the signatures for fraud, said Laura Howell, the deputy director of the Defiance County elections board.

Ms. Pitts told police she had been recruited to obtain voter registration forms by Thaddeus J. Jackson II, of Cleveland, who is coordinating the Toledo area s voter registration drive for the NAACP voter drive.

When contacted by The Blade this afternoon, Mr. Jackson said that Ms. Pitts was a volunteer, but said he had no knowledge of any fraudulent voter registration forms. He declined to comment further.

Citing the case, Ohio Republican Party spokesman Jason Mauk said in a statement this afternoon that there is an effort to steal Ohio s election that is being driven exclusively by interest groups working to register Democratic voters.

Read more in tomorrow's editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.

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