|Dustin Blythe Photo From Facebook|
A Mishawaka man has been linked to some of the pages filled with fake signatures submitted as part of Barack Obama's petition to be on the 2008 Indiana primary ballot.
A forensic document analyst hired by The Tribune and Howey Politics Indiana identified Dustin Blythe, 37, by matching the handwriting on his voter registration card and two political petitions with that on nine suspicious pages from the Obama petition.
The analyst, Erich Speckin, concluded that all of the printing on the nine pages definitely is Blythe's, and the signatures likely are his, as well . . .
Blythe is a Democratic appointee who works in the St. Joseph County Voter Registration Office. According to county personnel records, however, he didn't work in voter registration in early 2008 when the signatures were being collected. His employment in the office began in August of that year. He is known to be a longtime Democratic party volunteer.
Blythe declined to comment for this article.
His attorney, Andre Gammage, said Blythe is innocent.
"He hasn't done anything and doesn't know anything about any signatures being manufactured or forged," Gammage said in a phone interview. "That's the reason he doesn't have anything to say. His comment is he didn't do anything."
Gammage also questioned the reliability of handwriting analysis as evidence. "They're not fingerprints," he said. "They're not that exact."
The forensic document analyst determined that Blythe, who describes himself as a Progressive Democrat on his Facebook page, did not act alone. Speckin believes the handwriting on the Obama petitions included those of three other persons. The Tribune says a source with knowledge of the petition-forging says there were seven people, including Blythe, involved in the effort to fake petitions. As to the forensic document analyst's qualifications, the Tribune writes of him:
Speckin said he has testified as a handwriting expert in more than 100 trials. He also has been retained by federal, state and local governments, law enforcement agencies and private individuals.
|Blythe sporting an Edwards t-shirt with Obama volunteer Troy Warner|