RICHMOND, Va. - The Virginia State Board of Elections on Monday chose not to take action related to a nonprofit group's voter registration mailings following hundreds of complaints, including a request from Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's campaign for a formal investigation.
The board met for two hours to discuss mailing from the Washington-based Voter Participation Center and heard from more than a dozen speakers on both sides of the issue.
Residents and election administrators around the country have reported questionable mailings by the group. The mailings were addressed to animals, dead people, noncitizens and people already registered to vote.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports ( http://bit.ly/Rbv2AF) that while board members criticized the group's previous mailings, the board found no cause for a criminal investigation.
The group has acknowledged occasional errors in mailing lists it buys from vendors. But it denies wrongdoing and has agreed to stop sending partially completed forms.
The board on Monday also took no action on the Romney campaign's request for the state to verify two months' worth of voter registrations.
"This is a win for the citizens of Virginia who want to participate in the democratic process and an affirmation that the VPC program is legal, helpful and essential," Page Gardner, president and founder of the Voter Participation Center, said in a statement following the meeting.
Spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg said in a statement that even in the absence of a formal investigation, the Romney campaign is "heartened" that the group is being forced to stop mailing the partially completed forms.
"The Romney campaign supports efforts by private groups to register all those who are eligible to vote," Henneberg said. "Such organizations must take responsibility to ensure that they conform to the letter and spirit of the law. Unfortunately, the Voter Participation Center's conduct has not met this standard to date."
Meanwhile, ProgressVA Executive Director Anna Scholl applauded the board's decision.
"Our democracy is strongest when every citizen participates," Scholl said in a statement. "With more than 2 million eligible Virginians unregistered, the work of organizations like the Voter Participation Center is essential to ensuring every eligible voter has the opportunity to make their voice heard at the ballot box."
Information from: Richmond Times-Dispatch, http://www.timesdispatch.com
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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