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February 14, 2013

Ex-campaign worker accepts plea in voter-fraud case

Mike Marshall resigned from former Jeffersonville mayor’s 2011 campaign after charges filed in Jennings Co.

VERNON — A North Vernon man who worked on a former Jeffersonville mayor’s re-election campaign in 2011 has agreed to plea guilty to three counts of vote fraud in Jennings County Circuit Court on charges related to a campaign there.

Michael L. Marshall, 60, will plead guilty to three offenses, all class D felonies. His attorney, Larry Wilder of Jeffersonville, will argue that those charges be reduced to class A misdemeanors.

The charges stem from an investigation of voter fraud issues regarding absentee ballots and applications submitted in Jennings County in 2010. The plea hearing is scheduled to be held in Jennings County Circuit Court on May 1. Sentencing is not a part of the plea agreement, and sentencing will be set by Circuit Court Judge Jon Webster.

The three charges Marshall has agreed to plea guilty to involve the improper execution of absentee ballot applications by Marshall, Wilder said.

“When we looked at the statutes as it relates to the procedures and as it relates to the process for securing an absentee ballot request, we believe that there is a strong likelihood that he has violated the terms of the law,” Wilder said. “He’s pleading guilty to three counts relating to his involvement in the effort to secure an absentee ballot on behalf of his brother, Robert Marshall; his son, Vernon Marshall; and his former roommate, Kevin Phelps.”

Marshall had faced 48 felony counts in Jennings County Circuit Court, including forgery and perjury, both class C felonies, and 23 counts of voter fraud, a class D felony.

Marshall was one of several people former Jeffersonville Mayor Tom Galligan thanked during his victory speech after winning the Democratic Party nomination for the mayoral race in 2011. Marshall was paid $52,710.23 by the Galligan campaign, according to a previous report in the News and Tribune.

“He was in charge of getting out the vote,” Galligan said in the Oct. 21, 2011 report.

Marshall resigned from Galligan’s campaign upon learning of the charges filed against him. Marshall does not face any charges relating to voter fraud in any other county, Wilder said.

The Clarksville Democrat Town Committee paid Marshall $15,000 for "advertising" in 2011, according to a campaign finance report. 

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