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TBI investigating Anderson voting recall

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Chris Anderson. Times Free Press photo Chris Anderson. Times Free Press photo
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - The controversy surrounding the voting recall of Chattanooga City Councilman Chris Anderson isn't over. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is now looking into the recall as possible voter fraud.

After more than half of the signatures were deemed invalid, the Hamilton County District Attorney's Office wanted the TBI to look into any possible violations of the state's election code, according to Executive Assistant District Attorney Neal Pinkston.

Recall organizers, however, maintain that they weren't aware any of the signatures were fake.

"I'm the only one that knows what's going on with this recall. I'm the only one that knows what's going on in this community," said Gill Schropshire, who wouldn't say much about the voting recall on Tuesday.

The TBI is now looking into signatures on some of the petitions he started.
A TBI spokesperson confirmed the investigation involves allegations of voter fraud, centering around several hundred signatures that are possibly invalid or fraudulent. But the Alton Park resident said he's doing his own investigation into the recall.

"With the list we got from the election board, why was it wrong?" Schropshire asked.

More than half of the 3,600 signatures collected were deemed invalid by the Hamilton County Election Commission.

"There were suspicions with some of the petitions that there was an issue with the authenticity of some of the signatures," said Election Commissioner Kerry Steelman.

Steelman said the DA's Office requested copies of the petitions.

If signatures are fake, it could be a crime. The DA's Office request for TBI to investigate the voting recall was made on May 15.

Alton Park resident Mahood Abdullah initially signed the petition, and collected hundreds of signatures inside his grocery store.

"I was one of the main ones in it," said Abdullah. "I wanted [Anderson] out." But he said he's had a recent change of heart after meeting with the District 7 councilman.

"Because I see what he's trying to do with the community," Abdullah said. "Now as far as his sexual preference, that's his business.

Although Abdullah was one of the original organizers of the recall, he ripped a copy of the petition in half during his on-camera interview.

"As far as I'm concerned, I have nothing to do with a recall anymore," he said.

"Once it's all over with, once our investigation team gets through with it, we'll all know what the deal is. Because... that's all I need to say," said Schropshire.

When asked if he had any prior knowledge of fake signatures, he hesitated before replying, "I found that out through the media."

The District Attorney's Office has also notified State Coordinator of Elections, Mark Goins, of the situation.



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