According to a lawsuit filed today in the Superior Court of Arizona, the candidate petitions filed with the Secretary of State’s office by Republican candidate for State Senate Toby Farmer, contained a large number of forged signatures.
Candidates are required to obtain signatures from registered voters in their district in order to qualify for the ballot. In Toby Farmer’s case, the petitions that he swore contained legitimate signatures actually contained large numbers of forged signatures. Exhibits to the lawsuit include sworn affidavits from the voters purported to have signed the petitions.
The petitions carrying the forged signatures were circulated by Toby Farmer himself. Farmer signed an affirmation on the back of each page containing forged signatures swearing that each name was signed in his presence.
The backgrounds of those whose identities were stolen ranged from senior citizens to college-aged kids. It is unclear at this time how or why they were targeted by Farmer’s campaign.
Farmer also forged signatures for voters who no longer lived in Arizona, but who were still on the voter rolls. In some cases he forged signatures where the homes listed were vacant and lender-owned.
The matter is expected to be heard in a week or so and the entire matter will also be turned over to law enforcement for prosecution. At least one signer also indicated a desire to press charges themselves.
This is just the latest ethical breach by Farmer in his campaigns for office, although it is admittedly the most serious. Farmer’s 2012 campaign for the State House of Representatives also ended early after his petition signatures were challenged. In that case, Farmer dropped out of the race the day he was due in court, thereby short-circuiting the process and ending the case. Farmer filed to run for the State House again in 2013 and abandoned that bid to run for State Senate instead. Farmer later claimed that his 2013 House run was his first campaign for office, until court documents from 2012 re-surfaced.
Ironically, Farmer’s campaign website lists his #1 priority as “Leading with Integrity”.