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Saturday, October 10th, 2009

Deputies stop man leaving elections office with records

By William Kincaid
The husband of a fired Mercer County Elections Office staffer allegedly tried to leave the board of elections' office with voter registration documents that he had requested to view this week.
A 34-year-old Fort Recovery man was stopped by the Mercer County Sheriff's Department on Thursday morning while attempting to drive away from the Mercer County Court House with board records, according to a press release from Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey.
Grey would not disclose the suspect's name, as he has not been arrested, but two board of elections members said they were told that Matthew Fullenkamp, a current governing board member of the Mercer County Educational Service Center, had left the board of elections office on Thursday morning with the documents.  
At approximately 10:40 a.m., the sheriff's office was contacted by the Mercer County Board of Elections about a man leaving with documents, according to the release.
The suspect had made a public records request and advised election staff members that he just wanted to look over them.
When the staff became busy, the suspect left the office with the records, some of which were original documents, according to the sheriff's office release.
They included voter registration lists and retention schedules, the press release said.
"Quick thinking staff members contacted the sheriff's office, who located the subject with the records as he was attempting to drive away from the courthouse," the report says.
No arrest was made as of Friday afternoon, but the case was forwarded to Mercer County Prosecutor Andy Hinders for review and charges, if appropriate.
Possible charges may include tampering with records, a third-degree felony, and theft, a first-degree misdemeanor, the release states.
"They (elections staff) produced them the way they were supposed to - when they (the records and the suspect) went out the door, they called us right away," Grey told the newspaper on Friday afternoon. "We've got them all back."
Election registration records are public and may be viewed on request.
Grey said the incident was unusual for Mercer County.
When contacted, Elections Office Clerk Deb Sneddon said any official comment would come from Hinders, who was out of the office on Friday afternoon.
Elections Office Director Michael Lamm echoed Sneddon's response, explaining he could not comment during a criminal investigation.
Fullenkamp, who is also running as a write-in candidate for a spot of the Fort Recovery Board of Education this November, is the husband of Denise Fullenkamp, the former deputy director of the Elections Office who was fired in August because of discrepancies made while canceling voter registrations.
The regular meeting of the Mercer County Board of Elections is scheduled for 9 a.m. Tuesday in the Elections Office on the first floor of the courthouse.
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