Fictional characters and celebrities are registered in Ohio

DEFIANCE, Ohio — Elections officials knew something was wrong when they got voter registration cards for Mary Poppins, Dick Tracy, Michael Jordan and George Foreman.

They notified the Defiance County sheriff, who arrested Chad Staton on Monday on a felony charge of submitting phony voter registration forms. Investigators also were looking into allegations that a woman paid him cocaine in exchange for his efforts.

Staton, 22, had fraudulently filled out more than 100 voter registration forms, Sheriff David Westrick said.

“Staton was to be paid for each registration form that he could get citizens to fill out,” the sheriff said. “However, Staton himself filled out the registrations and returned them to the woman who hired him from Toledo.”

Staton was charged with false registration and was released without bond pending arraignment.

No other charges had been filed in the case as of yesterday, authorities said.

Officers said they interviewed a Toledo woman who claimed that she had paid Staton with cocaine for the registrations. Officers said they obtained a search warrant and took voter registrations and drug paraphernalia from her home.

The woman told investigators that she was recruited for the voter registration drive by Thaddeus Jackson, Ohio director of the NAACP’s National Voter Fund. Jackson could not be reached for comment yesterday.

According to Westrick, the NAACP’s National Voter Fund had submitted the false registrations to the elections board in Cleveland.

Greg Moore, executive director of the National Voter Fund, said yesterday that the group has no record of Staton working for them and took issue with being associated with the arrest.

Thousands of NAACP volunteers have legally registered more than 80,000 new voters in Ohio, he said.

“These volunteers and canvassers who have worked tirelessly to enfranchise the disenfranchised citizens of Ohio throughout the year should not have their work discredited by the alleged acts of others,” Moore said.

“We will not allow these allegations to disrupt our efforts to mobilize voters and ensure that their votes are counted on Election Day,” he said.