State Police investigating "not authentic" signatures collected by Suffolk city council campaign

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Posted at 10:52 AM, Jul 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-15 20:18:16-04

SUFFOLK, Va. - State Police are investigating signatures collected by the campaign of a candidate running for city council, according to the Commonwealth's Attorney.

Narendra Pleas told News 3 she had no other comment because it's a pending investigation.

The registrar for the city said some petition signatures collected by the campaign for Art Bredemeyer were found to be "not authentic" and directed further questions to the Commonwealth's Attorney.

Bredemeyer is a candidate for the Suffolk Borough Council seat and is running for the open seat against John Rector.

In order to run for city council in the city, candidates need 125 signatures of certified voters on a petition. The petition contains voters' names, signatures, full addresses, and the date they signed.

In a statement to News 3, Bredemeyer said the signatures appeared to be authentic to the campaign when collected, but he said he "strongly support[s] the investigation."

Bredemeyer says the signatures in question were collected by a consultant for just this part of the campaign.

"Because the individual is being investigated by law enforcement authorities and I want to avoid any possible interference, I do not want to give any further comment," he said.

Bredemeyer has unsuccessfully run for office twice before, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

News 3 spoke with four voters, including three on-camera, whom said their names are listed on the petition, but they did not sign it.

"I'm upset. I don't know what to say about it. We're surprised that it's on there and it shouldn't be," said Eric Sterling.

"I was surprised. I was really pretty angry and really disappointed to be honest," said Amy Jonak.

Two of Bredemeyer's neighbors are also listed on the petition, but Stephen Wheeler says neither he nor his wife signed it. They live just a few doors down from Bredemeyer, although Stephen's old address is listed on his entry.

"It's disappointing, but very typical of today's environment," said Wheeler.

The voters said they want answers on how their names wound up on the petition. "Whatever happens I hope people will figure out where the blame actually lies," said Jonak.