HARRISONBURG — Three months after he dismissed all felony charges against a Pennsylvania man accused of throwing away completed voter registration forms in a trash bin in Harrisonburg last year, a Rockingham County judge dismissed the remaining misdemeanor charges Tuesday.
During the trial of Colin Small, 23, in Rockingham County General District Court, Judge Marvin Hillsman dismissed four misdemeanor counts of destroying voter registration forms. Prosecutors dropped a related misdemeanor obstruction of justice charge that also had been filed against Small, of Phoenixville, Pa.
On April 2, Hillsman dismissed eight felony charges of disclosing Social Security numbers in connection with the alleged dumping of the registration forms on Oct. 15, the last day to register to vote in the 2012 General Election.
During the April hearing, Hillsman ruled that the Social Security numbers on the forms were never disclosed saying, “disposal doesn’t equate to disclosure.”
Sheriff’s deputies arrested Small on Oct. 18.
At the time of the allegations, Small worked for Pinpoint, an independent contractor hired by the Republican Party of Virginia to conduct voter registration drives. He was fired after the allegations surfaced.
The investigation started Oct. 15 when the manager of Tuesday Morning, located on University Boulevard, noticed a man, later identified as Small, dump a white trash bag into a trash bin.
The manager retrieved the bag and found eight voter registration forms inside. He then called police.
Police never released a motive and Small has not commented on the case. But a source close to the investigation said it’s unlikely Small was part of any conspiracy to suppress the vote for one candidate over another. For one thing, Virginia registration forms, like the state itself, do not record party affiliation, so Small would not have known which candidates the voters listed on the discarded forms would have voted for. The source said Small likely missed the registration deadline to turn in the forms, panicked and tossed them in the trash bin.
Eligible voters whose registration forms had been discarded were given an extension to register to vote for the November election.