What happens when forged signatures show up on documents? Forgery is the
act of creating, copying, or changing a signature or document for deceitful
purposes. Examples of forgery are signing a name to a check that is not
the person's own, falsifying documents, and copying art objects, amongst others.
What Was Forged?
Forgery claims were brought up in the recent Arizona state Senate race
between Toby Farmer and Don Shooter. Farmer is challenging Shooter in
the Republican primary challenge. Shooter called for an investigation
into Farmer's petition in response to this challenge and asked for
Farmer's disqualification from the primary.
In the United States, a primary challenge occurs when an already elected
official is challenged by a member of the same political party in an upcoming
election. When a primary challenge occurs, petitions must be gathered
to show that the challenger has a swell of support.
Shooter provided evidence that claimed seven signatures on two pages of
the petition were forgeries. Farmer had personally signed the back of
the petitions to indicate that he was the one that collected and was witness
to the signatures.
A handwriting expert was summoned and ruled that while the signatures were
forged, they did not match the handwriting of Farmer, meaning that he
was not the one that signed the forgeries.
What Was the Forgery Ruling?
The Arizona Supreme Court ruled that when forgeries show up on nominating
petitions, the candidate cannot immediately be held responsible unless
it can be proven that the candidate knew that the signatures were forged.
This means that even though a candidate may be the one that collected forgeries,
proving that the candidate knew of that signatures were forged becomes
even more difficult. If the candidate was proven aware of any forgeries,
they would forfeit the ability to run for office for five years.