Dem. Chair has absentee ballot supervisor reinstated despite election integrity concerns — She hired an actual “voter fraud” convict last year

Democrat Absentee Board Supervisor Pat Schafer

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — REAL News Michiana has learned St. Joseph County Democrat Party Chair Diana Hess fought to ensure her Absentee Board Supervisor was reinstated to her position despite numerous violations of ballot security. This comes after Republican St. Joseph County Clerk Amy Rolfes removed both the Democrat and Republican Supervisors for violating ballot security measures last week. It turns out, Hess hired a woman who had previously been convicted of voter fraud to work in the office last year.

In an emergency St. Joseph County Election Board hearing on Friday, the St. Joseph County GOP stood firm in upholding election integrity by requesting the GOP appointee submit her resignation and be reassigned. However, Hess did not do the same for longtime Democrat Absentee Ballot worker Pat Schafer, Demanding Schafer be reinstated to the position until another meeting scheduled for Monday afternoon.

St. Joseph County Clerk Amy Rolfes removed both of the Absentee Board Supervisors on October 18th from their supervisory roles for continually breaking security protocols and not correcting their actions. While Rolfes cannot unilaterally terminate their employment, she offered to move them into a different role where their actions would have little to no impact on the security of the November 7th election.

“The people of St. Joseph County elected me to ensure our elections are secure.” Rolfes told RNM. “The actions of the two supervisors clearly demonstrate a disregard for chain of custody issues. It’s why I do not want these two in a supervisory role, responsible for processing absentee ballots.”

Below is a timeline of the incidents.

October 12th:

According to documents obtained by RNM, Rolfes first reported three security issues involving the Absentee Board Supervisors on October 12th.

The first issue involved absentee ballots that had just been printed and were supposed to be mailed out to their respective voters. According to Rolfes, the supervisors left the ballots unattended in a work area, violating security protocols.

The second issue involved ballots that had been voted and returned by mail also being left unattended.

The third, and most disturbing issue, involves the Absentee Supervisors pre-signing early voting ballot security envelopes. The purpose of the envelope and the signatures is to ensure and confirm both a Democrat and Republican checked the voter’s ID and confirmed they were actually a registered voter.

October 16th:

On October 16th, Rolfes discovered the Absentee Supervisors were still pre-signing early voting ballot security envelopes. When confronted about the issue again, Democrat Supervisor Pat Schafer is accused of telling the Clerk “no voters even notice.”

October 17th:

Despite being told 4 times not to pre-sign ballot security envelopes, the Clerk discovered another stack of pre-signed envelopes.

The same day, the Clerk discovered absentee supervisors were storing stacks of returned absentee ballots in a filing cabinet and not in the secured and designated absentee ballot room. Approximately 50 returned ballots were discovered.


In an email obtained by RNM, Hess derides Republican Clerk Amy Rolfes for removing the two supervisors while completely ignoring the documented security issues.

“I am gravely concerned about this action.” Hess wrote. “These individuals should be reinstated until such a time the county election board meets and unanimously agrees to dismiss the individuals serving as absentee voter board members.”

According to Indiana statute, the County Election Board must vote unanimously to remove an Absentee Board Member. Due to this, Rolfes simply removed the two members from their supervisory roles and contacted the respective parties to hold an emergency meeting to remove the two supervisors permanently. It was at that meeting where Hess demanded her appointee be reinstated.


In September of last year, the St. Joseph County Democrat Party hired a woman who was convicted of actual voter fraud to work in the county’s absentee ballot office.

Beverly Shelton, a former employee of the St. Joseph County Voter Registration Office, is one of several Democrat deputies who were convicted in a voter fraud scheme stemming from the 2008 general election. The former St. Joseph County Democrat Party Chair, Butch Morgan, was also convicted of fraud in that case and was sentenced to prison for his part.

The absentee ballot office is staffed by employees who are hired by their respective parties to work for the county election system. Each major party hires their own workers to create a bipartisan work environment.

Shelton pled guilty to Forgery and Falsely Making a Petition in the scheme and was sentenced to probation. In that case, Shelton and several other Democrat deputies of the Voter Registration Office admitted to forging the signatures of several citizens for petitions to get Hillary Clinton onto the 2008 ballot.


Hess’ move to reinstate her appointee also comes just one year after a major election integrity controversy involving former County Clerk, Democrat Rita Glenn.

In May of last year, Republican officials discovered the existence of multiple keys to access what is supposed to be a secure location to store absentee ballots before they’re counted. The room in the County-City Building, in Downtown South Bend, is secured with two different locks, one for the Republicans the other for the Democrats. In theory, a Republican and Democrat keyholder must be present to gain access to the ballots. While Republican leadership was under the impression that only one key existed for each lock, it turns out there could be up to 7 keys total, with multiple Republican keys being held by Democrats.


The revelations came through simple confusion about when designated keyholders were supposed to be at the County-City Building to open the room. The Republican key holder was not immediately available to open the room, so Democrat St. Joseph County Circuit Court Clerk Rita Glenn grabbed what she called a “Master Key” and had what she claimed to be a “Republican” in her office open the door for her. That “Republican” is Helen Jojo. A quick search of her voting records show she has never voted in a Republican primary and is not considered to be a Republican by Indiana statute. In fact, the only primary she has voted in was in 2008 as a Democrat, according to voting records.

Former St. Joseph County GOP Chair Zach Potts brought up concerns about this “master key” during an Election Board meeting at the time. That’s where it was discovered even more keys existed.


At the meeting, Rita Glenn claimed three people, aside from her, have Republican keys.

  • Ben Horvath: Republican Election Board Chair — Voted in only Republican Primaries. Horvath is selected as the official key holder.
  • Penny Stratton: Election Clerk and Employee of the St. Joseph County Circuit Court — Voted in only Democrat Primaries.
  • Brian Davidson: St. Joseph County Buildings Engineer — Voted in Republican Primary in 2020, Democrat Primaries in 2019 and 2018.

Glenn also disclosed that there are three Democrat keys. Those keyholders are listed below.

  • Brian Davidson: St. Joseph County Buildings Engineer — Voted in Republican Primary in 2020, Democrat Primaries in 2019 and 2018.
  • Penny Stratton: Election Clerk and Employee of the St. Joseph County Circuit Court — Voted in only Democrat Primaries.
  • Rita Glenn: Democrat St. Joseph County Circuit Court Clerk


The intent of the law mandating the two lock system is to maintain election integrity. The law mandates there be Democrat lock with a key given to a Democrat keyholder and a separate lock with a key given to a Republican keyholder.

You can read the entire statute below:

IC 3-11-10-10 Absentee ballots to be kept under two locks in cabinets, boxes, or room; security of keys

     Sec. 10. During the period that absentee ballots are being received, each county election board shall keep the ballots in cabinets, boxes, or a room upon which there are two (2) locks, one (1) for each of the appointed members of the board. Each day the absentee ballots shall be placed in the cabinets, boxes, or room under the direction of the appointed members of the board. If an appointed member cannot be present each day, then that member shall designate someone from the member’s political party to be present with the key to the lock at the time the ballots are secured and at the time the lock is opened the next day. The key of each appointed member of the board shall be kept secure in the manner determined by that appointed member.


The discovery of the keys and surveillance video showing Glenn illegally entering the ballot room led to an investigation by the Indiana State Police. ISP released their findings in January of 2023, where investigators blatantly lied about what had occured.

The report issued by ISP appears to parrot the point that Glenn made regarding her attempt to seek out a Republican to open the door to the absentee ballot area in May of 2022.

As mentioned above, Glenn did not seek out a Republican. Glenn had a woman by the name of Helen Jojo open the door. A quick search of her voting records show Jojo would be considered a Democrat by Indiana Statute. Those records could have been checked and verified in a matter of minutes by Glenn herself in the same building in which she worked.

Legacy media outlets, like WNDU, ran defense for Glenn claiming Jojo “self identified” as a Republican, when it would have simply taken Glenn a few minutes to walk to the Voter Registration office to verify Jojo’s political affiliation and just a matter of seconds to call the office.

The Voter Registration Office and the Clerk’s Office have recently merged. While they were separate at the time of the incident, they still worked hand-in-hand to run St. Joseph County elections and in maintaining voter rolls — meaning Glenn was not ignorant of the laws regarding political affiliation or the process in which to verify that affiliation.

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  1. Interestingly, it appears to take the South Bend Tribune 18 online paragraphs to identify the Democrat who lost her job, but quickly discusses every Republican name involved prior to the reference.

    Since you can’t prove a negative, SBT also says no votes were affected instead of “found to be affected” etc…


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