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Man charged after tossing voter registration forms in Virginia

A 31-year-old man working for the Virginia Republican party was charged Friday with 13 counts of destruction of voter registration applications, disclosure of voter registration information, and obstruction of justice, a Virginia sheriff's office told The New York Times.

The man, Colin Small, was caught throwing out voter registration forms, Richmond, Va., the Rockingham County sheriff's office confirmed to CBS News.

According to CBS affiliate WTVR local man reportedly spotted Small throwing a bag into a Harrisonburg, Va., dumpster reserved for private use by the company at which he works, and investigated because he was annoyed that the man had improperly used the dumpster. He looked in the bag to discover eight filled-out registration forms.

The forms were discovered on October 15, the deadline for voter registration in Virginia. Local officials said the forms would be counted and that the incident did not appear to be widespread.

In a statement, the Sheriff's office said there was "no indication that this activity was widespread in our jurisdiction; it appears to be very limited in nature" but that "there is the possibility that additional charges may be filed in the future if it is deemed appropriate."

It was unclear whether the voters whose registrations were thrown out were Democrats or Republicans, because Virginia does not register by party.

Brian Moran, the chairman of the Democratic party of Virginia, called on Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and state authorities to investigate whether the recent incident could be tied to a larger effort of voter suppression.

"This individual was an employee of the first firm the Republican Party of Virginia hired to do voter registration before they fired that firm amidst allegations of fraud in other states. Virginians deserve answers as to how this person was still working for Republican campaigns here and whether his behavior was directed by his superiors or party officials," he said. "In order to assure Virginians that this was not part of a larger Republican effort, Attorney General Cuccinelli and state authorities must conduct a thorough investigation into how Virginia Republicans conduct their voter registration and turnout efforts on behalf of George Allen, Mitt Romney and Republicans across the state.

In a statement, Republican Party of Virginia chair Pat Mullins called Small's actions "a direct contradiction of both his training and explicit instructions given to him."

"We were alarmed by allegations recently made regarding an individual in Harrisonburg," he said. "The Republican Party of Virginia will not tolerate any action by any person that could threaten the integrity of our electoral process."

Mullins said Small was immediately fired and that the party was "grateful to the local sheriff's office and Registrar for acting so quickly to protect our democratic process and will fully cooperate with any requests made by them."

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