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Thursday, October 9, 2008

More ACORN Fraud Fallout

From the Las Vegas Review-Journal:

State authorities on Tuesday raided an organization that registers low-income people to vote, alleging that its canvassers falsified forms with bogus names, fake addresses or famous personalities. ...The secretary of state's office launched an investigation after noticing that names did not match addresses and that most members of the Dallas Cowboys appeared to be registering in Nevada to vote in November's general election. ..."Some of these (forms) were facially fraudulent; we basically had the starting lineup for the Dallas Cowboys," Secretary of State Ross Miller said. "Tony Romo is not registered to vote in Nevada. Anyone trying to pose as Terrell Owens won't be able to cast a ballot." ...Agents with the secretary of state and state attorney general offices served a search warrant on the headquarters of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, at 953 E. Sahara Ave. shortly after 9 a.m. They seized voter registration forms and computer databases to determine how many fake forms were submitted and identify employees who were responsible.....They also sought information regarding current and past employees and managers...."We don't know how many (falsified forms) are here; there may be two, or there may be thousands," said Bob Walsh, spokesman for the secretary of state's office. ...Registration fraud typically stems from workers striving to meet their daily quota of submitted voter forms, Miller said. ...Most organizations require their workers to sign up 20 voters a day. Fraudulent forms start filtering in when workers struggle to meet their quota and either fill in bogus names or accept documents with names that are clearly falsified, Miller said...In a statement released by ACORN on Tuesday, Interim Chief Organizer Bertha Lewis said the group based in Clark County routinely flagged suspect applications and notified the Clark County Election Department. The group provided state and county officials with the names of individuals who submitted the falsified registration forms. ...."Election officials routinely ignored this information and failed to act," Lewis said. "ACORN pleaded with them to take our concerns about fraudulent applications seriously.".......In late July, election officials requested copies of the same documents that previously had been handed over by ACORN, Lewis said. In September, ACORN received a subpoena requesting information on 15 employees, whose names already had been turned in to election officials by the organization...."Today's raid by the secretary of state's office is a stunt that serves no useful purpose other than to discredit our work registering Nevadans and distracting us from the important work ahead of getting every eligible voter to the polls," Lewis said. .....Miller said that is not the case. He said the state's investigation began before ACORN submitted the forms referred to in Lewis' statement. In early July, investigators began looking through ACORN's registration forms. One canvasser turned in 17 applications; only four addresses existed, the investigators alleged. ...According to an affidavit filed by the secretary of state, the canvasser was interviewed and told investigators that meeting the daily quota was difficult because it was hot outside and potential voters rejected her invitation to register....Other canvassers hired by ACORN were residents at the Casa Grande Transitional Housing Facility, a Nevada Department of Corrections institution that offers convicted felons an opportunity to take part in work-release programs. ..."It raises significant concerns that they hired prison inmates, some of whom have been convicted of identity theft," Miller said.....ACORN's field director in Nevada and the head of its voter registration effort, known as Project Vote, said the agency is cooperating fully with the investigation...."We're proud of what we did here," Chris Edwards said. "We've got nothing to hide."...Tuesday morning's raid came on a day when ACORN had been planning a news conference and potluck lunch to celebrate the culmination of its voter registration drive, which the group said resulted in 90,000 new registrants since February, and to launch a get-out-the-vote push for the election.

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