Allison Kilkenny: Unreported

It’s Down to One Week

Posted in Barack Obama by allisonkilkenny on October 28, 2008
Courts are packed with cases of people whose voter registrations aren’t on file for some reason.
By RICK KARLIN, Capitol bureau
A dramatic presidential race has prompted voter registration drives nationwide, and New York is no exception. Everyone expects long lines at the voting booth on Nov. 4

But first comes a different kind of crunch: Local courts already are seeing an influx of people who, for whatever reason, are not listed as registered voters and are petitioning a judge to be enrolled.

While county boards of election typically have judges available on Election Day to rule on such cases, voters this year are heading to court days or even weeks ahead of time.

In Saratoga County, they’ve even set aside mornings to settle registration disputes.

“We’re letting them come in from 8:30 a.m. to noon,” said Saratoga County Judge Jerry Scarano. “We think election day is going to be very busy.”

“They’re being swamped,” agreed Michael Guiry, a retiree who this year moved back to Edinburgh, in Saratoga County, from Florida to be near his family.

Guiry and his wife registered to vote when they got their New York driver’s licenses, but when Guiry applied for a hunting license a few weeks ago and double-checked his voter status, he wasn’t listed. So he drove to Saratoga for a hearing before Scarano, who put him on the voter rolls.

“We have to go after school,” said Jean Harsen of Kinderhook, who plans to take her 18-year-old son, Johnathan, to Columbia County Court this week.

Harsen said Johnathan registered at a booth set up by Barack Obama supporters at the Columbia County Fair, but the county Board of Elections never got his registration.

There are lots of reasons why registrations don’t show up: Sometimes they’re simply lost, or the people running the voting drives forget to turn them in.

“It’s incumbent upon the people who are doing these drives to bring these forms in,” said Geeta Cheddie, acting election commissioner in Columbia County.

She recounted several stories in which people claimed they had sent in registration cards, but after double-checking realized they hadn’t – or had misplaced the cards altogether.

Geddie said she wasn’t sure what happened with Harsen’s registration.

“The courts are always a recourse,” she said, adding that she’s already referred a few unregistered people to the courthouse in Hudson.

Nor is it the presidential race alone that’s sparking the increase in court visits.

The state Board of Elections last year put registration lists online so that voters can check their status. But even that good work has been complicated by the fact that the state board in Albany was swamped last month with thousands of mail-in registration cards that people printed out from the Web site of Rock the Vote, a nationwide campaign to boost voting by young people.

Normally, individuals register at their local county board of elections, since those are the official repositories for voter rolls. But Rock the Vote had people send registrations to the state, which is required to accept all received before the Oct. 15 deadline. The state office was then obliged to sort and send the cards to the individual counties.

“Every day we would send out a shipment to each county,” said state Board of Elections spokesman Bob Brehm.

The upshot was that registrations may have been in the mail, but they weren’t yet listed on the Web site – creating another reason for nervous voters to head for the courts.

Election lawyer Henry Berger said many voters are figuring they can avoid Election Day hassles by going to court in advance if they have doubts about their registration status.

“Some people are getting more sophisticated about this. They are going in early,” he said.

Rick Karlin can be reached at 454-5758 or rkarlin@timesunion.com

To check your voter registration status, visit the state Board of Elections Web site at http://www.elections.state.ny.us

50,000 voters purged in Georgia

Posted in politics by allisonkilkenny on October 27, 2008

 

From MCM
Here’s an item from CNN, on the GOP’s purge of 50,000 voters in Georgia–“some voters,” as the network puts it delicately.
I preface it with Ken Anderson’s email about the wording.
MCM
Mark,

This is an amazing display of media obfuscation of a large story coming out of Georgia.  Headlined as,

“Some voters ‘purged’ from voter rolls” a few paragraphs down, the reader learns what CNN means by “some”:
____________

From CNN:
Berry is one of more than 50,000 registered Georgia voters who have been “flagged” because of a computer mismatch in their personal identification information. At least 4,500 of those people are having their citizenship questioned and the burden is on them to prove eligibility to vote.

“What most people don’t know is that every year, elections officials strike millions of names from the voter rolls using processes that are secret, prone to error and vulnerable to manipulation,” said Wendy Weiser, an elections expert with New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice.

“That means that lots and lots of eligible voters could get knocked off the voter rolls without any notice and, in many cases, without any opportunity to correct it before Election Day.”

____________

I now know that the word “some” has a numerical value of 50,000.

Two weeks prior to the election, huge numbers of mismatches are of course occurring and citizens are now being told, not that they need to correct their registration, but that they are not actually US citizens and must prove citizenship.

Now, imagine how many are not receiving any notice at all.

Eight days until electoral meltdown, when the media will gloss over the national debacle and paint it all as a smooth day for the world’s greatest democracy.

Ken

BREAKING (CNN) – GA: 50,000 voters purged in early Oct (w/update)

by Verbalobe
Mon Oct 27, 2008 at 08:44:26 AM PDT
If I’m late to this party just let me know and I’ll delete.  CNN.com has a story up now about up to 50,000 new voters in Georgia having been been purged (even after being informed they were registered, and almost certainly most of them erroneously), with insufficient time to correct the mistake.  This is apparently in violation of Federal law.
There’s apparently a lawsuit on the books over this:

A lawsuit has been filed over Georgia’s mismatch system, and the state is also under fire for requestingSocial Security records for verification checks on about 2 million voters — more requests than any other state.

One of the lawyers involved in the lawsuit says Georgia is violating a federal law that prohibits widespread voter purges within 90 days of the election, arguing that the letters were sent out too close to the election date.

But the article isn’t clear on the status of the case.
This diary summarizes other states, actions taken, and recommendations, but doesn’t explicitly address Georgia.
More from CNN:

Georgia’s Secretary of State Karen Handel, a Republican who began working on purging voter rolls since she was elected in 2006, said that won’t happen. If there are errors, she said, there is still plenty of time to resolve the problems. iReport.com: Are you voting early?

Handel says she is not worried the verification process will prevent eligible voters from casting a ballot.

“In this state and all states, there’s a process to ensure that a voter who comes in — even if there’s a question about their status — that they will vote either provisional or challenge ballot, which is a paper ballot,” she said.

“So then the voter has ample opportunity to clarify any issues or address them,” Handel added. “And I think that’s a really important process.”

“This is about ensuring the integrity of our elections,” she said.

Interesting that these Republicans — whether they are outside the Secretary of State office (as in Ohio) or in charge of it (as in Georgia) all use the same talking points.
Meanwhile citizens like Kyla Berry mentioned in the story may not even GO to the polls, having been told they were purged.
An illegal purge, based on data (Social Security data) that is not supposed to be matched against except in extremis, performed during an illegal timeframe, targeting new voters which are overwhelmingly Democratic, resulting in a letter that tells them they are not registered to vote, arriving past the time provided for dispute or correction…
What can this possibly be other than…

Handel denied the efforts to verify the vote are suppression.

UPDATE 1:  To help calm those with exploding heads, hair torn out, tears of rage, etc., this from gchaucer2

All of these voter suppression tactics are being challenged vigorously right now.  Courts are addressing the suits on an expedited basis.  Lawyers from the private sector are stripping the reins from the DOJ which is doing nothing other than abetting supression.

It is impossible prior to the next Congress and Administration to pressure the DOJ to do its mandated duty.  There will be a purge at Justice and concerted effort to standardize registration requirements.

It is not too little too late.

And this from chimpy:

Maybe we can’t fix every case, but we can help fix a lot of them by funding and volunteering for Election Protection.

We can publicize every case of vote fraud (actual), and vote suppression. Spread the news, to let this year’s failed power-grab forever stain the Republican party’s character the same way Katrina, Iraq and overleveraged Wall St speculation have stained their philosophy.

And, we can push so hard this week that McCain and his party lose way beyond the margin of theft next Tuesday. Your co-worker will get his registration fixed sometime. What we do this week could determine whether or not there’s a Republic still functioning to use it in.

Also, CNN has updated the original article (linked above) with more national context (Wisconsin, Ohio) and more comment from anti-suppression voices.

Katherine Harris, Ken Blackwell, and now…Mike Coffman?

Posted in voter disenfranchisement by allisonkilkenny on October 26, 2008

What’s going on in Colorado? Colorado may be our 2008 Ohio.

New York Times

 

Colorado Faces Suit on Voter Purges

By DAN FROSCH

Published: October 24, 2008

A national voter group filed a lawsuit against Secretary of State Mike Coffmanalleging that as many as 30,000 voters had been purged from the rolls in Colorado. According to the Advancement Project, which filed the lawsuit in Federal District Court in Denver, Mr. Coffman, a Republican, illegally disqualified thousands of voters by removing them from voter rolls within 90 days of Election Day, which is prohibited by federal law. The lawsuit also alleges that a few thousand new voters were improperly disqualified because election officials did not follow federal guidelines in seeking to verify their home addresses. Instead, the new voters’ registration was canceled if a notice sent by election officials to their address was returned within 20 days, the Advancement Project says. The lawsuit seeks to reinstate those voters who have been illegally purged from the rolls. Richard Coolidge, a spokesman for the secretary of state’s office, would not comment on the lawsuit.

Politics West

Colo.’s Katherine Harris threatens ’08 election

Colorado, as anyone following the election campaign knows, is a major presidential battleground state. Both John McCain and Barack Obama have visited the state multiple times, including in recent/coming days. Though a new poll shows Obama taking a commanding 12-point lead, everyone expects both the presidential and U.S. Senate race here to be very close. That’s why the Secretary of State Mike Coffman’s (R) moves should worry everyone in Colorado and elsewhere. We’ve got our own Katherine Harris here – and a careful look at the news suggests he’s moving to game this election in a state that could be the Florida of 2008.

I say “careful look” because Coffman’s behavior – while outrageous and potentially election-throwing – has received coverage mostly in the back pages of local newspapers (and similarly little attention from the national media). But if you bother to dig down, you will see what I’m talking about – and it’s scary.

Here’s page 21 of Saturday’s Rocky Mountain News:

The story on the left describes Coffman’s efforts to invalidate roughly 5,000 registrations (depending on which source you ask). Here’s the crux of what’s going on:

“5,000 Coloradans whose voter status is in limbo because of [a] controversial check box…The registration form asks for a driver’s license or state ID number. If applicants don’t have that, they’re supposed to check a box and then put down at least the last four digits of their Social Security numbers. But thousands of people didn’t check the box. According to a policy adopted last year by Secretary of State Mike Coffman, these applications are supposed to be listed as incomplete…National and local voting-rights organizations criticize Coffman’s policy, saying it violates other federal laws. They say Coffman is unfairly putting up barriers for people who are eligible to vote and want him to change his policy.”

The check box is “controversial” because you are asked to check it on the form if you don’t “have” a driver’s license or ID card. Here’s what it looks like on the form (which you can download and see yourself here):

So, here’s the thing – what’s the definition of “have?” I may have one at my house or in my car, but not with me at the very moment I am filling out the registration form. In that case, it would be logical – and, in fact, honest – for me to not check that box, while also putting down the last four digits of my social security number as my selected method of verifying my registration. Alternately, for whatever reason (privacy, etc.), I may simply feel more comfortable listing the last 4 digits of my social security number, rather than my entire driver’s license number. So therefore, I might have listed my social security number and not checked the box.

And yet, if you made any of those logical choices – if you gave all the social security information required by law, but simply didn’t check the box – Coffman is attempting to use that choice to potentially invalidate your registration and prevent you from voting.

In case you think Coffman’s move isn’t extreme or motivated by partisanship, consider the fact that two big Republican counties are doing exactly the opposite of Coffman. As the Rocky Mountain News notes, “Election officials in Jefferson and Larimer counties also disagree with Coffman, saying they are weighing in on the side of the voter and won’t disqualify people because of what they call a technicality.” The Denver Post reports that Coffman reacted by sending a letter to other counties telling them they cannot follow suit, meaning two Republican counties are registering these voters, but others are not.

Thus, it isn’t surprising that the Rocky Mountain News notes that “the largest number [of registrations affected by Coffman’s edict] are Democrats, followed closely by unaffiliated voters,” and “hundreds live in predominately minority neighborhoods in Denver and Aurora” (ie. traditionally Democratic constituencies).

Remember, Coffman is an up-and-coming Republican “star” – he’s simultaneously Secretary of State and running to replace Colorado U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R). So he’s not some nonpartisan election observer – as I said before, he’s positioning himself to be Katherine Harris, who also went on to use her notoriety as an election thief to win a seat in Congress.

And Mike Coffman in particular understands that 5,000 Democratic votes is no small number in a place like Colorado. A 12,000 vote switch from Republican to Democrat in2006 would have cost him his election to the Secretary of State’s office. 

To be sure, there are going to be a lot of election-day shenanigans all over the country, much of it in the shadows. But what we’re seeing here in Colorado is a very public attempt to use Republican-controlled offices to potentially disenfranchise thousands and rig the election. Indeed, the Denver Post now reports that Coffman has asked his fellow Republican crony, state Attorney General John Suthers (R), to validate his moves with an official legal opinion so as to trip up potential pre- and post-election legal challenges to the disenfranchisement. This isn’t a conspiracy theory – it’s happening all right out in the open for everyone to see.

It all adds up to the kind of coordinated Republican scheme we’ve seen in the last two elections. And once again, that scheme could throw a national election.

And the Saga of Missing Ballots:

By John Gideon

In a stunning admission Sequoia Voting Systems has admitted to not printing and mailing over 11,000 absentee ballots to Denver, Colorado voters. Their spokeswoman claimed they “made an unfortunate mistake”. In fact, the company had failed to notify the city of this “mistake” and when originally asked they lied and told the city they had delivered all 21,450 ballots they were supposed to print and deliver  to the post office on Oct. 16. Sequoia claims they will have ballots printed and delivered to the post office by tomorrow, Monday. Voters have until election day to get those ballots marked and either back in the mail or delivered to any early polling site. Not mentioned by anyone is if any overseas voters or military are affected by this failure.

In Jefferson Co Arkansas voters will vote on ballots that don’t have some alderman races on them. The county discovered their error too late and they have now fixed it but all early voting has been done without those races being voted on by the voters. The county will just forget all of those voters and hope that none of the races are close which would open them up for potential lawsuits.

5 Steps To Protect Your Vote

Posted in Barack Obama, politics by allisonkilkenny on October 25, 2008

Here are 5 steps you should immediately take if you encounter harassment or other problems at the polls:

 

1) Video Your Vote If possible, plan ahead for any problems by bringing a video camera with you to Video the Vote. Then, spread it around (send it to us and we’ll help). Remember, the focus should be on gathering evidence and not telling stories. So, use video, audio, photographs, get names and phone numbers of witnesses, as well as voting machine serial numbers, names of poll workers, and document the time of day.

2) At the First Sign of a Problem, Stop* At the first sign of a problem with your machine (or if you have any other problem listed below), stop what you are doing and ask to speak to the supervisor (skip the poll worker) at your polling location. Explain your problem. If they try and waive you off, call your main election commission numberand ask to speak to the election commissioner until your problem is satisfactorily addressed. Keep in mind that many poll workers/supervisors will try and blame the voter aka “operator error.” Do not leave your polling place until your problem is well-documented and addressed to your complete satisfaction and, if the problem is with the machine, that the machine is quarantined. Oh, and you get to vote.

3) File a Report. File Several Reports. Your local polling place will have incident reports available to you. If they do not, call the main election commission for your county and ask for someone to bring one to you. Make sure that both you and the supervisor sign it. An example of a report is here (Hat tip: Wake Up and Save Your CountryVoters Guide). The U.S. Election Assistance Commission also lists on their website where you can find out how to file a report in! your state. Again, the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-Our-Vote can also help with any questions in this area.

4) Call the Election Protection Hotline Report you incident to the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-Our-Vote, especially if you feel you are being bullied or your incident is not being taken seriously. The ACLU has a hotline as well at 1-877-523-2792. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., and Greg Palast offer suggestions as well in their comic StealBackYourVote.org.

5) Pledge to Stand Up to Stolen Elections Go to NoMoreStolenElections.org and pledge to not concede until every vote is counted – and counted as cast.

Bush Orders DOJ to Probe Ohio Voter Registrations

Posted in Barack Obama, politics by allisonkilkenny on October 25, 2008

 

By Jason Leopold
The Public Record
Friday, October 24, 2008
President George W. Bush late Friday asked Attorney General Michael Mukasey to investigate whether 200,000 newly registered voters in the battleground state of Ohio would have to reconfirm their voter registration information, an issue the U.S. Supreme Court weighed in on last week.
The unprecedented intervention by the White House less than two weeks before the presidential election may result in at least 200,000 newly registered voters in Ohio not being able to vote on Election Day if they are forced to provide additional identification when they head to the polls.

House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, sent a letter to Bush Friday asking that he order the Department of Justice to probe the matter.

“I strongly urge you to direct Attorney General Mukasey and the Department of Justice to act.” Boehner said in his letter “Unless action is taken by the Department immediately, thousands, if not tens or hundreds of thousands of names whose information has not been verified through the [Help America Vote Act] procedures mandated by Congress will remain on the voter rolls during the November 4 election; and there is a significant risk if not a certainty, that unlawful votes will be cast and counted. Given the Election Day is less than two weeks away, immediate action by the Department is not only warranted, but also crucial.”
Independent studies also have shown that phony registrations rarely result in illegally cast ballots because there are so many other safeguards built into the system.

For instance, from October 2002 to September 2005, a total of 70 people were convicted for federal election related crimes, according to figures compiled by the New York Times last year. Only 18 of those were for ineligible voting.

In recent years, federal prosecutors reached similar conclusions despite pressure from the Bush administration to lodge “election fraud” charges against ACORN and other groups seen as bringing more Democratic voters into the democratic process.

Some of the Bush administration prosecutors who refused to seek these indictments were then fired in 2006 as part of a purge of nine U.S. Attorneys deemed not “loyal Bushies.”

This “prosecutor-gate” scandal led to the resignations of several senior White House and Justice Department officials, including Attorney General Alberto GonzalesPresident Bush then asserted broad executive privilege to block testimony by Karl Rove and other top White House officials.

In a statement on his website, Boehner said starting today, “Ohio elections officials will begin removing ballots cast during the state’s early voting period from their identifying envelopes, eliminating any possibility of catching fraudulently cast ballots.”

“Franklin County officials yesterday tossed out a dozen fraudulently cast absentee ballots, and the Hamilton County prosecutor has appointed an independent counsel to investigate more than 200 ballots on which the name or address does not match to state records,” Boehner said. “Prosecutor Joe Deters has asked that at least the questionable ballots remain in their identifying envelopes until voter registration information can be confirmed.”

President Bush contacted Mukasey late Friday, White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said, and requested he investigate. A report released earlier this month by the Justice Department’s inspector general said Bush “spoke with Attorney General Gonzales in October 2006 about their concerns over voter fraud.”

Federal investigative guidelines strongly discourage election-related probes before ballots are cast because of the likelihood that the inquiries will become politicized and might influence the election outcomes.

“In most cases, voters should not be interviewed, or other voter-related investigation done, until after the election is over,” according to the Justice Department’s guidelines for election offenses as revised in May 2007 during Gonzales’s tenure as Attorney General.

Even though those May 2007 guidelines watered down even stricter language in previous editions, the Gonzales-era rules still cautioned:

“Overt investigative steps may chill legitimate voting activities. They are also likely to be perceived by voters and candidates as an intrusion into the election. Indeed, the fact of a federal criminal investigation may itself become an issue in the election.”

In 2004, Ohio was the state where tens of thousands of votes cast on electronic voting machines intended for Sen. John Kerry, the 2004Democratic presidential candidate, were handed to Bush. Additionally, tens of thousands of voters were purged from voter registration rolls. Exit polls on election night 2004 showed Kerry leading Bush in many Ohio counties. Bush carried Ohio by 119,000 votes.

The Nov. 4 presidential election may very well boil down to Ohio if Mukasey’s DOJ gets involved.

At issue is a federal law that requires states to verify the eligibility of voters.

federal appeals court recently upheld a lower court ruling and ordered Ohio election officials to help counties set up a computer system to ensure the veracity of voter registrations.  

That would have required a total overhaul of the computer system just weeks before election and would have jeopardized as many as 200,000 voters, forcing them to cast provisional ballots that may go uncounted, Brunner said.

She said it was impossible to set up a new system or reprogram the existing one before the Nov. 4 election.

The appeals court ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed last month against Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Bruner, a Democrat, by the Ohio Republican Party. The lawsuit claimed voter registration information for hundreds of thousands of new voters did not match up with official government data, such as social security records and driver’s licenses, and was evidence of voter registration fraud. More than 600,000 people registered to vote in the state in this election cycle.

But in court filings, GOP officials did not provide documentary evidence to back up their claims.

The Ohio Republican Party argued that the 2002 Help America Vote Act (HAVA), a law that grew out of the disastrous 2000 election between Bush and Al Gore, required Brunner to share any voter registration discrepancies with county election boards so they can identify voter fraud prior to vote counts.

Republicans faulted Brunner for her “steadfast refusal to provide the HAVA “mismatch” data to the county boards of elections in a meaningful way.”

The Ohio GOP wanted Brunner to provide the lists of the newly registered voters whose voter registration information on did not match government records with 88 Ohio counties in an attempt to weed out voter registration fraud.

Republicans accused Brunner of violating federal election laws and that she was “actively working to conceal fraudulent activity.”

Brunner said the lawsuit was “politically motivated.” She said “misstated technical information or glitches in databases” was the explanation for some mismatched information on voter registration forms.

“Many of those discrepancies bear no relationship whatsoever to a voter’s eligibility to vote a regular, as opposed to a provisional, ballot,” Brunner said last week in a court filing. The mismatches “may well be used at the county level unnecessarily to challenge fully qualified voters and severely disrupt the voting process.”

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court took up the case and, in a two-page unanimous opinion, dismissed the lower court’s ruling on a technicality. The justices said lawsuits “brought by a private litigant” could not be used to enforce states to abide by federal laws.
“We express no opinion on the question whether HAVA is being properly implemented,” the unsigned opinion said.  

In a statement, Boehner said he wants Mukasey to intervene and enforce Brunner to comply with HAVA and verify votes.  

The Court ruled that the a private entity did not have the legal standing to enforce federal laws, leading Boehner to ask Attorney General Mukasey to compel Brunner to comply, which would mean providing access to a computerized statewide database, as required under HAVA,” Boehner’s statement says.   

Rick DavisSen. John McCain‘s campaign manager, said Brunner is seeking to “minimize the level of fairness and transparency in this election.”

Various polling data show McCain’s opponent, Sen. Barack Obama, leading in Ohio by five to seven percentage points.

But Republicans, perhaps fearing a Democratic victory, have called into question the integrity of hundreds of thousands new voter registrations.

One of the most notable targets is the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), a grassroots group that has registered hundreds of thousands of new voters this year. ACORN is reportedly under federal investigation for engaging in what Republicans believe is a nationwide voter registration fraud scheme.

Trying to salvage his campaign, John McCain has jumped into the ACORN case, too, citing it at the third presidential debate. He declared ACORN “is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.”

However, the investigations launched against ACORN – now including the reported involvement of the FBI – have raised other concerns, especially that Republicans are flogging this issue in an effort to stir up anger, to revive McCain’s campaign, and to intimidate new voters.

For its part, ACORN has insisted that its own quality control flagged many of the suspicious registration forms before they were submitted to state officials and that state laws often require outside registration groups to submit all forms regardless of obvious problems.

Don’t Let Anyone Stop You From Voting

Posted in Barack Obama, politics by allisonkilkenny on October 23, 2008

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Don’t Let Anyone Stop You From Voting“, posted with vodpod

If You Experience Harassment At The Polls

Posted in voter disenfranchisement by allisonkilkenny on October 23, 2008

Call 1-866-Our Vote and report it.

House GOP Leader Asks Bush to Cut Off ACORN Funds

Posted in ACORN, voter disenfranchisement by allisonkilkenny on October 22, 2008

 

It begins. Expect to see the GOP wage a full-blown war against ACORN, the last mobilizing force of poor minorities.

Yahoo News

WASHINGTON – House Republican leader John Boehner on Wednesday urged President Bush to block all federal funds to a grass-roots community group that has been accused of voter registrationfraud.

“It is evident that ACORN is incapable of using federal funds in a manner that is consistent with the law,” Boehner, R-Ohio, wrote Bush, saying that funds should be blocked until all federal investigations into the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now are completed.

ACORN, a group that has led liberal causes since it was formed in 1970, this year hired more than 13,000 part-time workers to sign up voters in minority and poor neighborhoods in 21 states. Some of the 1.3 million registration cards submitted to local election officials, using the names of cartoon characters or pro football players, were obviously phony, spurring GOP charges of widespread misconduct.

ACORN has said it was its own quality-control workers who first noticed problem registration cards, flagged them and submitted them to local election officials in every state that is now investigating them.

To commit fraud, a person would have to show up on Election Daywith identification bearing the fake name.

Local law enforcement agencies in about a dozen states are investigating fake registrations submitted by ACORN workers and theFBI is reviewing those cases.

Boehner said his office had determined that ACORN had received more than $31 million in direct federal funding since 1998. He said the group had likely received far more indirectly through federal block grants to states and localities. “Immediate action is necessary to ensure that no additional tax dollars are directed to ACORN while it is under investigation,” he wrote Bush.

Boehner said he and other Republicans were also asking the Justice Department to investigate ACORN’s connections to the home mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, saying ACORN “appears to have played a key role in the irresponsible schemes that led to the current financial meltdown.”

Republican presidential candidate John McCain has asked if ACORN, which he accused of perpetuating voter registration fraud, was “destroying the fabric of democracy.” ACORN and other advocacy groups have suggested that Republicans are exaggerating the issue to keep the underprivileged, who tend to vote Democratic, from casting ballots.

McCain Campaign Paid Republican Operative Accused of Voter Fraud

Posted in voter disenfranchisement by allisonkilkenny on October 22, 2008

 Oh, the irony. Accuse ACORN of voter fraud when you, yourself, have hired a shady operative to commit voter fraud on behalf of the GOP.

Hannah Strange
From Times Online
October 22, 2008  

Eating Your Votes Since 2004

Nathan Sproul: Eating Your Votes Since 2004

John McCain paid $175,000 of campaign money to a Republican operative accused of massive voter registration fraud in several states, it has emerged.

As the McCain camp attempts to tie Barack Obama to claims of registration irregularities by the activist group ACORN, campaign finance records detailing the payment to the firm of Nathan Sproul, investigated several times for fraud, threatens to derail that argument.

The documents show that a joint committee of the McCain-Palin campaign, the Republican National Committee and the California Republican Party, made the payment to Lincoln Strategy, of which Mr. Sproul is the managing partner, for the purposes of “voter registration.”

Mr. Sproul has been investigated on numerous occasions for preventing Democrats from voting, destroying registration forms and leading efforts to get Ralph Nader on ballots to leach the Democratic vote.

—–

In October last year, the House Judiciary Committee wrote to the Attorney General requesting answers regarding a number of allegations against Mr. Sproul’s firm, then known as Sproul and Associates. It referred to evidence that ahead of the 2004 national elections, the firm trained staff only to register Republican voters and destroyed any other registration cards, citing affidavits from former staff members and investigations by television news programmes.

One former worker testified that “fooling people was key to the job” and that “canvassers were told to act as if they were non-partisan, to hide that they were working for the RNC, especially if approached by the media,” according to the committee’s letter. It also cited reports from public libraries across the country that the firm had asked to set up voter registration tables claiming it was working on behalf of the non-partisan group America Votes, though in fact no such link existed.

Such activities “clearly suppress votes and violate the law,” wrote John Conyers, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. The letter suggested that the Judiciary Department had failed to take sufficient action on the allegations because of the politicization of the department under the then-attorney general, John Ashcroft.

The career of Mr. Sproul, a former leader of the Arizona Republican Party, is littered with accusations of foul play. In Minnesota in 2004, his firm was accused of sacking workers who submitted Democratic registration forms, while other canvassers were allegedly paid bonuses for registering Bush voters. There were similar charges in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Oregon and Nevada.

That year, Mr. Sproul’s firm was paid $8,359,161 by the Republican Party, according to a 2005 article in the Baltimore Chronicle, which claimed that this was far more than what had been reported to the Federal Elections Commission.

Mr. McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin have been linking allegations of registration fraud by ACORN, the community group, to theObama campaign.

ACORN has been accused of registering non-existent voters during its nationwide drive, with reports of cartoon characters such as Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse being signed up.

The organization insisted that these are isolated incidents carried out by a handful of workers who have since been dismissed.

However, the Republican nominee insists that the group is involved in fraudulent activities, noting that Mr. Obama, before leaving the legal profession to enter politics, was once part of a team which defended the organization. At last week’s debate, he said that ACORN was “perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history”, a claim which the Obama campaign says represents political smear.

The revelation of Mr. Sproul’s involvement with the McCain campaign – he has also donated $30,000 to the ticket and received at least another $37,000 directly from the RNC – could undermine his case.

“It should certainly take away from McCain’s argument,” Bob Grossfeld, an Arizona political consultant who has watched Mr. Sproul’s career closely, told the Huffington Post. “Without knowing anything of what is going on with ACORN, there is a clear history with Mr. Sproul either going over the line or sure as hell kicking dirt on it, and doing it for profit and usually fairly substantive profit.”

In May this year, both ACORN and Mr. Sproul were discussed at a hearing of the House subcommittee on commercial and administrative law. One Republican member, Congressman Chris Cannon, concluded: “The difference between ACORN and Sproul is that ACORN doesn’t throw away or change registration documents after they have been filled out.”

Update: NY Voters Being Reported As “Inactive”

Posted in civil rights, voter disenfranchisement by allisonkilkenny on October 22, 2008

 

From MCM
Dear Mark and Bo,

I am an NYU graduate, a magazine reporter and someone who just found out last week I was “Inactive.”

I’ve been reading your work, Mark, and also that of Naomi Wolf, who speaks very highly of you in her latest book Give Me Liberty.

I just wanted to thank you both for sending this email out to people. Unfortunately, it is too late to change your status UNLESS you can get someone at your borough’s board of elections to send you a new “confirmation notice” in the mail – this confirmation notice, once sent out, automatically moves one from the “inactive” to the “active” status.

I know because I got someone to do it for me last week. I had contacted the ACLU’s voting rights project (Neil Bradley, who I’ve cc’d on this email) and also Election Protection dot org, in DC, and had a list of the laws ready to read to whomever at the voting office was unlucky enough to answer my phone call. Basically I badgered them for two days until they moved my name.

I URGE everyone who finds out they are “inactive” to call, call, call their borough’s board of elections, where they were last registered, and beg them to do whatever they can.

I can provide more information on the specific laws I cited when I talked to them, if you’re interested.

Regards,


Melody S. Wells
PEOPLE Magazine
Reporter-Researcher