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Arrest warrants have been issued in Miami for 11 people suspected of falsifying information on hundreds of voter registration cards last year.
The FBI and state authorities were making arrests Wednesday. The workers being sought were hired to register voters by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN.
Prosecutors say they were first notified by ACORN about problems with workers in June 2008.
Republicans and conservative activists have accused ACORN of fraud in voter registration drives around the country. ACORN officials say the Florida case proves the orga
Democrats are split on how to deal with Acorn, the liberal "community organizing" group that deployed thousands of get-out-the-vote workers last election. State and city Democratic officials -- who've been contending with its many scandals -- are moving against it. Washington Democrats are still sweeping Acorn abuses under a rug.
On Monday, Nevada officials charged Acorn, its regional director and its Las Vegas field director with submitting thousands of fraudulent voter registration forms last year. Larry Lomax, the registrar of voters in Las Vegas, says he believes 48% of Acorns forms "are clearly fraudulent." On Thursday, prosecutors in Pittsburgh, Pa., also charged seven Acorn employees with filing hundreds of fraudulent voter registrations before last years general election.
Acorn spokesman Scott Levenson calls the Nevada criminal complaint "political grandstanding" and says that any problems were the actions of an unnamed "bad employee." But Catherine Cortez Masto, Nevadas Democratic Attorney General, told the Las Vegas Sun that Acorn itself is named in the criminal complaint. She says that Acorns training manuals "clearly detail, condone and . . . require illegal acts," such as requiring its workers to meet strict voter-registration targets to keep their jobs.
In Vote Fraud Case, Acorn Challenges a Law as Unconstitutional
By SEAN D. HAMILL
Published: July 22, 2009
PITTSBURGH — The community organizing and voter registration group Acorn filed a federal lawsuit here Wednesday claiming that a state statute that is being used to prosecute some of its former employees is unconstitutional.
The group, whose official name is the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, filed the lawsuit against the Allegheny County district attorney, Stephen Zappala, who is prosecuting the former Acorn employees, and the Pennsylvania attorney general, Tom Corbett, seeking to strike down the law.
Acorn hopes the lawsuit will prevent criminal prosecution of its local leaders and office, which have been under investigation by Mr. Zappalas office for eight months, said Witold Walczak, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, which is representing Acorn.
“They already charged the employees, and theyve hinted they might go after Acorn next,” said Mr. Walczak, who believes this is the first time such a law has been challenged in federal court.
ACORN Employee Admits to Voter Fraud...FEC Does Not
Last Updated: Fri, 08/21/2009 - 2:58pm
On August 18, a former ACORN official in Las Vegas pleaded guilty to voter registration fraud. Nevada law prohibits paying canvassers for registering voters, but Christopher Edwards, former field director for ACORN, admitted to being involved in "a scheme to pay canvassers who were told they had to register at least 20 voters a day to keep their jobs and an additional $5 for getting 21 or more." Edwards has agreed to testify against ACORN in return for a lighter sentence. This case raises several issues. In 2008, ACORN was frequently accused of voter fraud, but no one investigated the accusations very thoroughly. Now that ACORN employees are confirming that the allegations were at least partially true, it will be very interesting to see whether the Federal Government steps in and investigates.
ACORN, formally known as the Association of Community Organizations for Change Now, is one of hundreds of connected affiliates involved in community activism and voter registration, among other activities. While numerous complaints have been brought against them, the cases have largely been ignored or dismissed without thorough investigations. Accusations of voter fraud are particularly prevelant against ACORN and affiliates. Unfortunately, if we are waiting for the Federal Election Commission to investigate, it could be a very long time.
In 2006, people were already bringing complaints against ACORN for violating campaign laws. In Florida, Manuel Iglesias accused ACORN of engaging in "A Coordinated Campaign With The Express Purpose of Defeating Repubican Candidates for Federal Office and Supporting Democrat Candidate for Federal Office." Legally, ACORN is not allowed to participate in partisan campaign activity, but a campaign plan written by an ACORN employee entitled "Floridians for All" is certainly not partisan. The plans claimed initiative was to "defeat George W. Bush and other Republicans by increasing Democrat turnout in a close election...and...catalyze the construction of permanent progressive political infrastructure that will help redirect Florida politics in a more progressive, Democratic direction." The plan continues along this vein, stating that ACORNs aim is to "increase voter turnout of working class, mainly Democrat voters without increasing opposition turnout." With this evidence, one would think that the FEC had more than enough information to want to investigate. Instead, the FEC dismissed the case because when questioned, ACORN said that it was a draft and all the questionable material had been removed. Apparently, this statement was enough to settle the matter as far as the FEC was concerned.