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Nevada investigates voter registration

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posted on Oct, 14 2004 @ 03:13 PM
CNN) -- Nevada election officials have launched an investigation into allegations that a Republican-led voter registration drive improperly disposed of forms it collected from potential Democratic voters.

Secretary of State Dean Heller said Wednesday that his office was reviewing the allegations, first raised Tuesday in a report by CNN affiliate KLAS-TV in Las Vegas.

"We are researching state and federal law to determine what violations may have occurred," Heller said in a statement. "If, in fact, the allegations are true and federal law has been broken, all efforts will be made to prosecute the individuals and/or the organization responsible."

The probe centers around a private voter registration firm, Voter Outreach of America, which collected registrations from voters in Nevada, a pivotal presidential battleground state. The company was set up by Sproul & Associates Inc., a Republican political consulting firm based in Phoenix, Arizona.

Under Nevada law, private canvassing efforts -- even those run by partisan groups -- must turn in all voter registration forms they collect, regardless of the party affiliation of those registering.

In the KLAS report, a former employee of Voter Outreach, Eric Russell, alleged that he saw a supervisor destroy forms collected from Democratic voters.

KLAS quoted Russell as saying that "we caught her taking Democrats out of my pile, handed them to her assistant, and he ripped them up right in front of us." CNN could not reach Russell for comment.

Heller said that if true, such actions "would be an incredible injustice to people who believe they have registered, only to find out later that their form was tossed away."

But Nathan Sproul, head of Sproul & Associates, disputed the allegations, saying that his company has a "zero tolerance" policy for such conduct and describing Russell as a "disgruntled former employee" who was fired a week ago.


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