As early voting in Suttle recall continues, DA Klein asks for investigation into voter fraud
OMAHA, Nebraska: As early voting continued in the January 25, 2011 recall election of Jim Suttle, allegations surfaced that Omaha Forward, the group supporting the recall, may have crossed a legal line when they paid homeless people $5.00 for activities related to the election. It was reported by the Omaha World Herald that:
"A group funded by the mayor on Wednesday picked up and drove three busloads of people — many of them homeless — to the Douglas County Election Commissioner's Office in west Omaha.
Some of the homeless were paid $5 by Forward Omaha, the main group opposing the effort to recall the mayor — and a group that has Suttle's backing.One homeless man, Michael Sergeon, first told reporters he was paid $5 to vote. A few minutes later, Sergeon retracted his statement, saying he was paid $5 to hand out brochures for the campaign."
A spokesman for the Mayor Suttle Recall Committee said, "If they're taking people to the polls because there is a valid need, it's noble. But if they're taking advantage of vulnerable people and coaching them, that's wrong."
On January 13, 2011, Mayor Suttle's office issued a statement that said that combining transportation and recruitment,as Forward Omaha did, was an "error in judgment."
However, by the time the statement was issued, KETV NewsWatch 7 reported that Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine had asked the Nebraska State Patrol to investigate allegations of voter fraud that arose when it was learned that Forward Omaha had "bus[ed] homeless people to vote and then [paid] them to train as election workers."