Vote fraud in Nevada

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ACORN, 2008

Main article: ACORN

Criminal Trial Related to ACORN's 2008 Election Activities

Criminal Charges Filed Against ACORN, May 2009

In May 2009, ACORN and two of its officials, Christopher Edwards and Amy Busefink, were charged with criminal voter registration fraud in Nevada in connection with their activities leading up to the 2008 Presidential Election. [1] According to media reports, the investigation was completed by Nevada’s Democratic Secretary of State, Ross Miller, after a referral from the Clark County Registrar of Voters, Larry Lomax.

The investigation concluded that ACORN had submitted 91,002 voter registration forms in Clark County alone but that only 25.6% of those forms (23,186 forms) were related to valid persons who voted in the election.[2] ACORN was also charged with paying canvassers a “bonus” of $5 if they returned more than 21 complete forms.[3] According to Nevada's Democratic Secretary of State, such bonuses are illegal under Nevada law because, it encourages canvassers to submit fraudulent forms.[4]

Following these charges, ACORN accused Nevada's Democratic Secretary of State and the Democratic Attorney General, Catherine Cortez Masto, of “political grandstanding.” [5] According to another press report: “Catherine Cortez Masto, Nevada's Democratic Attorney General, told the Las Vegas Sun that Acorn itself is named in the criminal complaint. She says that Acorn's training manuals ‘clearly detail, condone and . . . require illegal acts,’ such as requiring its workers to meet strict voter-registration targets to keep their jobs.” [6] See also, Acorn criminal charges in Wisconsin in 2010.[7]

Guilty Plea by Former ACORN Employee, August 2009

On August 19, 2009, Christopher Edwards, one of the ACORN officials charged in May 2009, plead guilty to reduced charges and agreed to testify against ACORN and the other individual charged in the case.[8] According to Conrad Hafen, the state’s chief deputy attorney general, the case against ACORN threatens their ability to work in Nevada and could result in the loss of the Nevada group’s non-profit status. [9]

Former Employee Testifies Against ACORN in Criminal Trial, September 2009

Former ACORN field director Christopher Edwards testified in a trial in September 2009 that during the summer of 2008, he paid voter registration workers a $5 bonus if they turned in 21 or more voter registration cards in a day. Such bonuses are illegal under Nevada law, according to state prosecutors. A Nevada judge is considering whether Amy Busefink, who supervised Edwards in 2008, should stand trial on 13 felony charges of compensation for registration of voters. When Edwards testified, he told Justice of the Peace William D. Jansen that "No one in ACORN knew this was illegal."[10]


Voter Registration Fraud in 2004 Presidential Election

Background

Nevada was considered a swing state in the November 2, 2004 Presidential Election.[11][12] George W. Bush won Nevada, beating John Kerry, by just 21,500 votes. The margin of victory in Nevada was the third closest among the fifty states that year behind only New Mexico (5,988 vote margin) and Iowa (10,059 vote margin).[13]

Voter Registration Issues

In the lead up to the Presidential Election, the media reported a number of incidents involving voter registration fraud, including those involving the community group ACORN, in various parts of the country. In Nevada, fraudulent voter registration forms were so pervasive that in July of that year the Clark County Registrar of Voters, Larry Lomax, even referred the matter to the Federal Bureau of Investigation for criminal investigation but the FBI declined to investigate. [14] The Registrar of Voters subsequently turned the matter over to the Nevada Department of Investigations and even prompted President Bush to comment on his concerns about voter registration during a visit to Nevada in September of that year.[15]

Nevada Republican Party Voter Integrity Project

The Nevada Republican Party (NRP) concerned about the work of an organization hired by the Republican National Committee to work in Nevada but which was outside of the control of the NRP, reportedly implemented a voter registration quality control program.[16]

In the fall of 2004, in an attempt to avoid even the appearance of impropriety, the NRP implemented strict controls in its voter registration program to ensure the accuracy of the forms the NRP was collecting. NRP policy required that: (1) every single county voter registration form collected by NRP canvassers would be turned over to the Clark County Registrar of Voters; (2) voter registration form would be batched in groups of twenty (according to the state ID number on the bottom of each form) and signed out by canvassers so that if any forms were later questioned by state or county officials the NRP could establish a chain of custody for those forms; and (3) each form completed and returned to the NRP office would be inspected and any questionable forms would be flagged and brought to the attention of the Registrar of Voters when it was returned to his office.[17]

Unproven Allegation of Republican “Caging” in Nevada

Also that year, the NRP also randomly contacted newly registered voters to welcome them to Nevada and introduce them to the state, county and local Republican elected officials. When many of these welcome letters were returned as undeliverable, the NRP began accumulating a list of the undeliverable mail and turned that over to government officials. In the fall of 2004, an email that included a list of mail that was returned as undeliverable from Douglas County was forwarded by Chris Carr of the NRP to officials at the RNC and the Bush Cheney campaign (with email addresses ending with @georgewbush.com) but was also inadvertently sent to an outside email address (ending with @georgewbush.org). [18]

The later email address went to a “dummy website” set up by liberal political opponents of President Bush. It appears that this email, as well as all others sent to that site, fell into the hands of Bush campaign opponents. Many of those emails have since been made public. Some have suggested this email represents proof of an attempt by Republicans in 2004 to disenfranchise voters when they showed up to the polls; however, no claims of any actual voter disenfranchisement, or voter challenges, were made in Nevada in 2004. The absence of these claims seems to disprove any suggestions of wrongdoing by Republicans that year.


References

Template:Vote fraud by state