DATE: October 7, 2008
CONTACT: Bob Walsh
VOTER FRAUD INVESTIGATION RESULTS IN SEIZURE OF SUSPECTED FRAUDULENT VOTER REGISTRATION MATERIALS(Las Vegas, NV; October 7, 2008) -- Investigators from the office of Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller, assisted by investigators from the office of the Attorney General, served a search warrant today on the Las Vegas office of the Association for Community Reform Now (ACORN) as a result of an ongoing investigation into allegations of voter registration fraud. The warrant authorized the seizure of documents and records, including computer equipment, pertaining to ACORN’s “Project Vote” voter registration drive, and is the result of an ongoing investigation into suspected voter registration fraud. In the raid agents seized eight computer hard drives and approximately 20 boxes of documents. No one was in the ACORN office at the time of the raid, and no one was arrested.
Over the past year, ACORN has worked hard to help
over 80,000 people in Clark County register to vote.
Hundreds of canvassers and volunteers have worked for months talking to citizens from Nevada’s most disenfranchised communities and encouraging them to exercise their right to participate in our democracy. Their work has been tireless—they deserve a great deal of credit for spending days in the hot sun at public places from parks to community centers to shopping centers helping citizens complete voter registration applications. Most of the 80,000 registrations they have collected and turned in to election officials come from young people, low income people and minorities—the very people whose voices are too often left out of our electorate.
As part of our nonpartisan voter registration program, ACORN staff reviews every single application submitted by our canvassers. Special, dedicated staff makes up to three phone calls attempting to reach the voter listed on EVERY SINGLE CARD before they are turned in to verify the information. Our callers verify the information on the cards before turning them in to election officials to make sure that as many new voters as possible get on the rolls and to make sure that all of our voter registration workers are doing the high quality work they are trained to do.
While the vast majority of our voter registration canvassers do a great job, there have been several times over the past ten months that our Las Vegas Quality Control program has identified a canvasser who appears to have knowingly submitted a fake or duplicate application in order to pad his or her hours.
Anytime ACORN quality control staff has identified a suspicious application, we have separated that application out and flagged it for election officials. We turn any suspicious applications to election officials separately, along with a cover sheet identifying the nature of the problem and an offer to provide election officials with the information they would need to pursue an investigation or prosecution of the individual. (Note that civic organizations are required by law to turn over ANY signed voter registration applications even when they are known to have problems). We immediately dismiss any employees we suspect of submitting fraudulent registrations.
It was surprising that law enforcement officials appeared suddenly at our Las Vegas offices Tuesday, because ACORN and its attorneys have already been proactive in providing information about problematic cards and any employee suspected of misconduct. In July, ACORN staff and our attorney set up a meeting with Clark County elections officials and a representative of the Secretary of State’s office to urge them to take action on information ACORN had provided. Since then, and as recently as September 29^th , ACORN has provided officials with copies and—in some cases—second copies of many of the personnel records and the "problem card packages" and cover sheets with which we originally identified the problem cards.
c) PRESS RELEASE from Nevada Secretary of State
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: May 4, 2009
CONTACT: Edie Cartwright
(Las Vegas, NV; May 4, 2009) - Attorney General
Catherine Cortez Masto and Secretary of State Ross Miller today
announced the filing of criminal charges against the Association of
Community Organization for Reform Now Inc. (ACORN) and two of its
employees for compensating their employees to register voters based
upon a corporate mandated quote system.
The complaint includes 26 counts of Compensation for Registration of Voters, a Category E felony in violation of NRS 293.805 and 13 counts of Principle to the Crime of Compensation for Registration of Voters, also a Category E felony, in violation of NRS 293.805 and NRS 195.020.
“By structuring employment and compensation around a quota system, ACORN facilitated voter registration fraud in this state,” said Attorney General Masto. “Nevada will not tolerate violations of the law by individuals nor will it allow corporations to hide behind or place blame on their employees when its training manuals clearly detail, condone and, indeed, require, illegal acts in performing the job for the corporation.”
“It’s important to keep in mind that this was a case of registration fraud, not voter fraud,” said Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller. “The investigation and subsequent charges that have now been filed demonstrate the effectiveness of the safeguards in our system designed to prevent voter fraud. I’ve been clear from the outset of my administration that we would be aggressive in our pursuit and prosecution of any fraudulent activity that might threaten the integrity of our electoral process. This investigation is the direct result of our aggressive response to those safeguards.”
Throughout 2008, ACORN employed canvassers to register people to vote in Nevada. ACORN paid the canvassers a rate of between $8.00 and $9.00 per hour, but made continued employment, and therefore continued compensation, contingent upon the canvasser registering 20 voters per shift. Canvassers who failed to obtain 20 voter registration forms per shift were terminated. This policy was clearly outlined in the training materials the organization used to train new employees and confirmed by former employees of ACORN.
From July 27, 2008 through October 2, 2008, ACORN also provided additional compensation, in the form of a bonus program called “Blackjack” or “21+” that was based upon the total number of voters a person registered. Specifically, a canvasser who brought in 21 or more completed voter registration forms per shift would be paid a bonus of $5.00.
The Blackjack bonus program was created by employee Christopher Edwards, the Field Director for the Las Vegas office. ACORN timesheets indicate that corporate officers of ACORN were aware of the “Blackjack” bonus program and failed to take immediate action to terminate it. Amy Busefink was ACORN’s Deputy Regional Director who was aware of the “Blackjack” program and aided and abetted the scheme by approving Edwards’ bonus program.
The investigation into the scheme stemmed from a complaint filed with the Secretary of State’s office by Clark County Registrar of Voters, Harvard “Larry” Lomax. Lomax’ office had received a significant number of Voter Registration Application (VRA) forms that appeared to be fraudulent. These forms were identified by serial numbers on the applications as those issued to ACORN for the purpose of registering new voters.
Criminal charges were filed in Justice Court, Las Vegas Township, Clark County, Nevada.
d) NEWS from ACORN