10/10/08

ACORN fraud investigation in Connecticut

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Unethical union-backed voter fraud group draws complaints

The State Elections Enforcement Commission is looking into a complaint alleging that a community advocacy group submitted fraudulent voter registration cards in Bridgeport.

Joseph Borges, Bridgeport's Republican registrar of voters, filed the complaint. He said he has found problems with numerous voter registration cards submitted by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, which works to register low-income people.

In one instance, he says a card was filled out for a 7-year-old girl, whose age was listed as 27 on the card.

ACORN filed more than 8,000 cards in Bridgeport. The complaint involves 10, but Borges said there were problems with many others.

The group, which said it has registered some 1.3 million voters nationwide this year, is facing similar allegations in several other states including Nevada, Wisconsin, North Carolina, New Mexico, Michigan, Ohio and Missouri.

ACORN works in low-income communities that trend Democratic. Republicans have used the reports of fraud to raise questions about the possibility of more widespread misdeeds and Election Day antics, such as using phony voter registrations to cast absentee ballots.

"This is a group that is knowingly and actively breaking the law across the country," said Sean Cairncross, the chief counsel for the Republican National Committee, which held a conference call Thursday to discuss the fraud allegations.

Republicans say there are also problems with about 600 cards filed by ACORN in Stamford. But Nancy Nicolescu, a spokeswoman with the enforcement commission, said the agency had not received a complaint about Stamford as of Thursday afternoon.

ACORN said the complaints are part of a coordinated effort by Republicans to discredit ACORN voter registration drives across the nation.

Emeline Bravo Blackwood, chairwoman of the East End ACORN chapter in Bridgeport, responded to the allegations in a written statement given to the Connecticut Post on Tuesday night.

"It is shameful," Blackwood said, "that partisan, right-wing operatives - who are clearly afraid of our ability to bring low-income people to the polls on Election Day - are more interested in slinging trumped-up allegations at ACORN than in working with us in our campaigns to stop foreclosures and predatory lending, win paid sick days, raise the minimum wage, and make sure that low-income, working families have a seat at the table in our democracy."

ACORN officials have said there workers are paid and evaluated based on how many registrations they turn in to the group.

(courant.com)

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