10/8/08

Connecticut probes ACORN voter registrations

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

National epidemic of voter-fraud threatens to mar Obama victory

The State Elections Enforcement Commission has opened an investigation into allegations that a community activist organization submitted at least 10 false voter-registration cards in Bridgeport.

One of the phony registrations was for a 7-year-old girl in the Marina Village housing complex, whose age was listed as 27 on the voter card. Another registration came from a man who later said he couldn't have completed the voter card purported to be his, because he was in jail on the date of the document.

Joseph J. Borges, the city's Republican registrar of voters, filed the complain with state officials after months of local complaints on the tactics that ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, was regularly filing applications that were ruled ineligible.

In response, a Bridgeport leader of ACORN on Tuesday night called the charges "part of a concerted and coordinated campaign by conservatives and the GOP to attack and discredit ACORN." The charges date back to the summer, when the Connecticut Post reported that ACORN applications were flooding the registrar's office and resulting in excessive extra hours of research to check their authenticity.

"We have many more complaints," Borges said Tuesday, adding that the 10 are just highlights. He said he went to Marina Village personally and interviewed the 7-year-old.

"I talked with the guardian and said I was just trying to verify the name and the girl
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came down the stairs," Borges said, adding that the Social Security number was different and the youth was definitely not 27, as indicated on the voter card.

ACORN filed more than 8,000 voter cards in the city during its registration drive, but Borges said the piles of cards are riddled with duplicates and false information that was found by him and his staff.

Borges submitted evidence including the registration of a Stratford woman who said she was "pressured" into completing a card with a Bridgeport address. Another registration contained two voters registration forms with different signatures for the same person.

"We have three boxes of returned letters, with no such address, no such name," Borges said. "It's crazy."

On his complaint, Borges said the flood of ACORN-generated voter cards "has put a strain on my office and jeopardizes our ability to enter legitimate registration cards."

Nancy S. Nicolescu, director of communications for the SEEC, confirmed Tuesday that the commission took the complaint, but declined further comment.

"The only thing I think we can say we've received it, it's been docketed and it's under investigation," she said.

When the issue first broke over the summer, ACORN officials said that at least one employee was fired for trumping up voter registrations.

Emeline Bravo Blackwood, chairwoman of the East End ACORN chapter in Bridgeport, said in a statement Tuesday night that she is "proud" of the local and statewide drives that has registered 20,000 new state voter.

"It is shameful 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," she said.

(connpost.com)

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