9/24/08

ACORN fouls youth vote in NM, probe slated

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Union-backed ACORN accused of illegally registering voters on campus

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now is under pressure from the UNM College Democrats and Republicans alike for allegedly registering voters illegally.

According to an article in the Albuquerque Journal on Sept. 17, the Bernalillo County Clerk's Office notified prosecutors in state and federal law enforcement agencies that it had received fraudulent registration cards from ACORN.

An investigation of the methods used by ACORN to register students and community members will begin once the prosecutors decide who will take the lead.

Matthew Henderson, ACORN's head organizer for New Mexico, said he has not heard from prosecutors.

"I have not heard any charges against ACORN," Henderson said. "ACORN has registered over 75,000 people in New Mexico since January, and we run very closely with the County Clerk's Office procedures."

Sean DeBuck, a member of NMPIRG, which also registers students to vote, said there are a lot of guidelines to follow in the process, but they are relatively simple.

"There are rules that are set in place that have to do with time restraints, but when it comes to fraud, those rules are pretty hard to mess up," he said.

Lee Drake, president of the College Democrats, said ACORN has been active on college campuses around the country.

"ACORN is a group that is nonpartisan and contracts out to groups that want to do mass voter registrations," he said.

Drake said he has heard complaints from many people who have dealt with members of ACORN.

"A lot of the reports that we get at College Democrats regarding ACORN's practices are dismal," Drake said. "There are some professors that are coming to me and saying that their children are being registered Republican without their child's consent."

Vicky Scheidler, a former worker for ACORN, said that although the company has the right idea, the people it hires do not always do what is best.

Drake said College Democrats have been working to have ACORN evicted from campus.

Debbie Morris, student activities director, said that because none of the complaints have been proven true, UNM will not remove ACORN from campus.

"All of the accusations are just accusations, and I have no legal ability to ask them to not be on campus, because everything is just alleged," she said.

Drake said the College Democrats and other student organizations have been helping students register to vote, and the faulty registrations through ACORN are a major setback.

"We students - either through College Democrats, NMPIRG or grassroots movements - have been registering student voters left and right, and we get the job done," Drake said. "There is no way to get a hold of the students who have been registered by ACORN and let them know that even though they think they will be able to vote, they may not be able to."

(media.www.dailylobo.com)

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