10/16/08

No ACORN, no fraud

More ACORN stories: here

County voters relieved by union-backed fraud group's absence

Local elections officials say the advocacy group in ACORN did not register voters in Butler County and they have no indication of voter fraud this year, though the state GOP still has its concerns.

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now has attracted criticism and lawsuits across Ohio and the nation. The group is accused of registering ineligible voters.

A conservative research group sued in Warren County Common Pleas Court Tuesday, Oct. 14, for the group to be dissolved on behalf of two voters there.

"There's nothing to indicate to us that we have any fraudulent registrations (in Butler County)," said Tippi Slaughter, a representative with the Butler County Board of Elections. She said ACORN had no presence here.

She said the county has checked its database of roughly 261,000 registered voters for duplicate information, looking for people who registered more than once. The few dozen instances they found were errors, not intentional fraud, she said.

"It could be a data entry error it could be they moved from another county into this county ... or (a) person who changed their name, like a woman who got married," Slaughter said.

But this doesn't protect against new registrations using unique but false information.

The county has not checked all new registered voters against the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles or Social Security Administration to make sure registered voters actually exist. Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner said her office does this, but doesn't communicate the results to local boards of election.

The U.S. Court of Appeals sided Tuesday with the Ohio Republican party and is requiring Brunner to make a list of all questionable registrations available to election boards by Friday, Oct. 17. There could be 200,000 such registrations statewide, Brunner's office said.

Brunner has expressed concerns this could disenfranchise voters because of database errors and has released guidelines on how elections boards may determine voter eligibility.

The Ohio GOP applauds the court's decision but still worries Brunner is playing politics with the election system, according to state Republican Party spokesman John McClelland.

"There's still the problem of the secretary of state who has been turning a blind eye toward this activity and shown a disturbing pattern of ignoring what these groups have been doing and at the same time engaging in her own partisan activity to tilt the playing field for Barack Obama and for the Democratic party," Mclelland said.

Slaughter said the county has received a request from the Ohio Republican party for a list of all 6,036 registrations received between Sept. 30 and Oct. 7 and the 549 people who voted that week.

John McClelland said the information is being collected from all of Ohio's 88 counties for "historical" reasons.

"If the question here is whether or not we're going to be challenging — no, that's was not our intent," he said. "It's really for more of a historical nature than anything."

(middletownjournal.com)

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