U.S. attorney probes ACORN in Philadelphia

More ACORN stories: hereVoter-fraud stories: here

Union-backed voter fraud group promotes Obama, Dems

Nearly 8,000 applications turned in by a group tied to the Barack Obama campaign are problematic according to Philadelphia election officials. Approximately 1,500 have already been referred to the U.S. Attorney's office for investigation of possible voter registration fraud.

Philadelphia Deputy Election Commissioner Fred Voight told CNN, Oct. 14, that The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now's (ACORN) applications are problematic. The way the new applications are collected were possible causes of problems.

"We know that there are people who have not been able to meet their quota and are fired," Mr. Voight said. "The people who are doing this are homeless, recovering drug addicts, recovering alcoholics and are desperate for money."

According to Tim Dowling, election finance documents specialist of the Philadelphia Voter Registration Administration, ACORN turned in 78,376 voter applications from April 28, 2008 through Oct. 6, 2008. Of this number, 6,962 have been rejected to date.
This figure does not count duplicate applications, Mr. Dowling said. It has been estimated that 80,000 voter applications were duplicates, but this total was from all sources not just ACORN.

ACORN's voter registration activities have run afoul of the law in other parts of Pennsylvania. Last July 24, Dauphin County detectives offered a $2,000 reward for information about the whereabouts of Luis R. Torres-Serrano, an ACORN worker, who was accused of submitting more than 100 fraudulent voter registrations.

Delaware County authorities arrested a former ACORN employee Oct. 21 on felony theft and forgery charges for allegedly submitting dozens of phony voter-registration applications.

Jemar Barksdale, 34, of Chester, submitted 18 fraudulent forms using the names of existing voters, and 22 other applications in which the information was "completely fictitious," according to District Attorney G. Michael Green.

"Each of the purported applicants, upon interview, stated that the signature appearing on the application in his or her name was not, in fact, the signature of that person," Mr. Green said.

Krista Holub ACORN's political director for Pennsylvania downplayed this incident as being the actions of a rogue employee.

But this indictment is consistent with the pattern by ACORN workers in the rest of Pennsylvania and other states. The group has seen its workers convicted of voter registration fraud across the U.S.

Currently, lawyers for the state Republican Party are challenging what it sees as voter fraud by ACORN in front of Pennsylvania's Commonwealth Court. A hearing is slated for next week.

The state Republican Party seeks a list of 140,000 Pennsylvanians who ACORN has registered this year.

ACORN attorney Kathryn Simpson said there are adequate safeguards to prevent voter fraud. She said plaintiffs are trying to play the role of prosecutor before any crime is committed.

"There's no voter fraud," she said, in response to Republican claims her organization was engaging in fraudulent activities.  "There has been no election."

Five ACORN employees were convicted and imprisoned in Washington state, in 2007, for what was described by Washington's Secretary of State Sam Reed, as, "the worst case of election fraud in our state's history. It was an outrage."

Four part-time ACORN employees were indicted in Kansas City, Mo., for voter registration fraud in November 2006. Two Colorado ACORN workers were sentenced to community service, in January 2005, for submitting false voter registrations.


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