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Voter Registration Group ACORN Long a Target of GOP Operatives

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In the months leading up to the 2004 presidential election, Bernalillo County in New Mexico had been the target of a massive grassroots effort by ACORN to register voters.

The effort apparently paid off as registration rolls in the county increased by about 65,000 newly registered voters.

But Sheriff Darren White, who was New Mexico chairman of the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign, intended to challenge the integrity of some of the names on the voter registration rolls. Mary Herrera, the Bernalillo County clerk, told White that there were about 3,000 or so forms that were either incomplete or incorrectly filled out.

White seized upon the registration forms as evidence that ACORN submitted fraudulent registration forms and held a press conference along with other Republican officials in the county to call attention to the matter.

In testimony before the Senate committee earlier this year, former New Mexico U.S. Attorney David Iglesias said he formed an election fraud task force in September 2004 to probe claims of widespread voter fraud.

In an interview, Iglesias said he fully expected to uncover instances of voter fraud based on numerous stories that appeared in New Mexico media that said minors received voter registration forms and that "a large number" of voter registration forms turned up during the course of a drug raid.


"Due to the high volume of suspected criminal activity, I believed there to be a strong likelihood of uncovering prosecutable cases," Iglesias said. "I also reviewed the hard copy file from the last voter fraud case my office had prosecuted which dated back to 1992.

“My intention was to file prosecutions in order to send a message that voter fraud or election fraud would not be tolerated in the District of New Mexico."

"My announcement of a dedicated task force notwithstanding, the firebrands were still not placated," Iglesias, wrote. "I got an angry e-mail from Mickey Barnett, an attorney, who, like me, had worked on the Bush-Cheney campaign and who berated me for ‘appointing a task force to investigate voter fraud instead of bringing charges against suspects.’"

In his testimony before the Senate committee, Iglesias said the task force received about 108 complaints of alleged voter fraud through a hotline over the course of about eight weeks.

"Most of the complaints made to the hotline were clearly not prosecutable -- citizens would complain of their yard signs being removed from their property and de minimis matters like that," Iglesias testified before the Senate committee.

"Only one case of the over 100 referrals had potential. ACORN had employed a woman to register voters. The evidence showed she registered voters who did not have the legal right to vote. The law, 42 USC 1973 had the maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment and a $5,000 fine.

“After personally reviewing the FBI investigative report and speaking to the agent, the prosecutor I had assigned, Mr. [Rumaldo] Armijo, and conferring with [a Justice Department official] I was of the opinion that the case was not provable. I, therefore, did not authorize a prosecution.

“I have subsequently learned that the State of New Mexico did not file any criminal cases as a result of the" election fraud task force.

Iglesias said that Republican officials in his state were far less interested in election reforms and more intent on suppressing votes.

He recalled that the Justice Department issued a directive to every U.S. Attorney in the country to find and prosecute cases of voter fraud in their states during the height of hotly contested elections in 2002, 2004, and 2006, even though evidence of such abuses was extremely thin or non-existent.

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Jason Leopold is Deputy Managing Editor of Truthout.org and the founding editor of the online investigative news magazine The Public Record, http://www.pubrecord.org. He is the author of the National Bestseller, "News Junkie," a memoir. Visit (more...)
 

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Voter Registration Group ACORN Long a Target of GOP Operatives

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Please get it through your thick heads. There is n... by Archie on Thursday, Oct 9, 2008 at 12:36:27 PM
the GOP (with Rove and Connell) have been working ... by Susan Nelsen on Thursday, Oct 9, 2008 at 1:29:14 PM
ACORN is NOT an American organization merely devot... by UncleSim on Thursday, Oct 9, 2008 at 4:56:01 PM
UncleSim your right wing ideology is showing. How ... by Archie on Friday, Oct 10, 2008 at 12:10:40 AM
The Christian thing is to help one's neighbor ... by UncleSim on Friday, Oct 10, 2008 at 12:51:52 AM
site for a long time, since Ron Paul started runni... by Steven Leser on Friday, Oct 10, 2008 at 5:03:51 PM
Thank you!... by Archie on Friday, Oct 10, 2008 at 5:46:38 PM
I tried to find a definition for 'so called so... by UncleSim on Friday, Oct 10, 2008 at 6:10:49 PM
By those terms, I assume you mean justice, like ma... by UncleSim on Friday, Oct 10, 2008 at 6:06:40 PM
It may be a backwards kind of explanation but the ... by Archie on Saturday, Oct 11, 2008 at 10:28:17 PM
What study?  By whom?  How recently?&nbs... by UncleSim on Saturday, Oct 11, 2008 at 11:45:08 PM
The report on the various countries' banks was... by Archie on Monday, Oct 13, 2008 at 11:09:20 PM
I was looking over the Constitution the other day ... by Mad Jayhawk on Saturday, Oct 11, 2008 at 6:22:40 PM
Excuse me Mad but the Constitution certainly doesn... by Archie on Saturday, Oct 11, 2008 at 10:02:22 PM
The Constitution, I believe in the tenth Amendment... by UncleSim on Saturday, Oct 11, 2008 at 11:42:17 PM
Hey Archie,What does universal health care have to... by UncleSim on Sunday, Oct 12, 2008 at 12:02:51 AM
Perhaps but please read David Swanson's articl... by Archie on Monday, Oct 13, 2008 at 10:58:45 PM