Wednesday, October 15, 2008

An ACORN Falls in Michigan, Too

The wave of ACORN-lead voter registration fraud sweeping the nation has hit Michigan. While the story continues to develop, the state Attorney General has already filed charges against one former ACORN employee and local clerks struggle to keep up with the flood of fraudulent and duplicate forms.

From an article in today's Detroit News:
The head Michigan organizer for a community group accused of generating bogus voter registrations said Tuesday his group's policy is to send local clerks all voter registration applications they get -- even those they believe may be fraudulent.

"We have, on occasion, gotten (applications with names such as) Mickey Mouse or something that's ridiculous," but forward those registration application cards to local clerks as well, said David Lagstein of ACORN (Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now). "We just think it would be irresponsible not to send in every single card."

Lagstein made his comments amid widespread complaints from local clerks about duplicate and questionable voter registration applications submitted by ACORN and shortly before Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox announced forgery charges against a former ACORN worker in connection with voter registration applications the group submitted in the city of Jackson.
Local clerks in Michigan, who are completing a registration that will set a record for the number of qualified voters, complain they have been swamped with duplicate and questionable applications from ACORN and other third-party groups.

That has forced them to perform hundreds of hours of additional work to assure the integrity of Michigan's qualified voter file.

"For anyone to tell you that they would turn in Mickey Mouse, that's a terrible thing to say," said Southfield City Clerk Nancy Banks. "Shame on them."
Roseville City Clerk Richard Steenland said his office has been "barraged" with voter registrations through ACORN and many have raised red flags.

For example, he said, six applications were exactly the same.

"I'm looking at turning it over (to) the prosecutor's office," Steenland said.
As a former local clerk, I have first-hand experience with processing voter registration forms. These officials are not exaggerating the difficulty of receiving, processing and verifying huge numbers of forms - not to mention the frustration of handling many duplicate registrations.

Enough evidence of deliberate fraud has been found to charge at least one individual in Michigan:
Antonio Johnson, 23, a felon who is being held in Jackson County on a parole violation, is charged with six counts of forging a public document and faces up to 14 years on each count, Cox, a Republican, said in a news release.

Johnson was working for ACORN between May and June when he filled out, signed and submitted six voter registration applications, using two Jackson residents' names without their knowledge, Cox said.

"This is an obvious case of forgery and that is why I am taking action today," Cox said. "This office will not stand by while criminals interfere with the voting rights of Michigan citizens."
AG Cox warned Michigan residents about scams related to voter registration last month in a Consumer Alert issued by his office. The problem isn't exactly new, but this election cycle has seen a marked increase in incidents of apparent fraud nationwide. If large numbers of illegitimate voters gain access to our elections, it's fairly certain the rest of us won't like the outcome. All legitimate voters should be concerned about it.

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