Wednesday, October 13, 2004

End run after end run

Voters' Outreach of America (aka America Votes*), a private voter registration compan, gets caught throwing out voter registration cards in Nevada.

Coincidentally, the trashed forms were filled out by Democrats.

Coincidentally, the company has been funded by...the RNC.

In plain speak, boys and girls, this is called a front group, operating a scam, defrauding the American people, to tamper with an election. And it smells really bad, and very familiar.

From KLAS-TV 8 News in Las Vegas:

Employees of a private voter registration company allege that hundreds, perhaps thousands of voters who may think they are registered will be rudely surprised on election day. The company claims hundreds of registration forms were thrown in the trash.

Anyone who has recently registered or re-registered to vote outside a mall or grocery store or even government building may be affected.

The I-Team has obtained information about an alleged widespread pattern of potential registration fraud aimed at democrats. Thee focus of the story is a private registration company called Voters Outreach of America, AKA America Votes.

The out-of-state firm has been in Las Vegas for the past few months, registering voters. It employed up to 300 part-time workers and collected hundreds of registrations per day, but former employees of the company say that Voters Outreach of America only wanted Republican registrations.

Two former workers say they personally witnessed company supervisors rip up and trash registration forms signed by Democrats.

"We caught her taking Democrats out of my pile, handed them to her assistant and he ripped them up right in front of us. I grabbed some of them out of the garbage and she tells her assisatnt to get those from me," said Eric Russell, former Voters Outreach employee.

Eric Russell managed to retrieve a pile of shredded paperwork including signed voter registration forms, all from Democrats. We took them to the Clark County Election Department and confirmed that they had not, in fact, been filed with the county as required by law.

So the people on those forms who think they will be able to vote on Election Day are sadly mistaken. We attempted to speak to Voters Outreach but found that its office has been rented out to someone else.

The landlord says Voters Outreach was evicted for non-payment of rent. Another source said the company has now moved on to Oregon where it is once again registering voters. It's unknown how many registrations may have been tossed out, but another ex-employee told Eyewitness News she had the same suspicions when she worked there.

It's going to take a while to sort all of this out, but the immediate concern for voters is to make sure you really are registered.

...The company has been largely, if not entirely funded, by the Republican National Committee. Similar complaints have been received in Reno where the registrar has asked the FBI to investigate.

Via King of Zembla.

This is not just Florida redux, it is also the 2002 New Hampshire phone-jamming debacle all over again. Sure the FBI may get called in, and some small to medium Republican fish may face some penalties. (And recycled as voting machine company execs? Or presidential appointments?) But, the investigations all seem to tie up AFTER the election results are officialized.

The GOP takes the slap, but they walk away with the election win. And they're trying to do it again this year. Damn.

I'll state again, for the record, that before we can move towards an open (read: non-polarized) society, we have to win the partisan battle to seize power, restore the checks and balances that have been systematically dismantled since Reagan, and enforce the law. The reality is, we are in a power war to control the future of this country. Get the cossacks out of the village and *then* plant new cabbages.

*Note, this is a separate entity from the Democratic 527 America Votes that is affiliated with America Coming Together.

However, this does seem to be the same Voters' Outreach of America whose director, Aaron "A.J." James, was hired as a contractor the ultra-conservative former executive director of the Arizona Republican Party and current head of the No Taxpayer Money For Politicians" initiative (a right-wing effort to ban candidates from receiving public financing), Nathan Sproul, to get as many signatures as possible for Ralph Nader in Arizona. For the full details, see the Arizona Independent Media Center article, Nader's Dubious Raiders in Arizona.

Cross posted to BOP News

  • There is speculation that Voters' Outreach of America deliberately misrepresented itself as Democratic 527 America Votes.
  • In Oregon, Secretary of State Bill Bradbury and Attorney General Hardy Myers have promised an investigation into the destruction of Oregon (Democratic) voter registration forms, that may be linked through a paid canvasser named Mike Johnson to Voters' Outreach of America. [Requires site registration.]
  • In Missouri, Neal Breitweiser, a low-level Republican operative from St. Louis, has submitted a petition to the the St. Louis County Board of Election Commissioners. He asks the board to investigate registration fraud he alleges has been commited by the Missouri Progressive Vote Coalition, America Coming Together, and Note that in Missouri no party affiliation is stated on the voter registration form, so the Republican accusation is bizarre as well as baseless.

    It looks like Republicans are trying the typical Rovian maneouver of covering their asses by attacking opponents for their own crimes. [Requires site registration.] In the "balanced, objective" coverage mandate of big media, the groundless allegations are highly likely to get equal news time as the actual stories from Nevada and now Oregon. The result: voters think both parties are corrupt, and fail to place culpability on the GOP. And which voters are most likely to stay home from the polls in disgust?--liberals. In other words, twice the voter suppression accomplished.

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