Milwaukee Election Commission says that criminal investigations could be initiated
against individuals who belong to a group called Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now aka ACORN, for trying to add dead, imprisoned or imaginary people to the voter rolls.
According to Sue Edman, the commission’s executive director, investigators are investigating 200-300 fraudulent voter registration cards that were supplied by members of ACORN.
In this case it was ACORN themselves that brought the problem to the attention of the commission. Even so, it is sparking up the debate about requiring photo ID at the voter booths for upcoming elections.
The ACORN effort is part of a massive voter registration drive aimed at the fall presidential election, which is expected to pit Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois against Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona.
ACORN is one of five groups, all from the liberal side of the political spectrum, that sent either paid workers or volunteers to be trained as deputy voter registrars to sign up Milwaukee voters for the fall elections. Although exact figures are not available, Edman said the ACORN workers outnumbered those from Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Obama’s campaign, the Service Employees International Union and the Community Voters Project of the Fund for the Public Interest.
Edman says in one case, "One woman called us to complain because her husband has been dead for 10 years and a voter registration was submitted."
In about 12 cases, deputy registrars paid by ACORN were “making people up or registering people that were still in prison,” said Carolyn Castore, ACORN’s state political director.
And in other cases, workers used the same address for numerous voters or used driver’s license numbers that did not fit the voters’ birth dates, Edman said. But most of the fraud involved submitting duplicate cards for voters who were already registered, and forging the voters’ signatures, Castore said.
After the trouble in 2004, certain state and federal reforms were enacted but not all have been implemented and in the 2004 presidential election Republicans expressed concern about "voters registered from non-existent Milwaukee addresses, and a Journal Sentinel review found about 1,200 votes were cast from invalid addresses."
Investigations were started and they spurned charges against people, some of which were felons that voted illegally.
2004 was not the only election which ACORN related voter fraud was investigated because in 2006
four members were indicted
by a federal grand jury for submitting false voter registration forms to the Kansas City, Missouri, election board.
ACORN works in at least 38 states and Canada and Mexico and are referred to as "shock troops for the AFL-CIO and even the Democratic Party".
One the most egregious examples
show that in 2006, when the federal probe started, seven different voter applications from the same person dated between Aug. 29 and Aug. 31 were found.
In that case an ACORN member, Todd Elkins, said the applicant might have just been "overly friendly" and signed up seven times.
Another example was found when a 19-year-old woman had filed 11 applications to vote.
At that time, similar allegations were made in Pennsylvania, Ohio and Denver.
There has been litigation
arguing the need for Photo ID in elections in the states of Arizona, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio.
States That Request Photo ID are Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan and
The most recent case was the Supreme Court decision in April of 2008, upholding Indiana's voter ID laws.