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Signup Mistakes Blamed on Group
St. Petersburg Times (FL) | October 4, 2004 | Tom Zucco

Posted on 10/04/2004 5:31:41 AM PDT by Lightnin

Activist group blamed for voter roll goofs A group called ACORN is faulted for late or otherwise improper voter registrations in the Tampa Bay area, as well as several states. By TOM ZUCCO, Times Staff Writer Published October 4, 2004


ST. PETERSBURG - Ten seconds into the conversation, Jean Schuh got a sinking feeling. The woman on the phone wanted to verify information on the voter registration application she said Schuh's husband had filled out.

Schuh explained that her husband, who wasn't home that day in mid August, wouldn't have filled out an application because he's been registered and voting regularly since 1958.

The caller said no, she had Charles Schuh's registration form in front of her. "She gave the right address and phone number, but she said his birthday was Aug. 9, 1974," Jean Schuh recalled.

"I told her Charlie was born in 1936. He was on the St. Petersburg City Council in 1974. He's 68."

When Jean Schuh pressed further, the caller also said Schuh's husband had checked the boxes for "female" and "Republican."

"I assured her Charlie is neither," Schuh said. "And then I asked her who she was with.

"She said ACORN."

* * *

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now was founded in Arkansas in 1970 as a campaign to help welfare recipients attain their basic needs. The nonpartisan group bills itself as the nation's largest community organization of low- and moderate-income families, claiming more than 150,000 member families organized into 750 neighborhood chapters in more than 60 U.S. cities.

Its goals include better housing for first-time home buyers and tenants, and better public schools. The group lobbies, petitions, files lawsuits and stages demonstrations, usually on a relatively small scale.

ACORN scored a significant victory in Florida this year when it and other groups raised enough money and collected enough signatures to get on the Nov. 2 ballot a proposed constitutional amendment that would raise the state's minimum wage.

But at the local level, except for a few small rallies and protests, ACORN chapters in Tampa and St. Petersburg have drawn scant attention.

That changed in late August. More than 2,500 Pinellas County residents and another 1,500 Hillsborough residents who thought they had registered for the Aug. 31 primary were notified they couldn't vote because the groups that helped them register failed to turn in their applications on time.

The majority of the late registration forms, including more than 2,100 in Pinellas, came from ACORN.

Similar voter registration problems involving ACORN were reported this year in Fort Lauderdale, New Mexico, Colorado, Ohio and Illinois.

"This is a big deal," said Hillsborough Supervisor of Elections Buddy Johnson. "It's critical that people understand that they have to submit registrations on a timely basis."

Johnson called ACORN's actions "absolutely unacceptable" and said registering to vote through a political party or activist group is not as certain as dealing directly with the supervisor's office.

Brian Kettenring, state director for ACORN, said the problem involved ACORN managers hanging onto cards so they could verify information by phone.

Kettenring said his office has fired, demoted and retrained staff workers and is working with election supervisors to make sure this "never happens again."

* * *

On a recent morning at the 450-member Ybor City ACORN office, close to a dozen people were busy doing research on fair housing issues, out canvassing neighborhoods as part of a voter registration drive and training new staff members. On a large bulletin board near the front door was the message: How To Get To Minimum Wage Workers - hotels, mall, low-income housing, bus stations, day labor, welfare and vets office.

At the St. Petersburg ACORN chapter, head organizer Heather Partlow and field organizer Kevin Johnson prepared to go out to register voters and sign up new members. At the time, two teenage girls were the only other people in the office.

Members are charged monthly dues, from $10 to $30, depending on their ability to pay.

According to its Web site, ACORN is 80 percent self-sufficient, deriving its funds primarily from dues, raffles, ad sales, dinners and other events. The group also raises money through grants.

"This," said Partlow, who moved to Florida from Connecticut last year to head the 340-member chapter, "is an organization of poor people. And we're teaching our children ... to fight for change."

Part of that change, Partlow said, involves voter registration. And finding people who can do it.

Partlow said the St. Petersburg office has hired 300 to 400 people since last year to collect voter registrations. She acknowledged the turnover is high.

Workers range from high school students to older adults, and are paid $6.15 an hour, plus incentives. But the workers could lose their jobs if they don't turn in enough forms. "If they don't reach the standard in three or four days, they have to be terminated," Partlow said. "We ask for 15 to 20 cards a day for a six-hour shift."

Every registration card is checked. As a safeguard, workers must put an identification number on the forms. If the information turns out to be false, Partlow said, the worker could be fired.

But she acknowledged that sometimes bad information slips through.

About a week after Jean Schuh got a phone call from ACORN, Charles Schuh received a letter from the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Office saying it had received his application form "as part of a voter registration drive" and that the form was sent in too late to allow him to vote in the Aug. 31 primary.

As Charles Schuh later put it, "They picked the wrong person to mess with."

A St. Petersburg attorney, Schuh served six years on the City Council and was the city's mayor from 1975-77. Schuh tried unsuccessfully to contact ACORN, and then took the letter and his voter registration card to the supervisor of elections.

He was shown the ACORN application form. Much of the information was wrong.

"And that was certainly not my signature," Schuh said. "I told them it was a blatant case of voter fraud and forgery, and someone ought to be taken to task for that."

After correcting the error with the elections office, Schuh was able to vote in the primary.

"But how big a problem do we have here?" he asked. "When things like this happen, it further degrades the people's trust in the election process."

Partlow said the person who called Schuh was probably verifying the information. But she wasn't sure how Schuh's incorrect application still made it to the elections office, albeit late.

"We tell them (the workers) that they can be arrested for fraud if there are irregularities on the forms," Partlow said.

And those irregularities can be difficult to catch.

Deborah Clark, Pinellas elections supervisor, said the National Voter Registration Act "really tied our hands. Anybody can distribute registration applications and anybody can fill them out and send them in.

"We're seeing it more and more this year by the various groups, and we have no way of monitoring it," she said. "And ACORN is not the only group we have issues with."

On Friday, Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood warned that thousands of voters who registered with independent groups could be turned away from the polls in November because of improperly filled out forms.

ACORN claims to have registered more than 140,000 Florida voters for the 2004 election. But that's only part of its mission.

ACORN and other groups raised $1-million to pay signature gatherers to get Constitutional Amendment 5, a proposal to increase the state minimum wage by $1, to $6.15 an hour, on the Nov. 2 ballot. Most of the money raised came from labor unions and trial lawyers.

To get its half-million signatures, ACORN registered mostly poor and disaffected voters.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce, an opponent of the amendment, argues the measure would hurt the economy and the very people it's trying to help. Jobs will be lost, not gained, the organization said.

The chamber also pointed to a 1995 legal battle that pitted ACORN against California's minimum wage law. In that case, ACORN argued it should be exempted from the law because it was engaged in political advocacy and would be forced to hire fewer workers if it had to pay them the minimum wage.

The courts sided with the state and noted the irony of "an advocate for the poor seeking to justify starvation wages."

* * * It's 4 o'clock on a Tuesday afternoon when a tired white Ford van chugs to a stop next to a vacant lot at 10th Avenue and 40th Street S in the heart of St. Petersburg's Childs Park neighborhood. Partlow and Johnson gather their voter registration forms and other literature and step out into the heat.

The young man who answers the door across the street says his name is Maurice. When asked if he's registered to vote, the man says he's a convicted felon, and that he's applying to get his voting rights restored. Partlow and Johnson start talking about cleaning up the neighborhood, and Maurice invites them inside. A Chris Rock movie, Head of State, is playing on a wide-screen TV. Partlow has to nearly shout to be heard.

The vacant lot is usually littered with trash, Maurice says, and there are broken bottles by the curb where his children play.

"If the mayor lived next to that lot, you wouldn't see garbage piling up," Partlow says. "So why do we allow it in our neighborhood?"

"What am I supposed to do?" Maurice asks.

Johnson hands him an ACORN membership card. "Fill this out," he says.

"We're an organization fighting for improvements for your family and your neighborhood," Partlow says. "Can you see yourself being a part of that?"

"Yes," Maurice answers.

Partlow tells him about the dues. Maurice says his wife handles the money. Partlow tells him the dues can be automatically withdrawn from his checking account.

Maurice says he doesn't have one.

Partlow says he can still fill out the membership card.

"We have an action Thursday to get the city to clean up vacant lots," she says. "I hope to see you there."

Maurice says he'll try, and Partlow and Johnson move on to the next house.

[Last modified October 4, 2004, 02:50:31]

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; News/Current Events; Politics/Elections; US: Florida
KEYWORDS: absentee; acorn; act; ballot; electionfraud; leftwingfraud; newvoters; newvotersproject; soros; votefraud
When are we going to start prosecuting these left-wing vote stealers! Isn't this considered a federal felony?
1 posted on 10/04/2004 5:31:42 AM PDT by Lightnin
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To: Lightnin

ACORN is a really fringe leftist group. They're basically a welfare rights organization (you know, the people who think there's an inherent "right" to be a leech and who fight against any work requirements for welfare recipients). Not surprising to see them caught up in corruption.

2 posted on 10/04/2004 5:34:58 AM PDT by Numbers Guy
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To: Lightnin

Strange. Why would they have tried to disqualify a Dem voter by listing him as a female Republican?

3 posted on 10/04/2004 5:37:47 AM PDT by livius
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To: Lightnin

Is it possible this was a plan to disrupt the election here in Florida by filling out bogus registration forms in the name of REPUBLICAN regeistered voters in order to get them to be TURNED AWAY at the polls in November for not being properly registered????!!!

4 posted on 10/04/2004 5:41:55 AM PDT by Red Badger (If you shoot from the hip enough times, eventually you'll shoot yourself in the a$$......)
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To: Lightnin
Deborah Clark, Pinellas elections supervisor, said the National Voter Registration Act "really tied our hands. Anybody can distribute registration applications and anybody can fill them out and send them in.

We need to repeal this law.

5 posted on 10/04/2004 5:52:03 AM PDT by gitmo (Thanks, Mel. I needed that.)
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To: Red Badger

All the more reason to vote absentee ballot.

6 posted on 10/04/2004 5:58:32 AM PDT by Timeout (Proud, card-carrying member of JAMMIE NATION)
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To: Lightnin; All
Click the picture & goto "last" for the latest on Vote Fraud:

7 posted on 10/04/2004 6:02:14 AM PDT by backhoe (Just a Keyboard Cowboy, ridin' the Trackball into the Dawn of Information...)
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To: Lightnin
Look for this issue to grow in spades in the coming weeks. I have heard that all the voter forms filled out by ACT are also being rejected do to missing information. See we have a law in Fla. that says that the forms must be filled out completely or they are not processed. Today is the last day you can get your form processed in time for the election.

Plug your ears, the screams of voter fraud and disenfranchisement the Dims will be howling.
8 posted on 10/04/2004 6:04:55 AM PDT by 50 Cal (A Lawyer is nothing but a Politician in Larval Form!)
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To: livius
Why would they have tried to disqualify a Dem voter by listing him as a female Republican?

To either misplace blame or thinking it will not raise any alarms?

9 posted on 10/04/2004 6:06:04 AM PDT by eyespysomething (Idealism is fine, but as it approaches reality the cost becomes prohibitive.)
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To: Red Badger
Of course. And I would bet there will be many more of these.

Makes sense to create some credible "fraud victims" in advance to help drive the challenge if and when it is needed.

10 posted on 10/04/2004 6:24:40 AM PDT by There's millions of'em (Please give the mic to Terayza...)
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To: backhoe
Backhoe, I think you left this very important one off your list:
11 posted on 10/04/2004 6:27:22 AM PDT by yoe
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To: yoe

I'll add it now... for some reason, your link didn't work, but cut & paste did- anyhow, thanks, I will use it.

12 posted on 10/04/2004 6:30:43 AM PDT by backhoe (Just a Keyboard Cowboy, ridin' the Trackball into the Dawn of Information...)
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To: Lightnin

Link to the article here.

13 posted on 10/04/2004 6:48:34 AM PDT by Smartaleck
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To: Hiskid

Vote fraud ping.

14 posted on 10/04/2004 7:05:35 AM PDT by reformedliberal (When the elites speak their power to our truth, they have given us cause for revolution)
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To: livius; Numbers Guy; Lightnin; Red Badger

How Democrats Steal Elections - Top 10 Methods of Liberal Vote Fraud

1. Over-Voting. In Democrat strongholds like St. Louis, Philadelphia and Detroit, some precincts had 100% of their registered voters voting, with 99% of the ballots going to Gore. Clearly, multiple voting resulted in extra tallies for Gore in the 2000 election. (New York Post, 12/09/00).

2. Dead Voters. This classic Democratic method of vote fraud goes all the way back to 1960 in Chicago and Dallas. The 2000 election was no exception. In Miami-Dade County, for example, some of the 144 ineligible votes (those which officials actually admitted to) were cast by dead people, including a Haitian-American who's been deceased since 1977 (Miami-Herald, 12/24/00).

3. Mystery Voters. These "voters" cast votes anyway but are not even registered to vote. In heavily Democratic Broward County, for example, more than 400 ballots were cast by non-registered voters. (Miami-Herald 1/09/01)

4. Military ballots. Many of these votes were disqualified for the most mundane and trivial reasons. At least 1,527 valid military ballots were discarded in Florida by Democratic vote counters (Drudge Report, 11/19/00).

5. Criminals. Felons are a natural Democratic voter and they're protected on voter rolls across the country. In Florida at least 445 ex-convicts - including rapists and murderers -- voted illegally on November 7th. Nearly all of them were registered Democrats. (Miami-Herald 12/01/00)

6. Illegal aliens. These voters have long been a core liberal constituency, especially in California. In Orange County in 1996, Rep. Bob Dornan had his congressional seat stolen from him when thousands of illegal aliens voted for Loretta Sanchez (Christian Science Monitor, 9/2/97).

7. Vote-buying. Purchasing votes has long been a traditional scheme by Democrats, and not just with money. In the 2000 election in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Democratic workers initiate a "smokes-for-votes" campaign in which they paid dozens of homeless men with cigarettes if they cast ballots for Al Gore (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 11/14/00).

8. Phantom Voters. These voters don't really exist, but their ballots do. In the 1996 Lousiana Senate race, GOP candidate Woody Jenkins had the election stolen from him when he discovered that 7,454 actual votes were cast but had no paper trail to authenticate them (Behind the Headlines, F.R. Duplantier, 4/27/97).

9. Dimpled chads. Those infamous punch-cards were a ballot bonanza for Al Gore. Democratic poll workers in Palm Beach, Dade and Broward counties tampered and manipulated thousands of ineligible ballots and counted them for Gore, even though no clear vote could be discerned. ( 11/27, 12/22, 11/18, 11/19/00).

10. Absentee ballots. Normally it's assumed that Republicans benefit from absentee ballots. But in the case of Miami's 1997 mayoral election, hundreds of absentee ballots were made for sale or sent out to non-Miami residents. Fraud was so extensive in the race that the final results were overturned in court (FL Dept. of Law Enforcement Report, 1/5/98)."


Links on freerepublic:


15 posted on 10/14/2004 12:30:10 PM PDT by hripka (There are a lot of smart people out there in FReeperLand)
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