Site Map
Voting News
Contact Us
About Us

is NOT!
associated with

Group sued over alleged disenfranchisement of felons


South Florida Sun-Sentinel  29 October 2004

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - (KRT) - If Jude Daniel tries to vote, poll workers won't be able to find him on the rolls, even though he filled out a voter registration form in August.

"It was important to me," said Daniel, a 19-year-old Miami resident. "It would have been my first time."

Instead, Daniel's voter registration form was one of 179 found in a box in the office of ACORN, or Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, according to lawyers representing him.

"They'd been sitting in the corner," said Mac Stuart, the convicted felon and former ACORN employee who turned the box over to his lawyers this week after he said a friend gave them to him. "That Miami office is in shambles."

ACORN was sued Friday by two lawyers in Fort Lauderdale for disenfranchising 11 South Florida residents, one from Broward and 10 from Miami-Dade County, by taking their completed voter registration forms and not turning them in. The lawsuit alleges that the registration drive was a subterfuge, the real motive being to gather signatures for the successful petition to get the minimum-wage increase on the ballot. It accuses the organization of illegally paying workers for each voter they registered and selling the names to a union-based group in Washington, D.C.

The case sets the stage for a possible challenge of the minimum wage ballot item, if it passes.

"These are first-time voters from the underclass, and they screwed them," said William Scherer Jr., a Republican operative and lawyer who filed the case with attorney Stuart Rosenfeldt. He said the residents are a mixed group politically, and all but one of them black.

The lawsuit comes on the heels of an announcement last week from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement that it has opened a statewide investigation of ACORN.

"So far the only group we've identified with certainty in north and South Florida as having connections to some of the voter fraud issues is ACORN," said FDLE spokesman Tom Berlinger in Tallahassee.

At least one other voter registration group has been publicly accused of fraudulently switching voters to Republican under a contract with the Republican National Committee in Florida college towns.

ACORN officials say their national, non-profit organization focused on low- to moderate-income people, and is the victim of a Republican attack.

"I think it's a grotesque misuse of taxpayer dollars ... when the FDLE targets an organization that registers what they believe will be Democratic voters," said ACORN attorney Faith Gay in Miami." ... It turns a law enforcement agency into a partisan arm of the Republican Party."

Berlinger said FDLE hasn't gotten far enough in its investigation - which he predicted will be "very, very painstaking and overwhelming" - to name any other groups, such as the California-based Arno Political Consultants hired by Republicans.

"We have no doubt that we will draw a connection with other groups," he said. " {ellipsis} It probably will involve thousands if not tens of thousands of possible problematic registrations."

He said FDLE is hearing of forged signatures, party switching by trickery, incomplete or fraudulent registrations and multiple registrations for one person.

Leon County elections supervisor Ion Sanchez said the 1993 Motor Voter law that opened up voter registration nationwide and allows groups like ACORN to sign up voters caused very few problems over the years. Mostly volunteers did the work. But with the passion behind the 2004 presidential election, money has poured into the state to get more people registered to vote. The law and its inadequacies are pushed to the limit. Workers are following their greed to warp the intent of the law, he said.

"When you poured huge sums of money with no safeguards," he said, "these companies themselves got ripped off."

Gay, a former federal prosecutor, said Stuart committed the election law violations ACORN is accused of. Stuart was fired by ACORN in August.

Scherer said he'll add more would-be voters to the case, as soon as they show up to vote and find out they can't.

"There's going to be a lot more people, I don't know how many hundreds, thousands, going to polls thinking they can vote but they can't because ACORN didn't register them."

Previous Page

Election Problem Log image
2004 to 2009


Accessibility Issues
Accessibility Issues

Cost Comparisons
Cost Comparisons

Flyers & Handouts

VotersUnite News Exclusives

Search by

Copyright © 2004-2010 VotersUnite!