Wednesday, 13 October 2004

Shocking Story: Voter Registrations Possibly Trashed

I was truly shocked at this story, at -
Voter Registrations Possibly Trashed, about "Voters Outreach of America, AKA America Votes", saying that "The company has been largely, if not entirely funded, by the Republican National Committee." That, if true, is just banana republic stuff.

It does completely make my jaw drop, that people's voting registration can possibly go through an unaccountable & possibly partisan group rather than an independent body of some kind - especially if you actually register as being of a particular party. This has always worried & puzzled me about that system, presumably based on the older English system which didn't have secret voting (an innovation from Australia in the nineteenth century).

Here are some extracts from the story:

Eyewitness News
Las Vegas, Nevada

George Knapp, Investigative Reporter
Voter Registrations Possibly Trashed
(Oct. 12, 2004) -- 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 ... Anyone who has recently registered or re-registered to vote outside a mall or grocery store or even government building may be affected ...

The 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 ...

[a former employee] 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 ...

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 ...

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.

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