Secretary of State looking into possible voter fraud
October 13, 2004
Nevada Secretary of State Dean Heller said Wednesday his office is looking into allegations of voter registration fraud reported this week in Nevada and Oregon.
In Las Vegas, a company called Voter Outreach of America was accused by a former employee of registering people to vote and then either throwing out or destroying the forms of those registering as Democrats.
“If true, this would be an incredible injustice to people who believe they have registered only to find out later that their form was tossed away,” said Heller.
He said people who are worried about their status as registered voters should immediately contact their county voter registrar to make sure their names appear on the roll of registered voters.
Heller said his office has asked for help from the U.S. Department of Justice.
“We are researching state and federal law to determine what violations may have occurred,” said Heller.
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In Oregon, officials have also opened an investigation, Secretary of State Bill Bradbury said Wednesday.
It was not clear whether any possible voter fraud in Oregon might be tied to similar allegations in Nevada, where a former employee of Voter Outreach of America, operated by Sproul & Associates, told reporters on Wednesday he had seen his boss shred eight to 10 Democratic registration forms.
Sproul denied any shredding occurred.
In Oregon, a paid-per-registration canvasser told a television station he had been instructed only to accept registrations from Republicans, and that he “might” destroy those from Democrats.
It was not immediately clear which group that canvasser was employed by.
Bradbury said the investigation would be based not only on the KGW-TV report, but also on other complaints that have not yet been made public. He wouldn’t give details on the other allegations, but said complaints have also come from outside the Portland metro area.
In Roseburg, Ore., County Clerk Barbara Nielsen said she had received a complaint from voters who said canvassers working for Sproul & Associates, a Chandler, Ariz.-based consulting firm, had tried to push them into registering as Republicans, saying otherwise the canvassers wouldn’t get paid for their efforts.
Additionally, Nielsen said she had gotten calls from voters who refused to give their names, but said that canvassers from the same group had implied that their cards wouldn’t be turned in if they registered as Democrats.
Sproul & Associates is run by Nathan Sproul, a former head of the Republican Party in Arizona who has subcontracted with the Republican National Committee to do voter outreach efforts.
A spokesman for the Republican National Committee issued a statement Wednesday that said its party has “a zero-tolerance policy for anything that smacks of impropriety in registering voters.”
In Oregon, it is a class-C felony, punishable by five years in jail or a $100,000 fine, to alter a voter registration form, or to throw one away.
Bradbury said the source of any problems may be linked to groups that pay canvassers per registration.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.