State finds no pattern in voter fraud, but FBI taking over case
October 28, 2004
While state investigators say there doesn’t appear to be an organized effort to falsify voter registration in Nevada, federal officials are looking into the case.
The issue was raised amid claims Voter Outreach of America threw out some of the voter registration forms its agents collected because the individuals registered as Democrats. When the charges surfaced in July, Secretary of State Dean Heller asked the state Investigations Division to look into it.
He said Investigations Chief Jerry Hafen has since informed him they have found “no evidence of an organized or concerted effort which would influence or impact the result of the elections in Clark County based on these allegations.”
But he said some individuals were forging documents with fictitious names for personal gain since they were being paid extra for each voter registered.
The charges, however, became a federal issue when similar allegations were made against Voter Outreach in Oregon. Voter Outreach of America is a private firm hired by the Republican Party to register new voters.
Since the allegations now involve more than one state, Heller said it is his understanding the FBI has taken the lead in the investigation.
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U.S. Attorney for Nevada Daniel Bogden of Las Vegas said his office has assigned an attorney to monitor Tuesday’s elections and handle any complaints of election fraud or voting-rights abuse in Nevada. He said a team of agents will be on duty Election Day to handle any complaints.
Bogden did not mention any ongoing investigation into allegations Voter Outreach employees destroyed registration forms of some who attempted to register as Democrats. Some voters came forward to say they registered Democrat, but later found out their registration forms were never turned in to the county clerk’s office.
Heller said he hopes anyone who isn’t sure his or her registration was turned in to the county clerk has since checked to make sure he or she is registered for this election.
“Like most Americans, I would be outraged to learn that any person or organization would stymie the most fundamental right of each and every American, to vote in a free and open election, and would move forward with the prosecution of any such person or group to the fullest extent of the law,” said Heller.
Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at email@example.com or 687-8750.