Sparks couple take vote battle to Nevada High Court
October 29, 2004
RENO – A Sparks couple who claim a Republican-backed voter drive lost or destroyed their Democratic registration forms have taken their case to the Nevada Supreme Court.
Four Reno lawyers filed the petition Thursday on behalf of Eric and Traci Amberson. The petition asks the court to allow the Ambersons and all others with voter registration receipts to be allowed to vote Tuesday.
The Ambersons’ receipts show their forms were among those assigned to Voter Outreach of America, which is operated by Republican-baked Sproul & Associates of Phoenix.
Sproul has been investigated by Nevada and Oregon state officials over allegations that workers destroyed voter registration forms from Democrats.
The company denies the charge but the FBI is investigating.
In a memo to Secretary of State Dean Heller, state investigators said Sproul and other voter registration drives might have been victims of employees who falsified hundreds of voter registration forms in order to be paid in Washoe and Clark counties.
Recommended Stories For You
Heller said the state investigation found no evidence of an organized or concerted effort to influence the election.
The Ambersons registered as Democrats on Oct. 2 with a canvasser outside a Wal-Mart store. After not receiving their sample ballots in the mail, they checked on their status Oct. 22 with the county election office and found they were not registered.
Washoe Registrar Dan Burk has said voters ultimately are responsible for turning in their voter registration forms.
In the emergency petition, lawyers for the couple argue the canvasser had set up a table in a public place with an American flag and a sign that said, “Register to Vote Here.”
“The lady sitting at the table with the flag and the sign represented herself as some sort of official voter registrar and assured them that if they filled out the forms, they would automatically be registered,” said Peter Chase Neumann, one lawyer representing the Ambersons.
“We took it to the Supreme Court, and we have gone as far as we can go,” Eric Amberson said.
“I’m doing this for my children. You stand on what you believe. If you are not willing, then you don’t amount to too much.”