10/15/08 — No disputed voter registration from ACORN in Wayne

View Archive

No disputed voter registration from ACORN in Wayne

By Staff And Wire Reports
Published in News on October 15, 2008 1:46 PM

The North Carolina State Board of Elections is investigating voter registration forms submitted by a group whose efforts have led to similar probes in other states.

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now works to register low-income people as voters. ACORN claims to have registered 1.3 million people nationwide since 2007, including nearly 28,000 in North Carolina.

However, none have been from Wayne County.

The group pays its field workers to sign up new voters, and some forms may have used fake or duplicated information.

Durham County's elections office last month gave about 120 suspect forms to the state for investigation. Wake County's elections office sent in about 30 suspicious forms last week, but other counties, including Wayne, didn't report problems with forms from ACORN.

"We have been checking our voter registrations very carefully and we have not seen any that I know of," said county elections director Vickie Reed. "Here in Wayne County I have not seen any of those."

ACORN does not have a field office in Wayne County.

State elections director Gary Bartlett said ACORN has cooperated with the investigation into the questionable Durham forms.

Bartlett also said the problem in Durham County doesn't appear to be widespread and stems from one person trying to fill out enough forms to get paid. He said the board probably will send the case to prosecutors.

In North Carolina, ACORN had about 40 people a day working to register voters in Durham and Charlotte, said Pat McCoy, the group's state director. McCoy said the organization no longer imposes quotas on workers but does require them to show they are working steadily.

Durham elections director Mike Ashe said ACORN helped the county develop a system to trace problems.

"A lot of ACORN people just filled out the same name multiple times," so they would be paid, Ashe said. "One or two were getting information from the phone book."