ACORN Statement Regarding Las Vegas Voter Registration
Over the past year, ACORN has worked hard to help over 80,000 people in Clark County register to vote.
Hundreds of canvassers and volunteers have worked for months talking to citizens from Nevada’s most disenfranchised communities and encouraging them to exercise their right to participate in our democracy. Their work has been tireless—they deserve a great deal of credit for spending days in the hot sun at public places from parks to community centers to shopping centers helping citizens complete voter registration applications. Most of the 80,000 registrations they have collected and turned in to election officials come from young people, low income people and minorities—the very people whose voices are too often left out of our electorate.
As part of our nonpartisan voter registration program, ACORN staff reviews every single application submitted by our canvassers. Special, dedicated staff makes up to three phone calls attempting to reach the voter listed on EVERY SINGLE CARD before they are turned in to verify the information. Our callers verify the information on the cards before turning them in to election officials to make sure that as many new voters as possible get on the rolls and to make sure that all of our voter registration workers are doing the high quality work they are trained to do.
While the vast majority of our voter registration canvassers do a great job, there have been several times over the past ten months that our Las Vegas Quality Control program has identified a canvasser who appears to have knowingly submitted a fake or duplicate application in order to pad his or her hours.
Anytime ACORN quality control staff has identified a suspicious application, we have separated that application out and flagged it for election officials. We turn any suspicious applications to election officials separately, along with a cover sheet identifying the nature of the problem and an offer to provide election officials with the information they would need to pursue an investigation or prosecution of the individual. (Note that civic organizations are required by law to turn over ANY signed voter registration applications even when they are known to have problems). We immediately dismiss any employees we suspect of submitting fraudulent registrations.
It was surprising that law enforcement officials appeared suddenly at our Las Vegas offices yesterday, because ACORN and its attorneys have already been proactive in providing information about problematic cards and any employee suspected of misconduct. In July, ACORN staff and our attorney set up a meeting with Clark County elections officials and a representative of the Secretary of State’s office to urge them to take action on information ACORN had provided. Since then, and as recently as September 29^th , ACORN has provided officials with copies and—in some cases—second copies of many of the personnel records and the “problem card packages” and cover sheets with which we originally identified the problem cards.
ACORN is a community organization dedicated to making everyone’s voice count in the vital public policy debates in our country. Helping citizens become active voters is a crucial part of our work to help build a fairer and more inclusive democracy. We will continue with this important work by encouraging every eligible voter to the polls this November.
ACORN Voter Registration Performance Verification Procedures
I. Hiring Voter Registration Canvassers
1. Voter Registration Workers (Canvassers) are generally hired from the community where ACORN is conducting the drive.
2. Canvassers are hired to work set hour shifts and are paid based on the number of shifts they work, not on the number of applications they collect.
1. Canvassers complete an in house training program on voter registration procedures and laws.
2. Canvassers are instructed on ACORN’s procedures and the consequences for failing to follow them.
3. Canvassers sign an anti fraud statement acknowledging they understand what is considered fraud in the jurisdiction.
III. Ongoing Training
1. Canvassers participate in roll plays and discuss potential scenarios that could occur in the course of their registration activities, along with other issues relevant to collecting valid voter registration applications from eligible applicants.
1. Canvassers account for every voter registration application given to the canvasser each shift by completing a batch sheet at the end of the shift.
2. Canvassers put their initials or name on each voter application they collect at the end of the shift.
3. Applications are ordered by canvasser and shift.
V. Visual Inspection
1. The Shift manager(s), who are responsible for managing a group of canvassers, inspect applications collected by each canvasser under their supervision looking for evidence of problems.
VI. “Call Center” Verification
1. The “Call Center,” staffed by one or more individuals, inspects applications from each shift.
2. “Call Center” staff calls applicants with phone numbers to verify the authenticity of the application.
VII. Performance Standards
1. Shift manager(s) and “Call Center” staff maintain and analyze records of the number of applications collected, the number of complete applications, the number of applications with no or bad phone numbers and the number of suspicious applications by employee.
2. Shift manager(s) and “Call Center” staff meet as needed to discuss performance issues, such as lack of phone numbers, high percentage of incomplete cards or specific issues with a canvasser, and open investigations or take action to address any problems.
VIII. Performance Problems
1. If Shift Managers or the Call Center determines that a canvasser is not meeting performance standards or has collected applications that are suspicious, an investigation is opened on that canvasser and completed within a day or two. If the problem concerns quality issues, such as collecting incomplete applications or not enough phone number, the canvasser may be retrained or counseled. Repeat offenses will result in termination. If the investigation finds that the canvasser has knowingly collected applications from ineligible applicants, from a person who has already registered to vote or submitted an application, completed and signed an application with another person’s name, or committed any other illegal action, the canvasser is terminated.
2. Applications that are suspicious are separated out from other applications when they are turned into election officials. Election officials are given a cover sheet with the canvassers name and the name of the applicants found to be suspicious. The cover sheet contains contact information for the election official if they find the application violated any laws so that they can get identification information on the canvasser and elicit ACORN’s cooperation in any investigation or prosecution.
IX. Election Official Relationship
1. Local ACORN staff maintains regular communication with elections officials when applications are dropped off. State ACORN staff request regular phone or in person meetings. National staff requests election officials to notify them if the officials have concerns about the drive.
2. ACORN requests election officials to provide ACORN with information about the drive’s performance and the quality of applications. Information ACORN requests include the number of applications the election office has processed over a week, the number of applications submitted by ACORN that were added to the rolls in the last week and the number of applications submitted by ACORN that were not added to the rolls pursuant to the standard procedure over the last week. In addition, ACORN requests that election officials provide it with up-to-date voter rolls so ACORN can assess the success of the drive.
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