Missouri officials suspect fake voter registration

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) âÄî Officials in Missouri, a hard-fought jewel in the presidential race, are sifting through possibly hundreds of questionable or duplicate voter-registration forms submitted by an advocacy group that has been accused of election fraud in other states. Charlene Davis, co-director of the election board in Jackson County, where Kansas City is, said the fraudulent registration forms came from the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN. She said they were bogging down work Wednesday, the final day Missourians could register to vote. âÄúI donâÄôt even know the entire scope of it because registrations are coming in so heavy,âÄù Davis said. âÄúWe have identified about 100 duplicates, and probably 280 addresses that donâÄôt exist, people who have driverâÄôs license numbers that wonâÄôt verify or Social Security numbers that wonâÄôt verify. Some have no address at all.âÄù The nonpartisan group works to recruit low-income voters, who tend to lean Democratic. Polls show Republican presidential candidate John McCain with an edge in bellwether Missouri, but Democrat Barack Obama continues to put up a strong fight. Jess Ordower, Midwest director of ACORN, said his group hasnâÄôt done any registrations in Kansas City since late August. He said he was told three weeks ago by election officials that there were only about 135 questionable cards âÄî 85 of them duplicates. âÄúThey keep telling different people different things,âÄù he said. âÄúThey gave us a list of 130, then told someone else it was 1,000.âÄù FBI spokeswoman Bridget Patton said the agency has been in contact with elections officials about potential voter fraud and plans to investigate. âÄúItâÄôs a matter we take very seriously,âÄù Patton said. âÄúIt is against the law to register someone to vote who does not fall within the parameters to vote, or to put someone on there falsely.âÄù On Tuesday, authorities in Nevada seized records from ACORN after finding fraudulent registration forms that included the starting lineup of the Dallas Cowboys. In April, eight ACORN workers in St. Louis city and county pleaded guilty to federal election fraud for submitting false registration cards for the 2006 election. U.S. Attorney Catherine Hanaway said they submitted cards with false addresses and names, and forged signatures. Ordower said Wednesday that ACORN registered about 53,500 people in Missouri this year. He believes his group is being targeted because some politicians donâÄôt want that many low-income people having a voice. âÄúItâÄôs par for the course,âÄù he said. âÄúWhen youâÄôre doing more registrations than anyone else in the country, some donâÄôt want low-income people being empowered to vote.âÄù