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ACORN Screws Up 150 Voter Registrations in Maricopa County, Says Elections Department

By Ray Stern

Problems with apparently bogus voter registrations turned in by ACORN, a group now under investigation by the FBI for voter fraud, haven't been a problem in Maricopa County, says Maricopa County Elections Department director Karen Osborne.

Even if the group had turned in bad registrations here, Arizona's voter identification law -- approved by voters in 2004 -- would stop them cold. Whatever concerns people had about Proposition 200 in terms of disenfranchising voters who couldn't produce valid ID, the law does do a good job of preventing problems that ACORN is now accused of, Osborne says.

However, the group seems to have caused a different sort of problem lately, turning in about old 150 voter registrations on October 6. Many of them were back-dated to early 2007, Osborne says. That means dozens of people who thought they were registered may have voted in the primary election or municipal elections -- but their vote didn't count, she says.

Osborne says the county is trying to enlist the help of attorneys with ACORN to find the person responsible for failing to turn in the 150 registrations in a timely way.

Still, the problems with ACORN seem better than they were about five years ago, when registration drives by ACORN produced numerous forms with "a lot of scribbled writing," Osborne says. "We'd track the addresses -- they'd end up in the middle of Bank One Ballpark (now Chase Field)."

No one answered the phone Thursday afternoon at the Phoenix ACORN office.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern