Can We Protect Our Elections From ACORN?

With little more than a year before the 2012 elections, the press has started to sharpen its focus on the candidates. Judicial Watch, meanwhile, is deeply concerned about the integrity of the electoral process — especially given the rampant voter registration fraud caused by the “community organization” ACORN and its partner in crime Project Vote in the last several election cycles. (Do not believe the rumors that ACORN is defunct. As I’ve said before, the organization has splintered into organizations across the country and they are prepared to wreak havoc in 2012. Project Vote is going strong, and hasn’t changed its stripes.)

Last Tuesday, I moderated a Judicial Watch educational panel entitled “The Voter Fraud Threat to Free and Fair Elections” at Judicial Watch’s headquarters here in Washington, DC.

My guests were: John Fund, a senior editor of The American Spectator and author of Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy and the upcoming The Threat of Voter Fraud to Free and Fair Elections; Christian Adams, former Department of Justice Attorney in the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division; and Catherine Engelbrecht, Founder of both King Street Patriots and True the Vote.

It was about as good a panel as we’ve ever hosted, and viewing it will educate, worry and motivate you. You can click here to watch a video of the panel, which was also streamed live over the Internet. We will have a written transcript on our website very soon.

Following our educational panel, on Thursday we released documents obtained from the Colorado Department of State showing that ACORN and its affiliate, Project Vote, successfully pressured Colorado officials into implementing new policies for increasing the registration of public assistance recipients during the 2008 and 2010 election seasons. And, as you might expect, following the policy changes the percentage of invalid voter registration forms from Colorado public assistance agencies was four times the national average!

See what I mean by chaos and havoc?

We got these documents through a Colorado Open Records Act request filed with the Colorado Office of the Secretary of State. They include approximately 400 internal emails related to a complaint by ACORN and Project Vote that the state of Colorado was in violation of Section 7 of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). (Under Section 7, states are required to offer voter registration services at all public assistance agencies, including unemployment offices and food stamp offices.)

Here’s how the ACORN/Project Vote intimidation campaign unfolded, as detailed in these documents, which number more than 1,000 pages.

In a May 14, 2008, “pre-litigation” letter, ACORN and Project Vote complained to the State of Colorado that it was in violation of the NVRA, and subsequently set up a meeting with Colorado officials to discuss the matter. According to the documents, that meeting took place on July 2, 2008, at ACORN’s offices.

Evidently, the State of Colorado did not move fast enough with its “reforms” because on June 9, 2009, Project Vote election counsel Donald Wine II threatened Colorado officials with litigation: “CDHS [Colorado Department of Human Services] has had a year and a half to comply with the NVRA. We are left with no choice but to prepare for litigation.”

The threat worked like a charm. The Colorado Office of the Secretary of State immediately went to extreme measures to accommodate the demands made by ACORN and Project Vote, including:


  • Offering to help push a “legislative fix” to allow people without a driver’s license or state identification to register to vote online. According to a January 27, 2010, email from Director of Division of Elections Judd Choate, “The Secretary’s office would support such a fix. We just need a legislator on board and begin the process of drafting the bill.”
  • Sending spreadsheets of voter registration data to Project Vote on a bi-weekly basis for more than two years.
  • Posting a Project Vote-produced presentation on the Colorado Secretary of State website.
  • Hosting several meetings between Project Vote personnel and representatives of state welfare offices.
  • Ensuring that changes to voter registration forms were approved by Project Vote.

As a result of this collaboration between ACORN, Project Vote and Colorado officials, the number of voter registrations at Colorado public assistance agencies rose from 3,340 in 2007 to almost 44,000 in 2010. (In a February 15, 2011, email to Project Vote, Christi Heppard, Special Projects Coordinator for the Elections Division of the Colorado Department of State, wrote, “…I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the numbers.”)

But here’s the problem. The collaboration also led to a large number of invalid and duplicate voter registrations. A total of 8% of rejected registration forms came from public assistance agencies in Colorado in 2009-2010. This is more than four times the national average of 1.9% for that same time period.

Shocking? Not when you learn a little more about the people involved in Colorado’s welfare voter registration campaign.

According to the documents, Amy Busefink, who at the time was under indictment on 13 voter registration violation charges in Nevada, managed the online programs for Project Vote nationally, including Colorado’s. Busefink ultimately entered an Alford plea to two gross misdemeanor counts of conspiracy to commit the crime of compensation for registration of voters. (An Alford plea is a guilty plea, where the defendant does not admit the act and assert innocence, but admits that sufficient evidence exists with which the prosecution could likely convince a judge or jury to find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.)

Democrat Bernie Buescher, who served as Colorado Secretary of State from January 2009 through January 2011, and is a party to some of these emails, received support from the Secretary of State Project, an organization funded in part by liberal financier George Soros, and organized by the leftist group Moveon.org. Buescher also campaigned with former State House Speaker Terrance Carroll for a proposed bill that would have implemented universal mail-in balloting, same-day voter registrations and pre-registration of 16-year-olds. Facing stiff opposition from county election clerks, the bill was tabled on April 21, 2010.

Colorado officials bent over backward to abide by the demands of ACORN/Project Vote, which an activist facing criminal charges helped run. So it comes as no surprise that there was a sharp increase in voter registration irregularities. (Colorado’s U.S. Senate election was mighty close in 2010. So who knows if all the ACORN games may have called the results into question!)

Here’s another deeply disturbing twist in this story. While Colorado officials took measures to satisfy the demands of Project Vote related to the registration of public assistance recipients, Buescher sought a waiver from the Obama administration that would have allowed a delay in sending out ballots in time for the military to vote in the last election. The Department of Defense rejected the request.

Apparently Colorado’s concern for voting rights of its citizens did not extend to military personnel in the state!

These documents may specifically refer to the 2008 and 2010 election cycles, but they are extremely relevant today. Nothing has changed. The ACORN/Project Vote gang has not gone away, and continues to try by hook or by crook to register Obama’s “Food Stamp Army” to vote in an effort to keep him and other leftist allies in office next year. (Judicial Watch’s interest is in the rule of law and protecting the integrity of our elections, not the success or failure of individual candidates for office (we neither support nor oppose candidates.))

And don’t expect the Obama Justice Department to do anything about it. They’ve already turned a blind eye to ACORN corruption that benefited Obama’s election in 2008. Don’t forget: Obama used to work for the ACORN-connected Project Vote, and has said he’s “been fighting alongside” ACORN his entire career. It’s up to your Judicial Watch to investigate ACORN and its numerous spin-offs.

If we’re going to protect the integrity of the 2012 elections, attention must be paid to the continuing nefarious activities of ACORN/Project Vote.

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Big Government, Crime, Voter Fraud, Acorn

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