The state of Ohio and the heavily Democratic area of Cuyahoga County are yet again embroilled in elections controversy. Claims from area residents that they have been hounded by the community activist group ACORN to register to vote multiple times have sparked an investigation by election officials into ACORN, whose political wing has supported Barack Obama.
Yesterday two Ohio voters came forth and claimed that although they had made it clear they were already registered to vote, ACORN canvassers encouraged them to sign up several times. One of those was Christopher Barkley of Cleveland, who estimates that he registered to vote "10 to 15" times after ACORN relentlessly pursued him.
"I kept getting approached by folks who asked me to register," Barkley said. "They'd ask me if I was registered. I'd say yes, and they'd ask me to do it [register] again. Some of them were getting paid to collect names. That was their sob story, and I bought it," he said.
The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections has thus far subpoenaed at least three people as part of a wider inquiry into potential voter fraud by ACORN. The community organization looks to register low-income voters, that tend to overwhelmingly vote Democratic.
Lateala Goins, who was subpoeaned along with Barkley and others, said, "You can tell them you're registered as many times as you want - they do not care. They will follow you to the buses, they will follow you home, it does not matter."
Also subpoenaed was Freddie Johnson, who filled out voter registration cards a total of 72 times over the course of 18 months..
Elections officials state that registering under a fake name is illegal, however they usually catch multiple registrations and get rid of them. But where the major risk of fraud in large canvassing efforts such as ACORN's comes into play is the possibility of ineligible voters filing absentee ballots, and then avoiding checks at poling places.
Kris Harsh, ACORN's Cleveland spokesman said that his group has collected 100,000 voter registration cards, and only about 50 were questionable.
Investigations into ACORN are not just underway in Ohio, but also in Las Vegas. On Tuesday Nevada officials, with the help of local police and FBI investigations over the past month, raided ACORN's Vegas offices. The Las Vegas ACORN outfit is accused of signing people up to vote multiple times, and in some cases using fake names such as the Dallas Cowboys starting lineup.