Skip to comments.Felons Paid in Voter Registration Drive
Posted on 06/23/2004 2:00:02 PM PDT by Marcus Alonzo Hanna
Felons Paid in Voter Registration Drive Political Group Paid Felons to Conduct Door-To-Door Voter Registration Drives in Least 3 States
The Associated Press
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. June 23, 2004 A Democratic group crucial to John Kerry's presidential campaign has paid felons some convicted of sex offenses, assault and burglary to conduct door-to-door voter registration drives in at least three election swing states. America Coming Together, contending that convicted criminals deserve a second chance in society, employs felons as voter canvassers in major metropolitan areas in Missouri, Florida, Ohio and perhaps in other states among the 17 it is targeting in its drive. Some of the felons lived in halfway houses, and at least four returned to prison.
ACT canvassers ask residents which issues are important to them and, if they are not registered, sign them up as voters. They gather telephone numbers and other personal information, such as driver's license numbers or partial Social Security numbers, depending on what a state requires for voter registration.
Felons on probation or parole are ineligible to vote in many states. Doug Lewis, executive director of the Election Center, which represents election officials, said he is unaware of any laws against felons registering other people to vote.
A review of federal campaign finance and state criminal records by The Associated Press revealed that the names and hometowns of dozens of ACT employees in Missouri, Florida and Ohio matched those of people convicted of crimes such as burglary, forgery, drug dealing, assault and sex offenses.
Although it works against the re-election of President Bush, ACT is an independent group not affiliated with the Kerry campaign federal law forbids such coordination. Yet ACT is stocked with veteran Democratic political operatives, many with past ties to Kerry and his advisers.
ACT plans to spend about $100 million on initiatives to get out the vote for the presidential election, which likely will turn on how well Kerry and Bush can get their supporters to the polls.
ACT does not believe the felons it sends door to door pose a threat to the public, said Mo Elleithee, a Washington-based spokesman for the group.
"We believe it's important to give people a second chance," Elleithee said. "The fact that they are willing to do this work is a fairly serious indication that they want to become productive members of society."
Although ACT asks job applicants to cite their criminal history and hires some felons and not others, Elleithee would not reveal how many felons ACT has hired to canvass neighborhoods and register voters. They earn $8 to $12 per hour.
Elleithee confirmed that felons have been hired in Missouri, Florida and Ohio and said it is possible that felons have been hired in the other 14 states in which it's conducting its drive: Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Citing security concerns for the public and for the felons, the Missouri Department of Corrections in April banished ACT from its pool of potential employers for parolees in its halfway houses in Kansas City and St. Louis, department spokesman John Fougere said. Five ACT employees lived at the Kansas City Community Release Center and two others at the St. Louis Community Release Center earlier this year.
"From a public safety standpoint, we didn't want offenders to be in a situation where they would be handling that information," Fougere said. Officials also were concerned the door-to-door campaign would put felons at greater risk of false accusations, he said.
Among the ACT employees in Ohio was a woman convicted of sexual contact with a minor. She completed her parole 12 years ago.
"If she was still on parole that job wouldn't have been approved," said Andrea Dean, spokeswoman for the Ohio Department of Correction. "People who have been out of prison and haven't had any other problems with law enforcement, they should be given that second chance to be viable citizens."
In Florida, most felons released from prison are not on parole or probation. "If they're released from our custody and there is no other supervision ... we can't prohibit them from taking a job like this," said Sterling Ivey, a spokesman for the Florida Department of Corrections.
ACT adopted a policy against employing violent felons this spring, Elleithee said, but he declined to release the policy or to describe what the group considered violent.
"We're constantly looking internally to better our hiring practices," he said. "But the bottom line is we would never hire anyone who we felt was a threat to anyone else."
At least two felons who were stationed at a Missouri halfway house have since moved into the community and are again employed by ACT "and are a tremendous part of our team," Elleithee said.
Four of ACT's former employees living at a Missouri halfway house have since been returned to prison two for drug violations, one for endangering the welfare of a child and another for walking away from the facility. None of the incidents was related to their work for ACT, Fougere said.
Associated Press Writers John McCarthy in Columbus, Ohio, and Mike Schneider in Orlando, Fla., contributed to this report.
They sing FnKerry's praises, but they never tell the other dark side of him. I'm really tired of it.
These are just the kind of people who would take notes of a certain lovely lady and/or children (school is out) answering the door .. and come back later to take advantage.
Isn't this like dangling candy in front of a baby ..?? I don't like this at all. If these idiots at ACT think these felons are such wonderful people .. let them take them into their own homes instead of foisting them upon the public.
Good grief! If a member of my family was hurt in any manner by one of these people .... Mr. Soros should plan on being BROKE!!
During the usual futile attempt to explain what I do at loud parties to strangers with normal jobs, the conversation will go something like this: "I used to be a symbolic troublemaker with health benefits." Skeptical eyebrow movement. "Oh, but now I'm self-employed as a conceptual prankster." Looks down at glass, wonders if this would be good moment to get refill. "Well, actually, I write odd--very odd--books: philosophical humor mostly, it's kind of a new genre, you know." Stirs ice cube with finger. "OK, I'm a writer. B-u-u-u-t I'm also a cultural activist, political organizer, performance artist, and street theater producer. Though sometimes I wish I was an investment banker--for situations like this, mostly."
To see how I got into this predicament, let's step back 15 years.
The critical moment in my career came after several years as a student activist. I was feeling limited by the all too predictable forms of social movement organizing--pamphlets, rallies, teach-ins, etc.--and began to experiment with public performance art, guerrilla theater and cultural interventions. (Including taking over a campus military research lab dressed in lab coats, dark sunglasses and walkman headsets; launching an experiment in free bicycle transportation by exorcising the commodity value out of the bicycles in a mass public ritual; and inserting into campus publications extreme pro-imperialst rants on US Central America policy written by a mysterious Capt. John Early.) This form of engagement drew people in, locked onto their curiosity, and made them laugh. It demanded they puzzle some of the message out for themselves and become part of the action. It used symbol, metaphor, playfulness, guile and surprise.
These early experiments gave me my intellectual definition and desire: grab a powerful idea from the culture or the academy, turn it inside-out, put a handle and a grin on it, and send it back out there. Work the intersections and overlaps: education and entertainment, politics and performance, powerful ideas and playfulness. Go with the grain of the culture, find the right idiom--but say something different, something important.
In many ways, my recent books and cultural projects are highly evolved offspring of this original inspiration. They are what I call "critical hijackings"--a popular mass-culture format tweaked to carry critical content. My current book, published by W. W. Norton in January '02, is Daily Afflictions: The Agony of Being Connected to Everything in the Universe. Through some kind of literary aikido, it adapts the formal constraints of the daily affirmation to render ironic philosophical prose poems. My previous book, Life's Little Deconstruction Book: Self-Help for the Post-Hip which came out two years ago from W. W. Norton and Penguin UK, presents the full range of post-modern ideas crystallized into 365 pop-culture slogans. I'm also the author of The Activist Cookbook, a how-to guide for cultural activists, which I wrote for United for a Fair Economy, a national economic justice organization based in Boston.
At UFE, I founded, and for many years, directed, Art for a Fair Economy, which uses performance, media stunts and creative direct action to educate and mobilize for greater economic equality. The actions and performances I pioneered there include: the 100 Musical Chairs, a participatory spectacle that uses 100 people and 100 chairs to create a human bar-graph of economic inequality; the Precision Cell Phone Drill Team, a squad of corporate executives in power suits on military style maneuvers; and the Billionaires for Bush (or Gore), an ironic political campaign that attracted sustained national media attention and widespread grass-roots participation. During the Billionaires project I directed a multi-disciplinary media-arts team, co-produced an award-winning website, and wrote considerable material for print, on-line, radio, stage and street performance. I have spoken about my writing and performance projects on several academic panels, and currently conduct workshops around the US on activist art and artful activism. I occasionally write for the Village Voice and contribute articles to social movement anthologies.
I also combine my writing and performance work. For each book, I develop an accompanying costumed persona and performance piece to animate the text. These include: the Global Village Idiot, a post-modern wise fool; the Chef of the Activist Kitchen, who saves democracy with the help of wind up toys, a blender and a bad French accent; and Brother Void, a dark saint and cyber monk who downloads scripture and performs with a laptop.
Somewhere along the way, I completed a B.A. from the University of Michigan in Communications and Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, an M.Ed. from the Harvard School of Education, and various course series in new media production, computer programming and creative writing.
Somewhere else along the way, I've also been a competent dishwasher, apprentice tile-setter, adequate but unfulfilled researcher and developer of educational technology, amateur game designer, and clandestine data-processor for Third World revolutionary movements.
Somewhere else entirely along the way, I have knocked out a few inspired poems and mixed media pieces, hitchhiked through snowstorms, jumped freight trains across the desert, designed existential clocks, and exorcised the commodity value out of 25 green bicycles.
I am 39, live in New York, have no kids, no wife, no same sex partner, and minimal health insurance.
Thanks, Marcus for posting this!
It is a basic concept of dem philosophy that anything a Republican owns, especially a white Republican, he/she got through unfair means and that, therefore, can properly be acquired by any needy person.
And, for you truly senstive folks, illegal Mexicans criminal river swimming aliens won't do this work because it requires English language skills and they want a salary up front because Fox needs his cut and can't wait for the fence to pay off.
Now we know that they are sending felons to do the knocking. No intimidation in sending a convicted thug door to door. < /sarcasm >
Some have speculated that the "election receipt" that Democrats are whining for with the electronic ballot boxes is really just a way for the bosses to verify that the "party faithful" really did vote for the "right" name. No Kerry vote, no package of smokes.
I heard an interview with one of these 'Billionaires for Bush' crowd. The moron couldn't name a single billionaire that supported GWB. All the ones the idiot could think of supported sKerry.
As far as the felons registering voters door to door...
Thats just wrong. Talk about putting the fox in charge of the henhouse. You get some pediphile scum going door to door and looking at the kids like they're on a menu. People convicted of id theft being handed the keys to the kingdom. Burglars handed a cornucopia of possible heists.
Yep, theses are the smart ones! In a porcine rectum.
This is worse than the millions entering our country illegally, bringing in *tons* of drugs and God knows what else?
I wish every network would run this effing story!!!!
I would love for one of them to knock on my door!
My mind is fairly whirling here -
Just think how much liability the rats will have if just ONE ex-felon tried monkey business while s/he canvassed an unsuspecting neighborhood!
Some enterprising lawyer could **OWN** ACT and Soros!! Pubbies should run ads wherever these cons are working and pray for lawsuits, LOL!
Democrats associating closely with felons? Lobbying to re-instate felon's voting rights? How much thinking does this take to realize there's a problem with the party?
Letters to the Editor...all across The Country...
"The local press in every community is much more independent..."
My2Cents says... "This is easy to do, too. One can simply take their best daily post on FR, recast it as a letter to the editor, and then use the link provided, and they're done....They've contributed in a not-insignificant way to the cause. I do this all the time."
It's going to happen in Milwaukee again, too. Marquette University students voted multiple times for Gore and Governor Doyle payed Bingo money to mentally-ill elderly residents for votes in 2002.
This is giving me serious creepy feelings!!!Wow!
By all means - give those felons a chance to walk neighborhoods asking for personal info! Not nearly as dangerous as what John Ashcroft might do to a private citizen!!!
Good grief. This is dangerous, I wonder how many voters will get attacked before this is overwith.
I vaguely recall some voter registration issue raised before that those who collect voter registrations must themselves be registered...anyone recall anything like this?
Well Gee .. I wonder what all the people who live there think about having a known convicted sex offenders & assault and burglary felons coming to their front door??
Nothing like giving known felons your telephone number and driver's license info ...
Oh Oh .. and let's give these convicts our Social Security numbers
Yea .. I'm thinking an number of folks won't be too thrilled
When I saw the headlines, I thought it was the NZ ACT party! Yikes!
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