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.
EVERY NETWORK BETTER RUN THIS EFFING STORY!!!!
This is an AP article? I'm shocked!
Figures. I heard on the grapevine that the ciggies for votes was back in full swing in Michigan.
Or that they want to "case" the house and people they are soliciting..
This is the crap that we're up against.
My guess is, where these solicitations are being done, the felons are in greater danger than those answering the door.
anyone want to re-visit the Willie Horton affair?
ACT is thrilled to welcome Billionaires for Bush to the ACT Here network. Led by Andrew Boyd, a.k.a. Phil T Rich, this organization was founded on the principle that Bush has fully delivered on all of his promises to large corporations and billionairesmaking them stronger, more powerful and more prosperous than ever before.
Whose Media Virus? Our Media Virus!
(Culture Jamming 101)
Facilitator Andrew Boyd
Summary Andrew offered a slide-show presentation and hands-on workshop in the tactics & techniques of creative media interventions.
Right, no threat whatsoever.
I just emailed the link to news stations and our local stations
Don't hold your breath.
Are they paying these people a "living wage"? In St. Louis that is officially $8.81/hour the last time I looked. If not, this could be embarassing to the Dims.
Isn't Bill Clinton one of the founders of ACT? I seem to remember him being involved in this (I could be wrong).
People have been murdered because some fools paid them to go door to door selling something.
I specifically remember the case, fairly recent, of a young man selling magazines for one of those outfits that travel from state to state in vans, murdering a woman on his route.
ANDREW BOYD: A pioneer of viral activism, Andrew was one of the driving forces behind Billionaires for Bush (or Gore) and the Million Billionaire March. He founded, and for several years directed, the arts and action program at United for a Fair Economy in Boston. He is currently an adjunct professor at NYU and presents/performs around the country. His writing has appeared in the Nation, the Village Voice and several anthologies on recent social movements. Andrew is also the author of The Activist Cookbook, a source book on creative direct action, as well as several books of political humor published by W. W. Norton.
This is who we're dealing with:
Ellen R. Malcolm, President of ACT, is the founder and president of EMILYs List a political action committee that supports pro-choice Democratic women candidates. Under her leadership, EMILYs List an acronym for Early Money is Like Yeast because it makes the dough rise has grown to be the largest political action committee in the country. Since its founding, EMILYs List has help send 11 pro-choice Democratic women to the U.S. Senate, 55 to the U.S. House of Representatives, and to elect seven governors. Malcolm will lead the effort to build ACTs membership and raise $95 million to support ACTs voter contact program.
Steve Rosenthal , Chief Executive Officer of ACT, was Political Director of the AFL-CIO from 1996-2002, where he developed a groundbreaking voter contact program that increased voter turnout of union members by 4.8 million during a time when nonunion turnout decreased by 15 million. During the first three years of the Clinton Administration, Rosenthal served as Associate Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor where he acted as former-Secretary Robert Reichs chief advisor on union matters. Before that he was Deputy Political Director for the Democratic National Committee under Chairman Ron Brown and Political Director Paul Tully. Rosenthal will design and execute ACTs voter contact program.
Minyon Moore heads Dewey Squares state and local practice. She was formerly Chief Operations Officer of the Democratic National Committee and before that Assistant to the President of the United States and Director of White House Political Affairs.(the president mentioned is Bill Clinton, and she worked for Terry McAuliffe at the DNC.)
Gina Glantz has a distinguished 30-year career in campaigns and grassroots organizing. She was National Campaign Manager for the Bill Bradley for President campaign.
Carl Pope, Treasurer, is Executive Director of the Sierra Club, an organization of 700,000 environmental activists. Pope has spent 30 years in the environmental trenches, and worked to enact such statutes as the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, the Superfund and California Desert Protection Act.
Cecile Richards is President of America Votes, a coalition of almost 30 national organizations working together to educate and mobilize voters in the 2004 elections on a broad range of issues including the environment, civil and human rights, womens rights, choice, education and labor.
Here's part of their pitch for donations:
"Every dollar you give will turn out swing-state votes in November.
$500 helps pay a canvassing team for a week.
$100 puts a new canvasser through ACT training.
$25 buys canvassing materials for one days route.
ACT needs you. Sign up to volunteer today, in one of the 17 swing states.
Your vote is your voice use it. Register to vote online today."
Beside the point, but you would have to be a total tard to give anyone knocking on your door this information.
And here is an exmaple of the "10 million jobs" he would create should he become emporer.
God have mercy on America.
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