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.
Never fear! I came across a thread earlier this evening that indicated that Ed Gillespie as a few things to say about this?! hehehe! And observing Ed over these last several months,I bet he'll have a lot more to say about this! I can hardly wait.
The volunteers (mostly from the ACLU) are part of the network assisting the ex-felons.
I see that your new party is at it again.
That's what I'm saying, the ACLU wants felons to gain the rights they lost on their own accord through acts of violence that ended them up in the prison system to begin with. Felons voluntarily gave up their rights the moment they raped, killed, or murdered someone.
ACLU is a cancer on American society IMHO!
Yep! They sure are!
You are exactly correct .. it's all about regaining power - nothing else.
"FYI! This is unbelieveable!"
It sounds typical for the Democrat Party. Sort of like the common miracles they perform in Chicago, Illinois. In Chicago, they can even raise the dead.
You don't believe me? Just examine the election records, and you will find all these individuals that wanted so much to vote, that they got out of their graves and came to the polling places. :-)
You mean they hired Bill Clinton?
Why am I not surprised? This is an important constituency for Democrats that they wouldn't want to offend.
Or like the type of work where they can easily collect people's names, addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, driver's licence, etc.
ROFLMCO...you are so funny!
Yeah that could open up votes from the illegal immigrants. All states are having problems with this immigration problem. I think it is time to make some changes at INS, it needs an overhaul!!
SCARY Kerry indeed!
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