Thursday, Oct. 9, 2008 | 1:05 p.m.
Beyond the Sun
As the investigation of voter registration applications continues, the Nevada Department of Corrections said today that it was unaware of any voter fraud when it asked a contractor to stop allowing inmates to work as canvassers.
The Corrections Department sent out a statement today that said on July 31 the department learned inmates from the Casa Grande Transitional Housing Facility in Las Vegas were conducting vote registrations.
The inmates, put to work through contractor Choices Group, were participating in a work release program that provides job development and placement services for the department's re-entry program.
The contractor had sent 59 inmates to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) for registering voters.
"We immediately contacted the Choices Group and asked them to terminate all work release inmates working for the ACORN organization," the department's statement said.
Department officials then launched an internal investigation, but the secretary of state has taken it, said Suzanne Pardee, of the corrections department.
"At the time we were unaware of any potential issues with the ACORN organization or voter fraud," the statement said.
The Nevada Secretary of State's office, with the Attorney General's office, served a search warrant on ACORN's headquarters at 935 E. Sahara Ave. on Tuesday. Twenty boxes of documents and records and eight computers and hard drives were seized.
However, the investigation will not interfere with the upcoming Nov. 4 general election, Secretary of State Ross Miller said.
In July, the state with the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office formed an Election Integrity Task Force to look into any allegations of questionable voter registration, voter fraud and intimidation.
No one has been arrested.
ACORN's interim chief organizer, Bertha Lewis, said after the raid that it had been "a stunt that serves no useful purpose other than [to] discredit our work registering Nevadans and distracting us from the important work ahead of getting every eligible vote to the polls."
ACORN representatives said they had met with election officials and a representative of the Secretary of State's office on July 17 and were later asked to provide a second copy of documents they had previously provided.
ACORN said it gave officials copies of 46 application packages, which involved 33 former canvassers.
Elections officials discovered names and addresses that did not exist in Nevada, names of the Dallas Cowboys football team and other irregularities.