Lawsuit increases voter applications from low-income citizens
BY LINDA MARTZ • Telegraph-Forum • August 13, 2010

Job and Family Services offices in Crawford County were among many Ohio public assistance offices taken to task in a 2006 lawsuit contending it failed to go far enough to register low-income voters.

But voter registration skyrocketed after a court settlement went into effect in January.

At the time the federal lawsuit was filed, Project Vote, Demos and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law said many county-level Job and Family Services offices across Ohio weren't living up to requirements set by The National Voter Registration Act of 1993. The law was designed to increase participation in federal elections. It required state motor vehicle agencies to offer voter registration programs -- and extended that to public assistance agencies, to reach low-income residents.

During 2003 and 2004, county welfare offices in Ohio processed 4.7 million applications for assistance, but handled a fraction of that number -- less than one-half of a percent -- of voter registration forms.

The lawsuit singled out Morrow County Job and Family Services as being among 10 offices that didn't register a single voter from 2002 to 2004. It listed Richland County Job and Family Services as among 17 county offices that handled fewer than 10 voter registrations, and Crawford County Job and Family Services among 32 offices that forwarded fewer than 100 registration forms.

The lawsuit ended with a settlement last fall. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services agreed to create and distribute voter registration materials, train agency employees, assign coordinators for each county, monitor complaints and track results.

When Project Vote sought a tally for the first six months of 2010, this time Richland County Job and Family Services had forwarded 1,793 voter applications, Crawford 271 and Morrow County 315.

The number of low-income people registering to vote as they apply for public assistance in Ohio has increased more than tenfold statewide, according to Project Vote.

Between Jan. 1 and June 30 of this year, 101,604 voter registration applications were submitted by Ohio Department of Job and Family Service clients. County offices averaged 17,000 registration applications per month -- compared to 1,775 monthly before the lawsuit.

Ohio Department of Job and Family Services spokes-man Benjamin Johnson said the accusation in the lawsuit was that "we missed some people."

Before the settlement, voter registration forms were available, but not included directly along with public assistance forms, he said.

Now, applications for food, cash and medical assistance contain a checkoff asking whether applicants are interested in registering to vote. The last two pages of the form are the voter registration papers, he said.

Crawford County Deputy Elections director Kim Rudd said effects on overall voter numbers aren't clear, but applications coming from the county's Job and Family Services office have greatly increased.

During the last three months of 2009, Crawford County Job and Family Services forwarded 38 voter applications, she said. In October and December, no voters registered through the agency, she said.

After the settlement went into effect, the number spiked to 56 in January.

In the first six months of this year, Crawford County Job and Family Services forwarded 422 voters registration applications. That amounts to 1.4 percent of the county's total of about 29,800 registered voters.

The elections official said it is too soon to determine whether the low-income voters who registered through Job and Family Services offices were affiliated with any party. Newly registering voters don't indicate a party affiliation on their forms. ... voter-apps

Justice Department to enforce voter registration law
Share9 1by kos
Thu Aug 12, 2010 at 03:20:04 PM PDT
'bout time.

After years of deliberate neglect, the Justice Department is finally beginning to enforce the federal law requiring states to provide voter registration at welfare and food stamp offices. The effort not only promises to bring hundreds of thousands of hard-to-reach voters into the electorate, but it could also reduce the impact of advocacy organizations whose role in registering voters caused such a furor in 2008.

The National Voter Registration Act of 1993, better known as the motor-voter law, is well-known for making it possible to register to vote at state motor vehicle offices. However, the law also required states to allow registration at offices that administer food stamps, welfare, Medicaid, disability assistance and child health programs. States were enthusiastic about the motor-vehicle section of the law, and millions of new voters got on the rolls while getting a driver’s license. But registration at public assistance offices proved far less popular.

In part, that was because of additional paperwork at those offices, but in many states, Republican officials did not want to provide easy entry to the voting rolls for low-income people whom they considered more likely to vote Democratic. The Bush administration devoted its attention to seeking out tiny examples of voter fraud and purging people from the rolls in swing states. It did little to enforce the motor-voter law despite years of complaints from civic groups and Democratic lawmakers.

Republicans don't want to expand the voter pool. The fewer people vote, the better they do. ... ration-law

Project Vote
6805 Oak Creek Drive
Columbus, OH

Phone :800-546-8683
URL: Website

Front group for the radical cult ACORN
Spearheads the Voting Rights Movement
Played a decisive role in pushing the 1993 Motor-Voter Bill through Congress

Project Vote is the voter-mobilization arm of ACORN. It is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose professed purpose is to carry out "non-partisan" voter registration drives; to counsel voters on their rights; and to litigate on behalf of voting rights -- focusing on the rights of the poor and the "disenfranchised."

Project Vote's major program areas include the following:

Voter Participation Program: "[Since its inception], Project Vote has helped more than 4 million Americans in low-income and minority neighborhoods register to vote, including 1.1 million in 2003-04. In the same period, Project Vote reached more than 2.3 million low-income and minority voters to educate them about the importance of voting. Our methodology is based on face-to-face contact between voters and trusted community messengers, generally a representative of a local community organization."

Election Administration Program: "[This program] encompasses every aspect of election implementation, from voter registration application design to voting booth placement to vote counting and everything in between. Working in neighborhoods nationwide, Project Vote documents voting problems and works closely with elections officials, secretaries of state, and state legislators to enact proactive, pragmatic solutions. A central component of our work is the inclusion of low-income and minority voters through the involvement of our community partners."

NVRA Implementation Project: "[This] partnership between Project Vote, ACORN and Demos aims to improve voter registration services at public assistance agencies. Section 7 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 requires states to offer voter registration to public assistance clients upon application, recertification or renewal, and change of addresses. The Project ... offers technical assistance." The National Voting Rights Institute and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law have recently become co-administrators of this initiative.

The stated purpose of Project Vote is to work within the system, using conventional voter mobilization drives and litigation to secure the rights of minority and low-income voters under the U.S. Constitution. However, the organization's actions indicate that its true agenda is to overwhelm, paralyze, and discredit the voting system through fraud, protests, propaganda and vexatious litigation. In this respect, Project Vote is following the so-called "crisis strategy" or Cloward-Piven Strategy pioneered during the Sixties by Columbia University political scientists Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven.

As a follow-up to their effort to collapse the welfare system in the 1960s, in 1983 Cloward and Piven founded the Human Service Employee Registration, Voting and Education campaign Fund (Human SERVE Fund). Its objective, they said, was to increase voter turnout among the poor. But unlike Project Vote, Human SERVE did not rely on conventional door-to-door canvassing, or even on the more effective method of registering people in food stamp and unemployment lines which Project Vote had pioneered. Rather, Human SERVE lobbied government officials directly to enact laws and regulations directing public employees to offer to register citizens applying for services at government agencies. This effort realized its grandest ambition on May 20, 1993, when President Clinton signed the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 -- commonly called the "Motor-Voter Act." It ordered every state to provide resources enabling people to register to vote at state agencies, at the same time they applied for drivers' licenses, welfare, Medicaid and disability benefits. In June 2000, Cloward and Piven dissolved Human SERVE, leaving to ACORN and Project Vote the task of making the Motor Voter "crisis strategy" work at the polls. It did, in fact, fuel an explosion of fraudulent voters.

In 1996, Project Vote became involved in Teamstergate -- a criminal conspiracy to embezzle funds from the Teamster treasury, launder them through outside organizations, and then siphon them back into the re-election war chest of Teamsters President Ron Carey in 1996. According to trial testimony, the operation was approved by high-level White House and Democratic Party officials.

A persistent pattern of lawlessness has followed ACORN/Project Vote activists over the years. For example, one Project Vote contractor -- a single mother of three -- forged 400 voter registration cards in 1998. "Some of the addresses listed on these applications were traced to vacant lots, boarded-up buildings, abandoned buildings, and nonexistent house numbers," notes a report by the Employment Policies Institute. Former Miami-Dade field director for ACORN's 2004 voter mobilization Mac Stuart has testified that fraud is standard procedure for ACORN/Project Vote canvassers -- behavior that is not only tolerated but encouraged by supervisors. "[T]he voter registration project has been operating illegally since it started," Stuart told investigators.

In the 2004 election cycle, ACORN and Project Vote canvassers fanned out by the thousands across battleground states, turning up repeatedly in press reports and on police blotters in connection with fraudulent petitioning and voter registration. Canvassers were caught or accused of filing registrations in duplicate, filing them for deceased or imaginary people or, in some cases, destroying large numbers of Republican registrations. ... grpid=6966