It has already started. The most interesting thing about this article is that it carefully avoids stating whether the fraudulent registrations are mostly or all Democrat or Republican.
Friday, July 09, 2004
Copyright © Las Vegas Review-Journal
Fake voter sign-ups increasing
By ERIN NEFF and BRIAN HAYNES
Nevada's position as a battleground state in the presidential election has sparked a surge in fake voter registrations, Clark County's top election official said.
"We've never seen anything close to this," said Larry Lomax, registrar of voters.
So far, the office has flagged several hundred suspicious registration forms, but Lomax believes many more escaped detection among the 5,000 forms coming through his office every week.
"There are stupid criminals out there, and there are smart ones," Lomax said. "We can spot the stupid ones because they submit them in a stack."
Because of the state's swing-state status, political groups are paying people to register as many voters as possible, a common practice.
However, some groups are illegally paying for each registration form submitted instead of paying workers by the hour. The practice is against both state and federal law. The state attorney general's office is looking at whether charges should be filed.
"It incentivizes fraud," Lomax said.
Lomax said people have brought completed registration forms to his office and told him they were paid by the form. One person mistakenly included his pay stub in a stack of forms, which showed him being paid by the form, not the hour.
The influx of out-of-state money into Nevada has fueled speculation among those registering voters about who is to blame. Both the state Democratic and Republican parties said Thursday they only pay people by the hour or use volunteers to register voters.
Several "527" groups, so-named because of the tax code that helped in their creation to avoid scrutiny of campaign finance laws, have set up shop in Nevada.
The most vocal, America Coming Together, said Thursday it pays its staffers by the hour.
"It's useless to do that kind of fraud," said Terrence Tolbert, state director for the organization. "You can't turn out fake registered people to vote."
In addition to the 527s, a number of nonprofit groups, including Rock the Vote and the New Voters Project, are registering voters in Nevada.
Lomax said he has had as many as 100 different groups ask his office for voter registration forms. The forms are numbered and recorded to monitor each group's efforts.
Lomax said he had one stack of forms "that were obviously fraudulent," but other fake registrants might have been added into stacks of legitimate ones, something Lomax said is impossible to track.