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Felons Paid in Voter Registration DriveJun 23, 10:17 PM (ET)By DAVID A. LIEBJEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - 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 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 others 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 Kerry's campaign - federal law forbids such coordination. Yet ACT is stocked with veteran Democratic political operatives, many with past ties to Kerry and his advisers.Allison Dobson, a spokeswoman with the Kerry campaign, said there is no coordination with ACT, and of the policy: "We're unaware of it and have nothing to do with it."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 they 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.Ed Gillespie, the chairman of the Republican Party, issued a statement calling the policy "disturbing" and questioned the use of felons "to go house to house and handle sensitive personal information."In response, Elleithee cited Bush's speech Monday in Ohio, in which he applauded government, religious and community-based programs that give a helping hand to felons after they are released from prison."It seems to me that the president seems to agree with our philosophy that people deserve a second chance and deserve the right to re-enter society," Elleithee said.Citing security concerns for the public and 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 gross sexual imposition. 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 it or 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.
quote:Originally posted by TonyO:
[b]some convicted of sex offenses[/b]
"Sex Offender" is just a PC word for "rapist".
MAINE IS ONE OF THE TARGETED STATES.Boston Herald
Crooks for Kerry: Lefty group hires ex-cons to canvass
By David R. Guarino
Read Guarino's Road to Boston Blog
Thursday, June 24, 2004A left-wing group with ties to Sen. John F. Kerry's presidential campaign is hiring convicted sex offenders and batterers to go door-to-door to register voters in several battleground states.
Officials with America Coming Together, a nonprofit group heavily pushing Kerry's campaign agenda, conceded last night they hire cons in some states but insist the public is in no danger.
``We believe it's important to give people a second chance,'' Mo Elleithee, spokesman for ACT in Washington, D.C., told The Associated Press.
ACT operates regionally in New Hampshire and Maine, two key swing states Kerry badly needs to win. In the Granite State, the ACT operation is run by longtime Kerry ally Dennis Newman, a Boston lawyer.
The group's New Hampshire spokeswoman said no convicted felons have been hired there but said none have yet applied.
``The policy is to not employ people who have been convicted of violent felonies,'' said spokeswoman Delacey Skinner. ``We would not do anything in any way to put people in danger as we do our canvassing.''
The Kerry campaign said it has no knowledge of the ACT operation since federal law prohibits coordination between campaigns and interest groups.
``The Kerry campaign cannot coordinate (with them), it's against the law,'' spokesman Michael Meehan said. ``We don't know anything about it.''
According to the AP report, felons work as canvassers in major metropolitan areas in Missouri, Florida and Ohio.
The wire service's review of criminal records showed the names and hometowns of dozens of ACT employees in those states matched those of people convicted of crimes such as burglary, drug dealing, assault and sex offenses.
Among other things, the canvassers request voter telephone numbers and Social Security numbers.
ACT is one of several controversial groups, so-called 527s named after the code of federal law that creates them, trying to fight behind the scenes this campaign season.
On its Web site, ACT openly campaigns against President Bush [related, bio], saying its canvassers are ``laying the groundwork to defeat Bush and elect Democrats in federal, state and local elections in 2004.''
ACT is unapologetic about its hiring of cons, saying they pose no threat to the public.
``The fact that they are willing to do this work is a fairly serious indication that they want to become productive members of society,'' said Elleithee, the ACT national spokesman.
While campaigning chiefly to benefit Kerry, the group has ties to almost every major Democrat - not just the Bay State senator.
Newman, the New Hampshire director, worked for Vice President Al Gore in the last election while Skinner, the New Hampshire spokeswoman, formerly worked on former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean's campaign in South Carolina. Elleithee is a former aide to retired Gen. Wesley Clark [related, bio] - another of Kerry's former primary opponents.
"gross sexual imposition"...can't you imagine the group that worked to come up with that euphemism.We'll leave it to NDG to do some research on whether those who have been treated to "gross sexual imposition" think it's rape or not.Then she can do the same for "assault and sexual offenses."NDG has a very strict view of who should be knocking on your door for candidates and who shouldn't.
What a windfall for excons. Being paid to go door to door and be credentialed by a major political party to obtain people's names, addresses, social security numbers, and credit card numbers. (Think these party registrars won't be soliciting campaign funds? If so think again.) Should land them right back in jail and fast at that. What a hell this will create for law abiding citizen taxpayers. Creative thinking cons will be running over each other to line up for access to such jobs that "license them to steal" for their own personal gain. But how much worse is it than Chris Cannon of Utah being recorded as asking for Republican campaign donations from illegal aliens or for illegals to make campaign donations from their minor children to the Republican party and his campaign. Both are crimes. It would serve Cannon right were he charged, convicted, and court prevented from being on the fall election.Everybody raise your right hand who wants or will put up with an excon paid by the left or an illegal paid by the right going to doors and taking identity information and being put in a position to steal either identity or money from citizens supposedly being registered to vote. What, no right hands up? Fancy that. Just goes to prove -- neither party feels bound by rule of law any longer. :mad:
GROUP CAVES IN TO PRESSURE. Won't be using "violent" felons in drives. Discovered that 1/4 of earlier registrations were fraudulent.[url=http://www.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2004/6/25/94351.shtml]http://www.news...
quote: Among other things, the canvassers request voter telephone numbers and Social Security numbers.
Yeah right sure. :eek: