Nevada state authorities seized records and computers Tuesday from the Las Vegas office of an organization that tries to get low-income people registered to vote, after fielding complaints of voter fraud.
Bob Walsh, spokesman for the Nevada secretary of state’s office, told FOXNews.com the raid was prompted by ongoing complaints about “erroneous” registration information being submitted by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, also called ACORN.
The group was submitting the information through a voter sign-up drive known as Project Vote.
“Some of them used nonexistent names, some of them used false addresses and some of them were duplicates of previously filed applications,” Walsh said, describing the complaints, which largely came from the registrar in Clark County, Nev.
Secretary of State Ross Miller said the fraudulent registrations included forms for the starting lineup of the Dallas Cowboys football team.
“Tony Romo is not registered to vote in the state of Nevada, and anybody trying to pose as Terrell Owens won’t be able to cast a ballot on Nov. 4,” Miller said.
Walsh said agents from both the secretary of state’s office and Nevada attorney general’s office conducted the raid at 9:30 a.m. local time, and “took a bunch of stuff.” Miller’s office reported seizing eight computer hard drives and about 20 boxes of documents.
Bertha Lewis, interim chief organizer for ACORN, released a statement saying the group has for months been turning over any suspicious registration information to elections officials. She said those officials routinely ignored their tips, and called the raid a “stunt.”
“When we have identified suspicious applications, we have separated them out and flagged them for election officials. We have zero tolerance for fraudulent registrations. We immediately dismiss employees we suspect of submitting fraudulent registrations,” she said. “Today’s raid by the secretary of state’s office is a stunt that serves no useful purpose other than discredit our work registering Nevadans and distracting us from the important work ahead of getting every eligible voter to the polls.”
Neither the group, which hires canvassers to register voters, nor any employees have been charged or arrested for fraud or other crimes, said Miller, a Democrat.
But it’s not the first time ACORN’s been under investigation for registration irregularities. The raid is the latest of at least nine investigations into possible fraudulent voter registration forms submitted by ACORN — the probes have involved ACORN workers in Wisconsin, New Mexico, Indiana and other states.
In response to the Las Vegas raid, Republican Nevada Sen. John Ensign and seven other senators penned a letter to the Federal Housing Finance Agency calling for the suspension of taxpayer dollars to “controversial groups like ACORN.” The letter referred to contributions that potentially could come from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac under the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008.
In 2006, ACORN also committed what Washington Secretary of State Sam Reed called the “worse case of election fraud” in the state’s history.
In the case, ACORN submitted just over 1,800 new voter registration forms, and all but six of the 1,800 names were fake.
More recently, 27,000 registrations handled by the group from January to July 2008 “went into limbo because they were incomplete, inaccurate, or fraudulent,” said James Terry, chief public advocate at the Consumers Rights League.
FOX News’ Eric Shawn, Judson Berger and Cristina Corbin and The Associated Press contributed to this report.