Voters Contend They Were Duped into Registering as Republicans

by Shaker Lena Dahlstrom, a crossdresser from the San Francisco Bay area who also performs as a drag queen under the stage name "Joie de Vivre."

Every election season, the Republicans crank up the scare machine about voter fraud—and the voter registration drives by ACORN in particular. And let's be honest, paying contractors per signature is pretty much guaranteed to lead to some of them to pad their wallets by registering Mickey Mouse, or registering the same voter multiple times. Which is not a Good Thing—although it's important to point out there's a big different between voter registration fraud and voter fraud. The former is annoying for voter registrar offices who have to prune the voter lists and expensive for groups like ACORN who are paying for bogus signatures, but it's not like Mickey Mouse is going to show to vote on election day, nor is someone who's been triple registered at the same address be able to vote multiple times. (In fact, allegations of fraudulent voting by individuals has pretty much been debunked.)

But funny how the Republicans have been noticeably silent about how a California firm hired by the Republican Party is being investigated for allegedly tricking voters into re-registering as Republicans.

The company, Young Political Majors (or YPM) has a trail of bait-and-switch fraud complaints stretching across the country. Oh and the best part: YPM's owner is being personally charged with fraudulently registering to vote in California, so that he would appear to meet a legal requirement that all signature gatherers are registered California voters.

From the Los Angeles Times, which broke the story:
Voters contacted by The Times said they were tricked into switching parties while signing what they believed were petitions for tougher penalties against child molesters. Some said they were told that they had to become Republicans to sign the petition, contrary to California initiative law. Others had no idea their registration was being changed....

Elections officials and lawmakers have launched investigations into the activities of YPM staff in Florida and Massachusetts. In Arizona, the firm was recently a defendant in a civil rights lawsuit. Prosecutors in Los Angeles and Ventura counties say they are investigating complaints about the company. The firm, which a Republican Party spokesman said is paid $7 to $12 for each registration it secures, has denied any wrongdoing and says it has never been charged with a crime....

The Times randomly interviewed 46 of the hundreds of voters whose election records show they were recently re-registered as Republicans by YPM, and 37 of them -- more than 80% -- said they were misled into making the change or that it was done without their knowledge. The document those voters thought was an initiative petition has no legal implications at all....

It all sounds familiar to Beverly Hill, a Democrat and the former election supervisor in Florida's Alachua County. About 200 voters -- mostly college students -- were unwittingly registered as Republicans there in 2004 by YPM staffers using the same tactic, Hill said."

"It is just incredible that this can keep happening election after election," she said...

Civil rights activists recently filed a lawsuit in Arizona accusing YPM of deceiving residents to get signatures for a ballot measure that would have prohibited affirmative action by that state. The lawsuit was dropped after supporters of the measure pulled it from the ballot.

In Massachusetts, former YPM worker Angela McElroy testified at a legislative hearing in 2004 that she had tricked voters into signing a ballot measure to ban gay marriage. She said she told voters they were signing in favor of a measure to allow alcoholic drinks to be sold in supermarkets.
Nor is YPM alone. Two years ago, Orange County's district attorney changed a dozen workers for another petitioning firm with falsely registering voters are Republicans.

But unlike registering Mickey Mouse to vote, falsely changing someone's party affiliation has real-world consequences. Unless voters catch the change, they may be ineligible to vote in their intended party's next primary election.

Pot meet kettle.

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