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Registering 73 times

Politics | Ohioan Freddie Johnson testifies he registered to vote 73 times under pressure from group ACORN

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) is in the midst of a voter registration fraud hailstorm in several states, Ohio foremost among them as a swing state in the presidential election.

ACORN, a national organization which promotes voter registration, is also under investigation in North Carolina, Nevada, Minnesota, Texas, Missouri, Louisiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Florida.

Yesterday two Ohioans testified to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections that they registered to vote multiple times

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Election board officials said they had 48 registration cards from Freddie Johnson, who testified that he had signed 73, though he only intended to vote once.

"They get paid off signatures," said Johnson, explaining that he was just trying to help the ACORN employees keep their jobs.

The organization's spokespersons have said that employees padding registrations have been fired. Tuesday morning Kevin Whalen, national spokesperson for ACORN, said at a press conference in Washington that the group is required to turn in all registration cards to local boards of elections, even ones they consider problematic. But he explained that they put a note on top of cards they believe may be fraudulent.

"The upshot of the attacks is to try to inhibit the remarkable interest of hundreds of thousands of Americans who are looking to vote for the first time," said Whalen. "And ACORN is not going to let this happen."

Another spokesperson, Katy Gall, on FOX News Tuesday morning denied that actual voter fraud had occurred, meaning that voters' multiple registrations to vote wouldn't necessarily translate to repeat voting. The organization says it will comply with investigations into registration fraud.

The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections has turned over a probe of ACORN to the county prosecutor, the Sheriff and the FBI.

The McCain campaign has urged investigations and increased vigilance for fraud on Election Day. ACORN's website says it focuses on registering low-income voters, a demographic that is more favorable to Barack Obama. ACORN's political action committee has endorsed Obama.

In 1995 Obama represented the organization in a lawsuit against the state of Illinois to make voter registration easier, according to the Associated Press.

"Obama has a responsibility to rein in ACORN," former Sen. John Danforth said Tuesday. He co-chairs the McCain-Palin 2008 Honest and Open Election Committee, part of the McCain campaign.

He proposed that on Election Day, both campaigns provide teams to observe problem precincts in battleground states.

Early voting has already begun in Ohio, where debates flared about a court decision to allow residents to register and vote on the same day.
Updates from the Associated Press: Officials: FBI investigates ACORN for voter fraud

Emily Belz
Emily Belz

Emily, who has covered everything from political infighting to pet salons for The Indianapolis Star, The Hill, and the New York Daily News, reports for WORLD from New York City. Follow Emily on Twitter @emzleb.

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