“Criminal charges filed against ACORN, two employees”

The Las Vegas Sun offers this report. I got a lot of pushback during the general election when I said that ACORN’s business model was “broken.” I continue to believe it, in light of the allegations made clear here:

    Throughout 2008, ACORN employed canvassers to register people to vote in Nevada, the complaint said. ACORN paid the canvassers between $8 and $9 an hour, but made continued employment and continued compensation based on the canvasser registering 20 voters per shift. Those who failed to sign up 20 voters per shift were terminated, the complaint said.
    From July 27 through Oct. 2 ACORN also provided additional compensation under a bonus program called “Blackjack” or “21+” that was based on the total number of voters a person registered. A canvasser who brought in 21 or more completed voter registration forms per shift would be paid a bonus of $5.”

As TAPPED rightly points out, these were cases of registration fraud, not voting fraud.
And they say that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas…
UPDATE: Project Vote has issued the following response:

    Dear Colleagues,
    As you may have heard, the Nevada politicians are at it again. Seven months after executing a carefully staged raid on the Las Vegas ACORN office-a publicity stunt purporting to gather evidence of “voter fraud” in Project Vote and ACORN’s 2007-2008 voter registration drive- Nevada’s attorney general and secretary of state today announced that they were filing a complaint against ACORN and two voter registration managers. Specifically, the complaint alleges that ACORN implemented a “corporate mandated quota system,” and that bonuses were paid for exceeding this quota, in violation of a Nevada statute that prohibits payment based on the total number of registrations.
    What the attorney general and secretary of state did NOT announce were any indictments against any of the 44 individual canvassers ACORN identified, as early as April 2008, as having submitted fraudulent applications to their supervisors. If Nevada officials were truly interested in protecting the integrity of the registration process they would cooperate with ACORN in seeking prosecution against these individuals. Instead, after seven months, the state of Nevada has chosen to divert attention from their failure and attempt to justify their attacks against ACORN with this ridiculous complaint.
    ACORN, in common with every other business or professional organization, needs to establish standards for performance and a reasonable basis for evaluating its employees. For canvassers, who are paid by the hour to assist members of the public in completing voter registration applications, these expectations are based on the only measurement that makes sense: the number of complete and accurate voter registration applications a canvasser collects per shift. Based on years of experience conducting community-based voter registration drives, ACORN has established 20 applications per four-hour shift as a reasonable performance standard.
    This performance standard does not represent a “quota,” or payment per registration, but simply a baseline for job performance. And, as the complaint itself makes clear, failing to meet this standard does not result in automatic termination. ACORN supervisors are trained to evaluate canvassers on a case-by-case basis, and are given wide latitude in determining the appropriate course of action for under-performing canvassers, ranging from re-training or reassignment to disciplinary action or dismissal.
    Moreover, the statute invoked in the complaint does not even address such job performance standards, nor does it address the situation in the Nevada office, in which unauthorized but moderate bonuses (in the amount of five-dollars per shift) were awarded in September to canvassers who exceeded expectations. In fact, the poorly written statute merely states that it is illegal to pay anyone to register voters based on the total number of voters registered. ACORN canvassers are paid and evaluated by the hour. The absurd legal interpretation under which the complaint has been brought suggests that it is illegal for a voter registration drive to set ANY job performance standards for hourly employees, or to evaluate employees and hold them accountable. In effect, their interpretation of the law would make conducting a paid voter registration drive impossible.
    Few states need active and effective voter registration drives more than Nevada, which rates 50th out of 51 states (including the District of Columbia) in voter registration rates. Over 900,000 of 1.6 million eligible Nevadans remain unregistered, including 106,000 of the state’s 199,000 eligible low-income residents. ACORN and Project Vote’s registration drive, by election officials’ own conservative estimate, resulted in over 23,000 new Nevada voters casting a ballot in the 2008 election.
    Project Vote and ACORN are proud of our work helping Americans from historically underrepresented population register to vote. We plan to vigorously defend our work against these specious charges, and other efforts to hinder or stop community-based voter registration programs. We wish only that these Nevada politicians had spent the past seven months working with us to investigate real instances of criminal activity, instead of attempting to justify their continued attacks against ACORN with this absurd and diversionary complaint.
    Michael Slater
    Executive Director

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