Inmates Helped ACORN Gather Voter Registrations - 8 News NOW

Mark Sayre, Reporter

Inmates Helped ACORN Gather Voter Registrations

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The governor's office says it got a lot of calls following allegations of voter fraud with a group called ACORN. People were worried about the integrity of the registration process. Governor Gibbons has now requested an outline of how poll workers are trained.

Meanwhile, Eyewitness News has learned convicted prisoners were working for the community organization.

At Casa Grande, inmates who have demonstrated good behavior are allowed to leave the premises for work. The Department of Corrections outsources job placement to a private group called Choices, based on Valley View.

According to the affidavit in support of Tuesday's search warrant, it was Choices which first contacted ACORN to discuss inmate placement.

"What happened was Casa Grande, which is a rehabilitation program that is part of the Nevada Department of Corrections, approached us this summer and said, 'Hey, we've got this rehab program we would like to offer these inmates to work with you as your employees,'" said Matthew Henderson with ACORN.

But state law appears to bar inmates from such work. It says inmates may not "have control over or access to personal information" such as what is contained in a voter registration form.

ACORN denies they approached Casa Grande for workers and say it was state officials that broke the law by coming to them.

"I think it is very concerning that a group that is out there registering would contract with inmates from the Nevada Department of Corrections, some of whom I believe may have been convicted of identity theft related crimes," said Secretary of State Ross Miller.

When the Department of Corrections learned of this in July, the department says,

"We immediately contacted the Choices Group and asked them to terminate all work release inmates working for the ACORN organization.

"We then initiated an internal investigation through our department's inspector general's office.

"At the time, we were unaware of any potential issues with the ACORN organization or voter fraud."

Choices did not respond to requests for comment. The State Board of Prison Commissioners will receive a report on this situation at a meeting next week.

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