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Politics

McCrory cites faulty news reports in attacking group's registration efforts

The organization called Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, credits itself for helping register about 28,000 new voters in North Carolina, and 1.3 million nationwide. The group targets low-income voters who, presumably, will vote Democrat. But the organization's efforts are being attacked by Republican presidential nominee John McCain and North Carolina gubernatorial candidate Pat McCrory. McCrory's campaign issued a press release that calls on his opponent, Democrat Beverly Perdue, to demand that ACORN "stop registering voters in North Carolina illegally." In a news released titled "FBI investigates organization supporting Perdue," McCrory's campaign cited an Investor's Business Daily editorial and referred to news reports that said the FBI has raided ACORN offices in North Carolina and Nevada. But those news reports are wrong. The FBI hasn't raided an ACORN office in North Carolina, or anywhere else, and no federal warrants have been filed that would indicate a raid. "There's no truth to it at all," added Pat McCoy, ACORN's North Carolina director. A raid did occur in Las Vegas, but that was conducted by the Nevada Secretary of State's office. ACORN's Las Vegas office became the subject of an investigation after it turned in voter registration forms that included the names of Tony Romo and Terrell Owens of the Dallas Cowboys. Neither are residents of Nevada. In North Carolina, the state Board of Elections is reviewing 100 voter registration forms that ACORN collected and filed with Durham County elections officials. Mike Ashe, the director of the Durham County Board of Elections, told the Raleigh News and Observer that he "started seeing the same names over and over again" with different addresses and birth dates. McCoy, ACORN's North Carolina Director, acknowledges there are problems with those forms, but says they're the exception. "There's a suggestion out there that somehow we're trying to pad the rolls and folks are going to sneak in and cast an illegal ballot, and this is ludicrous," McCoy says. Mecklenburg County Board of Elections director Mike Dickerson agrees such a scenario is unlikely. "I don't want anyone to think we blow this stuff off, but keep in mind that North Carolina's voter registration database has a system of verifying either through an ID, a driver's license and last four digits of a Social Security number. If that number doesn't match, you're not going to have all these fraudulent registrations in the voter registration rolls," Dickerson says. Dickerson says his office has found a problem with only one new voter registration form. He says about 75,000 had been filed as of Oct. 1. He expects the number to exceed 80,000.