Nader Ballot Fraud, Part 3 (EXCLUSIVE)

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

There's been a lot of chatter out there about the fraud and forgery that's alleged to have been committed by some of the pro-Nader folks.

Rather than continue to speculate on what's happening out there, BlueOregon has obtained scanned copies of some of the petition sheets in question - as well as some of the legal correspondence between SEIU's attorney, the Nader campaign, and the Secretary of State. See for yourself.

The Nader campaign says that SEIU used "gangster tactics" in its investigation. Take a look at the letter below and decide for yourself.

So why send the letters in the first place? We asked SEIU Local 49 chief Alice Dale, and here's what she said:

"In an attempt to understand the full scope of the fraud problem, last Thursday we mailed letters to 59 circulators. Two were delivered in person. Also, paid signature gatherers often travel from state to state, following the campaigns that pay the most, and time was of the essence."
"Unfortunately, petition circulators are often unaware that falsifying signatures is a serious enough crime that they could be liable for heavy fines or even jail. To the extent that they are being encouraged to engage in these fraudulent activities, they deserve to know the risk that they are in."
"Additionally, it was our hope that one or two honest circulators would step forth and tell us if we were on the right track. So far, unfortunately, all we have received is a cease and desist letter from the Nader for President Campaign and a groundless harassment complaint against us. The Oregon secretary of State responded to the campaign clearly: our inquiries are not harassment. And it is our position that each of us as electors has responsibility to stand up against initiative fraud. In fact, it is only by citizen complaint that initiative fraud is investigated at all."

Without further ado, here's the original documents...

Note: Feel free to distribute and publish, but please credit BlueOregon.com as your source. Thank you.

First, some of the petition sheets:

Second, illustrations (by SEIU) that show where some addresses listed really are:

Third, the legal correspondence:

UPDATE, 8/19: See today's post... GOP Helping Nader Circulate Petitions

Comments

  • (Show?)

    Nice- I love the address illustrations. SEIU attorney probably laughed at the letter from the Theresa Amato.

  • k-dog (unverified)
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    Of course there are forgeries when people desperate to make the ballot hire people desperate to make a buck. It's really sad that the Nader campaign would exploit homeless people by paying 75 cents a signature instead of relying on actual volunteer supporters.

    I guess that's the bottom line on three different botched attempts to make the ballot: without fraud and republican suport, the Nader folks just don't have enough real supporters.

  • mike (unverified)
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    In Oregon many petitioners are paid to collect signatures this is not odd, illegal, or unethical. The fact that they may be homeless is not funny, proof of cheating or even relevant The fact that someone cheated is not a motive or principle that the Nader Camp is following or encouraging even in the slightest way. The fact is in many states the Dem party is suing and trying every legal and unethical trick they can, to prevent the Nader Party from being on the ballots across the Nation. The fact that the Dem party has gone to Benson High school to try and be counted as a potential signer to get Ralph on the ballot then refuse to sign is more proof of the dirty ploys being used to keep Ralf off the ballot even such as: What may of happened by the smear campaign that the Dems & the SEUI are inferring when in fact it most likely was done by a pro-kerry voter or just a plain-ol-scammer. If you don’t know by now Ralph & co are honest and concerned about the truth and fairness. Plain as day & has always been that way. If people are sabotaging the political process it is Nader haters that are most likely causing “more problems”. When I see the post and immature attitude on this issue from ant-Nader type people that have viscous vendettas and are quick to scream, “he is cheating” or are working daily to keep him off the ballot the sincerity is eroded from BlueOregon stance that Nader is behind this type of charades. Actually the Law firm has paid people $$ to go door to door. These info gathers are desperate, hungry, jobless, and politically motivated to prove a false trumped up farce against Nader all with the intentions of keeping him off the ballot and at any cost …..I think they are scared and getting desperate it shows by this hogwash accusations that BlueOregon is pushing. Who is motivated to push this hogwash…? I will tell you ….kerry voters that is who. To bad we cant vote with out corruption and accusations and finger pointing or by law firms and Democrats cheating and inferring slanderous outrageous accusations. May the TRUTH prevail.

  • (Show?)

    FWIW, if it matters, the circulator's name is blacked out on SEIU's letter to him, but is not blacked out in the SOS response to the Nader camp's complaint.

  • Codobad (unverified)
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    I'm sorry. I was referred to this website via portland.indymedia.org. At first I didn't get that "BlueOregon" is a Democratic website. (It says its for "progressive Oregonians".) I searched the site for reports of fraud by Democrats or Republicans at the Nader convention, but didn't find any. I was going to ask if anyone had investigated that, as you've ostensibly done about Nader petitions.

    I guess you wouldn't be doing that. (Even if I'd realized at first that the "blue" meant "Democrat", I wouldn't have assumed that it was vehemently anti-third party.) Sorry to waste your time. I'll go vote for somebody who doesn't have to be anti-democratic to pursue "progressive" goals, (like NAFTA, the Patriotic Act and war???). (Heck, at this point I think I'll be looking for candidates who are at least progressive OR democratic.)

  • Rob (unverified)
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    Being President is a crappy job. What exactly are the motivations of someone to want to obtain that office? There is only one that you can hope for and that is nobility. Now considering the mudslinging campaigns that you are witnessing and with the two major candidates having to take incredible paycuts to enter into this position (as far as personal wealth), can you possibly beleive that either one is persuing that position out of nobility? Or would it be power? Nader has proven his whole life that his causes are carried out through nobility, most often without pay. That said, if a noble man running for the office of President is in the process of jumping through unbelievable hoops designed block the changing of the status quo...under whose order would the SEIU work to keep that noble man off the ballot?

  • Suzii (unverified)
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    Hey, k-dog, is that true about Nader petitioners being paid by the signature? I thought that was illegal in Oregon -- or does that law apply "only to initiative, referendum or recall petitions, not candidate nominating petitions," as Summer Davis would say?

  • Dave (unverified)
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    In the spirit of full disclosure, I am a Kerry supporter. That being said, I do not think it is an unethical tactic by Democrats to make sure that Nader has complied with the letter of the law in each state he wants to be on the ballot for President.

    If the Nader campaign has an issue it is with the regulations that each state has put in place. (presumably feeling it is in the public interest that we do not have hundreds of presidential candidates to choose from on the ballot every 4 years).

    Now if you do not agree with that states regulations then try to change the regulations in the leglislature not by commiting fraud to circumvent the current law. We need to uphold our election laws and rules because if we do not people will be disenfranchised at the ballot box.

    Remember, even if your candidate does not get on the ballot you can still vote for him/her as a "write in candidate" if you so choose in most states or simply choose another 3rd party candidate to voice your opposition to the two candidates in the Democratic and Republican parties.

    Dave

  • Mike D (unverified)
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    What's more likely:

    Nader supporters clumsily forging signatures with fake addresses that can be easily checked...

    OR

    Kerry supporters deliberately signing multiple petitions and/or using fake addresses, etc. then having a press conferences shouting "Look Fraud!" After all this is the same group that sabotaged the Nader convention--filling the room to over capacity and then refusing sign the ballot petition.

    And now the intimidation of petition gathers...really it's over the line...are they THAT unsure of Kerry...that he can't win on his own merit?

  • (Show?)

    Are you so delusional about Nader that you think he can win on his merits?

  • (Show?)

    Worthy

    It's sad to me to think that we're still playing this "are you worthy to be called liberal" game. If liberals ("progressives" if you prefer) ever want to position themselves to set the agenda for America, we've got to get beyond the tiny compartments we've built for ourselves. Either we go back to the "big tent" philosophy of the progressive era, or we choose to marginalize our voices in all their small, squabbling variety.

    Let's argue about policy, not who's worthy. Naderites and the vast majority of Kerryites want the same things. Let's have a discussion about how to join together to forward a truly liberal agenda. This isn't Ralph's year to carry it.

    (This from a two-time, unabashed, unrepentant Nader voter.)

  • (Show?)

    Codobad, I think you'll note that my post is entirely devoid of editorial content. My goal is to get folks to stop speculating about the content of these controversial petitions - and look at them directly. You can decide for yourself.

    If you, or anyone, has any more evidence that should be added to the public record, at BlueOregon we're ready to post it.

    That's the advantage of the medium - traditional newspapers can't publish all the pages and pages of original source materials, but we can.

  • PanchoPdx (unverified)
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    I looked at all the scanned examples and my reaction is:

    So what?

    You can find some bad activities in every major signature gathering effort. The unions had employees forging signatures out of a phone book when they were putting their measures on the ballot in 2002.

    Nothing in this post suggests that Nader's campaign was part of these violations. And so far, nothing suggests that they are pervasive enough to keep him off the ballot.

    This is all about tainting his campaign.

  • anna (unverified)
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    nice work, folks!

  • (Show?)
    Kerry supporters deliberately signing multiple petitions and/or using fake addresses, etc. then having a press conferences shouting "Look Fraud!"

    Are you saying that Nader petition gatherers aren't paying attention when people sign the petitions?

    Nothing in this post suggests that Nader's campaign was part of these violations.

    If the Nader campaign paid these signature gatherers and these people were gathering signatures on behalf of the campaign, then the campaign is implicated.

  • (Show?)

    So I'm over on Salon getting my morning fix and I find this short article on the Nader/Dem WWF smackdown by Geraldine Sealy. She links to Blue Oregon at the end of the piece.

    Way to go gang!

    Pat

  • PanchoPdx (unverified)
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    Kenji said-

    "If the Nader campaign paid these signature gatherers and these people were gathering signatures on behalf of the campaign, then the campaign is implicated."

    So that's how it works.

    So if the Democratic Party of Oregon nominated Neil Goldschmidt to represent their values in elective office....?

    It is easy to engage in guilt by association for political purposes. Go ahead and do it if you want, but you agenda is transparent.

    If you have never run a petition drive, you have no idea how hard it is to keep track of 100+ paid gatherers. Ideally the SoS and the AG would really punish the bad actors for misdeeds whenever they get turned in, but the SOP is to threaten the people at the top for political purposes.

    At the end of the day there is only one question that matters: Were there enough valid signatures submitted to put Nader on the ballot?

    The misdeeds of a few gatherers, have nothing to do with the legitimate political expression of real petition signers. You just wish it were so.

  • (Show?)

    Pancho, with no editorial comment from me, I'll just point out that SEIU is alleging something different than what you're saying. They're alleging that there's so many problem petitions that there is systemic abuse.

    The allegation is NOT that there's a few bad petitions here and there. The allegation is that some two-thirds of all signatures are bad.

    The defense "this happens in all petition drives" isn't valid here - most petition drives don't have a 65% forgery rate, even alleged.

    Now, I haven't examined all the signatures myself (and don't intend to) so I can't say who's right here - but the petition folks have yet to submit any data/evidence to the contrary. (And, yes, I've called them and asked them to send me info.)

  • new to oregon (unverified)
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    Is it true that the only thing that matters in the end is the number of "valid" signatures? Is someone going to check every signature to determine it's validity?

  • Frank Bearcub (unverified)
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    Petitions "G" and "E" are petitions I personally circulated. It is very hard to be absoloutly sure that any particular individual signing the petition has not already signed before. I make a point to ask voters "have you signed this petition already?" It is now known that there was a group of individuals loitering near the Pioneer Square whom would sign any petition they could get their hands on as many times as they found the opportunity. I don't know if these idiots thought it was funny or perhaps they were influenced by others to sign the petition multiple times. What I do know is that unlike a state initative petition the "Chief Sponser Petition" does not contain the legal language warning against signing the petition more than once. I am unclear on if signing this petition more than once is even a violation of the law. At any rate, I strive for 100% validity every time I take to the street.

  • (Show?)
    It is easy to engage in guilt by association for political purposes. Go ahead and do it if you want, but you agenda is transparent.

    I wouldn't call it "guilt by association." I'd call it an employer/employee relationship or an independent contractor relationship.

  • Richard G. Elliott (unverified)
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    Nader should have to follow, as should all would-be candidates, the letter of the law. Having said that, I should also like to add the thought that the Noble Ralph Nader, consumer advocate whom we all admired is long gone, replaced by a Narcissist who is intent on punishing the Democratic Party for heresy. He doesn't care a damn about the Republicans, since they are heathens and heresy is always punished much more severely than is paganism. RGE

  • kewlclick (unverified)
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    According to the County Election Official's certification signed on each petition the over-all validity of the sample posted here is 58%. While this seems a low rate it is actually consistant with validity rates of petitions circulated in metro areas around the country. It needs to be pointed out that this particular petition will be subjected to 100% verification. Each and every signature will be scrutinized by a county election official, unlike other state petitions where only a random sample is verified. This means that all of the excitement over invalid signatures, whatever the reason for their invalidity, is moot. 15,306 signatures from Oregon voters will be certified by county election officials in various counties around the state. The forgeries, the duplicates, the non-registered voters; none of these will count. They will be thrown out and those stupid enough to engage in fraudulent activities will be dealt with. That is the fantastic benefit of 100% verification. So, miss me with all of the whining about how Nader supporters are cheating their way on to the ballot. The reality is that all of the valid signatures will count, and the invalid ones will not.

  • PanchoPdx (unverified)
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    Allege all you want Kari. The elections officials are going to check every signature and throw out any duplicates.

    Let me ask you folks: does it really seem so unlikely that the Nader folks could gather about 16000 valid signatures in a statewide drive over 5 weeks?

    The Christians gathered a quarter of a million signatures during that time. The people doing the Multnomah Co. Tax repeal gathered 16000+ valid in a month.

    I have a few predictions:

    Nader will make the ballot in Oregon because he'll turn in enough valid signatures (provided the counties don't try to sit on them and run out the clock).

    SEIU will continue raise clamor about voter fraud in an attempt to taint the Nader campaign, but the SoS/AG won't do anything serious about the guilty gatherers (forging signatures is an up to 5-year in prison felony, I have yet to see a guilty gatherer spend more than a few days in jail).

    When this is all over, the unions will have developed a new set of real political enemies on their left.

  • M. Tabor (unverified)
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    Nice point "Kewclick" And "PanchoPdx" too

    You two seem the most knowledgeable in this forum The antics of the SEIU reek of nosey/spin/intimidation tactics. Let them throw mud, Big Deal it is all transparent. The truth will prevail. Count the good ones throw the rest out. Meanwhile let the SEUI show its immaturity. Lets count all those good valid signatures that will help put a choice on the ballot, Let BlueOregon push for their duopoly that the Democrat party is dangling on to. And get ready for the debates …..It’s going to be good ps I'm seriously looking into not supporting any more SEUI agendas after this charade

  • (Show?)

    "Let BlueOregon push for their duopoly that the Democrat party is dangling on to."

    Once again, let's be precise here: BlueOregon isn't pushing for anything. It's a community website, not a person, not an organization. BlueOregon takes no positions, nor endorses any candidates. BlueOregon has partisan Dems and unrepetant Naderites among its 25 contributors. And anyone can comment.

    My post also doesn't do anything but report other people's allegations. I have my own views (of course), but I've been keeping them to myself.

  • k-dog (unverified)
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    The reality is that all of the valid signatures will count, and the invalid ones will not. -- kewlick

    That's such bullshit.

    The county is set up to validate signatures as belonging to registered voters, with emphasis on the second part. The presumption is that the signatures are valid unless the match is horrendous, and even then it is rechecked to make sure no one is disenfranchised.

    This system is not designed to catch fraud other than incidentally as a result of bad signature matches.

    Bad addresses don't invalidate signatures, nor does SEIU's ability to demonstrate that 25% of the addresses listed DON'T EXIST AT ALL. If the name belongs to a voter, the county counts it. Until the SEIU story broke, Multnomah wasn't even checking for duplicate signatures. Now they are, which apparently resulted in the drop from 70% validity to 57%.

    Still, the county has no way of knowing whether the signatures they receive were copied from old sheets, or whether people have moved, if they died (SEIU has found two dead people among the 600 signatures they've checked) or if the address even exists.

    Clerks are instructed to check each signature line by line, so even on pages which all are obviously written in the same handwriting, there can be one or several false "matches" where the handwriting is close enough in the clerks opinion not to toss.

    Worse, forgers often work in groups, passing the sheets around as they copy from the phone book or old sheets. This greatly increases the chance that signatures will not be tossed. Even if the county clerk happens to notice the same pattern of penmanship or ink color across sheets, the requirement is always that signatures get checked line by line, so it doesn't matter.

    Oregonians voted to outlaw pay-by-signature for ballot measure campaigns to help deal with the incentive for fraud that naturally occurs under a bounty system. The Nader campaign exploited the loophole that left candidate petitions outside of that law. Paying 75 cents a signature to homeless people is an admission of lack of volunteer support, and a shameful incentive to the fraud SEIU has uncovered.

    It's sad that it takes an independent investigation to put sunlight on these dark alley operations, and shameful that the Nader campaign knowingly turned in signatures they had reason to believe were false.

    If Nader makes the ballot, it will be by fraud and deceit, not the honest support of 15,000 Oregonians, which is the legal requirement. The old Nader would have been on the side of SEIU exposing fraud, not defending it.

  • M. Tabor (unverified)
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    what is really a sham(e) is that he has to go through this charade and from state to state & jump through various hoops to just get on the ballot. Oh well thank-goodness we can write him on Election Day anyway

  • (Show?)

    There is nothing illegal or wrong about Democrats attending Nader's nominating convention. The convention is open to all registered voters. Keeping out people because they are Democrats would be illegal.

    Showing up at the convention didn't keep Nader from getting enough people. The room was't full, so there was still plenty of room for more people. It's not as if having some Dems there kept Nader supporters from participating. Had enough of them shown up and come in at the appointed time, Nader would've been on the ballot.

    The fact is that not enough Nader supporters showed up. And not only that, people were illegally signing other people's names to the sheets. These violations were reported the following business day.

    These laws and statutues were nothing new-- when you go through the process of submitting a petition for circulation you agree to certain rules. You can't then argue later that you didn't know about those rules. They're public and open and you should definitely make sure you know and follow all the rules before turning in your petitions.

    Comparing Nader to a tax repeal or a measure based on morals is even worse than comparing apples to oranges-- it's comparing apples to penguins. You're always going to find plenty of people who will sign a petition for a tax repeal. And it only takes getting the membership of a few churches in the state to sign petitions to get a morality based measure on the ballot. Nader doesn't have the same type of following to pull from. His supporters typically make up under 10% of the population. However, those against higher taxes and those against gay marriage make up between a third and a half of the population.

  • (Show?)

    Doesn't the Pacific Green Party of Oregon actually have a candidate for POTUS on the general ballot? Wasn't it Peter Camejo? Help me out, litmus-test progressives!

    Is anyone on here who is pimping St. Ralph an actual, registered Green? Or, to bastardize a soccer chant:

    Are you wingnuts, Are you wingnuts, Are you wingnuts In disguise?

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