Bradbury plans to investigate election complaint
By RUKMINI CALLIMACHI
The Associated Press
10/13/2004, 12:33 a.m. PT
PORTLAND, Oregon (AP) — Secretary of State Bill Bradbury and Attorney General Hardy Myers plan to investigate allegations that a paid canvasser might have destroyed voter registration forms.
“There have been allegations made that someone threw out some voter registration forms that had been submitted to them,” Bradbury told The Associated Press late Tuesday. “This is a violation of the law and I will meet with the attorney general in the morning to talk about what we can do to pursue this, and to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Bradbury learned of the conduct from KGW-TV, which interviewed Mike Johnson, 20, a canvasser who said he was instructed to only accept Republican registration forms. He told the TV reporter that he “might” destroy forms turned in by Democrats.
“I have never in my five years as secretary of state ever seen an allegation like the one that came up tonight — ever,” Bradbury said. “I mean, frankly, it just totally offends me that someone would take someone else’s registration and throw it out.”
Bradbury said the law requires that groups registering voters submit forms no later than five days after they were filled out. He added that canvassers can’t turn away a voter because of his or her party affiliation.
Rory Smith, a spokeswoman for the Republican Party in Oregon, said the young man interviewed by KGW-TV was not in their rolls. “We do not condone this type of behavior,” Smith told the Portland-based station.
In Nevada earlier Tuesday, KLAS-TV, a CBS affiliate, interviewed an employee of a private voter registration organization who said hundreds — perhaps thousands — of Democratic registration forms had been destroyed.
Eric Russell, a former Voters Outreach of America employee, told the TV station he had personally witnessed his supervisor take out Democratic registration forms from the pile and shred them.
The company has been largely funded by the Republican National Committee, the station reported.
A spokesman for the Las Vegas bureau of the FBI said he did not know if an investigation had been initiated.