Monday, October 31, 2005

More Election Antics at the Detroit Clerks Office

The Detroit News has a special report regarding some questionable activites by the Detroit's Clerk's office and the head of that Office, Betty Currie.

Included among the irregularities found are:
• At the Passion Caring Home for the Elderly, three people who voted absentee in the August primary could not name the mayor of Detroit or recall having voted when interviewed Thursday. Each was helped by Currie's election assistant in a private room. Of eight recent absentee ballots mailed to the home for the general election next month, seven of the ballot recipients have been declared legally incapacitated by Wayne County Probate Court judges and suffer from dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

• People who were mailed absentee voter applications by Currie's office and later voted by absentee ballot have voter registration addresses of two long-abandoned nursing homes, the LaSalle Nursing Home on West Grand Boulevard and the Woodward Nursing Center.

• In one case, Joseph Koziara voted by absentee ballot. His application for the ballot was addressed to his registered voting address, 3456 Martin, a building that was demolished in 2002 and remains a vacant lot, according to city records. Currie's office has addressed ballot applications to demolished and vacant buildings. In one case, 34 applications were sent to a juvenile detention center for teenagers that need to be hospitalized.

• Two people in unrelated civil cases filed against Currie have given sworn statements that they witnessed Currie's workers filling out empty absentee ballots after the polls had closed. One of the cases is pending. In the other, a judge ruled that there wasn't enough evidence to invalidate the election in question.

• In a 2003 race between Cheryl Cushingberry and Keith Williams for the Wayne County Commission, a fire broke out in the Detroit clerk's counting room for absentee ballots. When people were allowed back in, a recount was impossible because ballot boxes and results had been tampered with, according to court records. Cushingberry later challenged the results, alleging absentee votes had been manipulated.

In addition, Detroit's absentee voting rate is over 30%, the national average for absentees is 14%. The obvious potential for fraud, if not actual fraud is clear.

Currie's response to the allegations of impropriety, not to mention outright fraud:
""Prove it," Currie said. "P-R-O-V-E.""

Hardly reassuring.

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