Judge Denies Re-opening Voter Registration

(Oct. 15) -- A district court judge late Friday afternoon turned down a request from the Democratic Party to re-open voter registration in Clark County.

The whole thing stems from a story of alleged voter fraud first reported by Eyewitness News. Eric Russell, a former employee of Voters Outreach of America, said he witnessed registration forms from Democrats being trashed.

This morning, Judge Valerie Adair basically accepted as fact that voter registration forms had been destroyed by someone and that an unknown number of voters were in danger of being disenfranchised as a result. But by Friday afternoon, it was a much different story.

Judge Adair had told the two parties in the case -- the Democratic Party and the elections dept., to go away and hammer out an agreement that would satisfy both, something along the lines of a one day, restricted re-opening of voter registration that would be available to persons who felt they had been scammed by private registration companies.

She told them to cut a deal and to come back in the afternoon. When they came back, there was no discussion of the deal. Instead, the judge ruled from the bench, saying there wasn't a lot of proof.

She said of the five torn up registrations, only two were legitimate and such a small number did not warrant re-opening voter registration. She said she needed more concrete evidence and added, "This will create additional fraud and manipulation."

During the morning hearing, Judge Adair had accepted the premise that egregious acts had been committed by someone in the destruction of registration forms. By later, she said the allegations were unsubstantiated, even though she chose not to hear testimony or to ask questions about other documentation that was offered to the court.

A spokesman for the Democratic Party said, "The judge invited those individual voters who were disenfranchised to file their own suits, which, if it occur, could drag out this dispute well beyond the election." It appears unlikely the party will appeal any further.


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