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Nader's Pennsylvania manager describes his attempts to stop fraudulent signatures

AP reports: The last-minute frenzy to submit nominating petitions by the state's Aug. 2 deadline prevented Ralph Nader's campaign from closely reviewing them, Nader's state campaign coordinator testified Wednesday.

Coordinator Dan Martino said he lacked the staff or time to review the more than 52,000 signatures submitted, many of which are now being tossed out as Nader fights to stay on Pennsylvania's Nov. 2 presidential ballot.

Martino said he did what he could to weed out dubious signatures, once drawing large black X's over all but six of 110 names on a petition.

"I would say I crossed out 104 scribbles," Martino told a three-judge Commonwealth Court panel in Philadelphia on Wednesday.

He said he also witnessed paid signature collectors repeatedly signing each others' petitions - a practice that opposing lawyer Gregory Harvey called "round-robin forgeries" - and scolded them. -- Nader campaign manager describes frenzy to file petitions(AP via TimesLeader.com)


I volunteered to review Nader's petitions in PA. The level of fraud we found was appalling. My first task was going through the petitions for Allegheny County (Pittsburgh), looking signers up in the phone book, and calling them to verify whether they knew what they had signed. Less than half of the people I reached even realized the petition had anything to do with Nader.

If that sounds weird, keep in mind that Nader's campaign printed up a bunch of hard-to-read petitions (tiny font, single-spaced wall of text, only 6 signature lines on the first page so the rest of the petition didn't have ANYTHING saying what it was about). Then they hired a bunch of students and homeless people to get signatures, offering them $1/signature--they put ads up saying "STUDENTS! EARN $200 DAY!" --but as the students and homeless people discovered, the only way to earn anywhere near that much was to lie about what the petition was about.

Of the petition signers I called, more than half of them were anywhere from surprised or outraged that their name was on a pro-Nader petition. They told me the petition circulators had said things like, "Sign here to help the environment," "sign here to beat Bush," "Sign here to verify that you're a registered voter," etc. The worst one I heard was from a union steamfitter who told me that he had had the following exchange with the petition circulator:
Circulator - "Are you a registered voter?"
Steamfitter - "Heck yeah, I'm a Democrat!"
Circulator - "Great! Sign here to block Nader this November!"

But it's not even just about fraud on the part of the petition circulators. People at Nader's campaign HQ routinely went through petitions and filled in any missing information -- such as city and state, or date of signature -- that signers frequently left out; they even wrote in made-up first names where people had written only their initials. Under PA law the petition signer has to write all the information or else the signature is invalid; but at Nader HQ they didn't seem to mind committing FRAUD if it helped their candidate get his greasy paws on PA taxpayers' money (which is the only reason he wants on the ballot--he knows as well as anyone else that his supporters can write his name in if they want to.)

The New York Times and the Pittsburgh Post Gazette have run stories about the situation here in PA. It would be worth looking them up to get a fuller picture of just how lowdown Nader has been here. (I don't have the links right now, but the stories shouldn't be hard to find).