Thank you to Michele Ellson of The Island for tracking down this report on the abuses of paid-signature gatherers, including Arno Political Consulting, the group providing the pen people here in Alameda. Here are a couple of excerpts from the report on questionable tactics used by Arno – some of which Alameda residents may recognize.
Summary of Fraud Accusations
Arno accused of hiring circulators who lied to the public
Arno accused of violating Oregon’s law prohibiting pay circulators by the number of signatures they collect
Arno was hired to circulate I-841, an initiative which would overturn the state’s ergonomics law. Circulators were overheard telling voters that the law would means that “carpet layers and dry wallers who came to work at 8:00 a.m. would have to quit by 10:00 am” and that “Laborers could only lift one load weighing more than 75pounds.” Circulators even insinuated that the new ergonomics law would mean that “Mariners catcher Dan Wilson might not even be able to catch an entire game.”
Obviously the new ergonomics laws would not have resulted in any of these things, but circulators will often tell anything to voters in order to get signatures.
Arno hired circulators who submitted fraudulent petitions
Arno hired circulators who submitted petitions with signatures from the dead
Arno accused of illegally registering 4000 college students as Republicans
Arno accused of training circulator in “bait-and-switch” tactics
Arno accused of hiring circulators who tricked voters into signing petition
Arno hosted a ‘fraud party’ where circulators were taught to forge signatures onto petitions
Arno circulated a draft of TASC which did not correspond to the initiative submitted to the Secretary of State
Arno accused of violating Oregon’s law prohibiting paying circulators by the number of signatures they collect