Ballot Battle Popping in Indiana

"They are trying to make this a racial issue," says John Curley, chairman of the Lake County Republicans. "Meanwhile, the voting activist group ACORN is bringing in massive amounts of registrations that are mostly phony."

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, which works to register low-income people, told the Associated Press in Connecticut that such complaints are part of a coordinated effort by Republicans to discredit its voter registration drives across the nation.

But Curley believes the federal litigation distracts from the issue of voter fraud that has plagued his county before.

He points to hundreds of voter registration forms that have arrived in the mail, which he claims are "mostly fraudulent."

One application was delivered in August and signed by a Jimmy Johns of 10839 Broadway. The application is signed and dated, but calls to the phone number listed on the application reveal that it is for a Jimmy Johns restaurant in Crown Point.

A waiter at the restaurant said there was no Jimmy Johns at that address, adding that "It's a huge chain of restaurants."

Curley also provided an application for one Levy McIntosh of Gary, Ind. He said McIntosh is dead and provided a reporter with the death certificate on file with the same address listed on the voter application.

The date of birth on the two different forms varies by two years.

"More states are offering absentee balloting now," says Terri Ennis, a senior fellow of election law at Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University.

"It's in response to the inconvenience of 2004 with long lines," she says. "It's more convenient."

But since the landmark Bush v. Gore case transformed the 2000 presidential election, there has been an increase in the use of litigation to attempt to affect the outcome of elections.

"On the one hand, it's good to do this litigation as far in advance of the election as possible," Ennis says. "Every piece of election litigation always boils down to access versus fraud prevention."

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