ACORN wasn’t here, Diaz says |

ACORN wasn’t here, Diaz says

Dave Moller
Senior Staff Writer

Members of the ACORN activist group have not been active in Nevada County registering voters to the best knowledge of Clerk-Recorder Gregory Diaz and his staff, who watch over election issues.

ACORN has been accused nationally of voter registration fraud in recent weeks, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has asked Attorney General Jerry Brown to probe the group’s activities in California.

That caused Stan and Elaine Meckler of Nevada County to send Diaz an e-mail asking whether ACORN were active in voter registration here during the cycle leading to the November 2008 general election.

“ACORN did not fill out a statement of distribution plan,” which is needed to register voters in the county, according to Senior Elections Assistant Gail Smith. If they had, the county would have it on record and none exists.

Anyone could register voters in Nevada County by going through the Post Office or by obtaining distribution plans from other California counties, Diaz said.

“Generally, if a group does come in, staff would mention it to me, especially if it was ACORN,” Diaz said. He added he has not heard personally of any ACORN representatives registering voters here.

Although the distribution plans are not public record, Diaz said he would answer the Mecklers’ request or any others about groups registering voters in Nevada County.

The Mecklers formed the Nevada County chapter of the anti-government-spending Tea Party movement sweeping the country, but said their e-mail to Diaz came from them personally and was not tied to the movement’s effort.

The query also was not part of a Republican attempt to vote Diaz out of office, Stan Meckler said.

“We do not take a stance for or against a candidate. That’s national (Tea Party) policy,” Meckler said.

Registered Republican Barry Pruett has taken out preliminary papers to run against Diaz. Pruett has until February to formally declare a candidacy, and he told The Union he is testing the waters to see whether a campaign against Diaz could fly. His wife is Kim Pruett, Rep. Tom McClintock’s field representative for Nevada County.

The Mecklers complained they sent their e-mail to Diaz 18 days prior to Wednesday and had not received a reply.

Diaz said the request had not been sent directly to him, but was found Thursday in a general e-mail mailbox for the Elections Office. The person who handles it has been on vacation, Diaz said.

The clerk-recorder shot an e-mail answer back to the Mecklers later Thursday, apologizing for not responding sooner.

Asked whether he thought he was being targeted by the local GOP, Diaz called the Mecklers’ request for information, “democracy in action.”

To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail or call 477-4237.

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