Florida's Republican governor discounts ACORN charges

TALLAHASSEE — Breaking with the talking points of his fellow Republicans in Washington, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist said he doesn't think voter fraud and the vote-registration group Acorn are a major problem in the Sunshine State.

''I think that there's probably less [fraud] than is being discussed. As we're coming into the closing days of any campaign, there are some who enjoy chaos,'' Crist told reporters.

Crist made his comments as the Republican National Committee hosted a conference call with reporters on Wednesday to tie Democrat Barack Obama to suspicious voter-registration cards submitted by Acorn across the nation and in four Florida counties.

In one case in Broward County, an unknown person attempted to re-register a longtime voter named Susan S. Glenckman. Broward officials caught the error in August when it was brought to their attention by Acorn.

During the Wednesday Republican conference call, national party spokesman Danny Diaz also focused on a case out of Orange County, in which someone used an Acorn-stamped voter-registration card to sign up Mickey Mouse.

But Crist's Republican Secretary of State, Kurt Browning, said he doesn't think Acorn is committing systematic voter fraud. And Crist said that settles the matter because ''I have enormous confidence'' in Browning.

Like Acorn spokesmen, Browning says the false voter registration forms could be blamed on unethical canvassers or on citizens who themselves fill out fictitious voter cards.

Elections officials point out that while voter-registration fraud is relatively easy, vote fraud is far more difficult because a criminal would have to evade multiple layers of computer-system and identity checks. They also say the system is not overwhelmed with phony registrations, as Diaz suggested during the conference call.

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