LAS VEGAS — The community activist organization Acorn was ordered Wednesday to stand trial on charges that it violated Nevada law by offering bonuses to employees who registered 21 or more new voters in any given shift.
Under Nevada law, it is illegal to attach incentives to voter registration work, in part because doing so gives canvassers a motive to submit fraudulent forms, of which there were thousands resulting from Acorn’s registration drive here in Clark County last year.
In the incentive program, known as “blackjack,” Acorn canvassers who registered 21 or more voters in a shift received a $5 bonus in addition to their $8-an-hour wage.
Acorn officials and Amy Busefink, a former regional supervisor for the group who was also bound over for trial in Wednesday’s ruling, contend that that they were unaware of the program.
But William D. Jansen, the justice of the peace who issued the decision, said he believed the testimony of Christopher H. Edwards, the Las Vegas field officer who came up with the idea and accepted a plea bargain last month to testify for the prosecution.
At a hearing Tuesday, Mr. Edwards described how he and Ms. Busefink had debated whether to make the bonus threshold as high as 26 people registered but had settled on 21 because, Mr. Edwards said, “hey, it’s Las Vegas — it’s blackjack.” (continues here at NYT)