Now Updated Many Times at Bottom of Article...
By John Gideon on 10/19/2008, 2:04pm PT  

This just in as Brad is headed over to the FOX News studios. Yesterday the Los Angeles Times reported on the Republican voter registration outfit who had allegedly been illegally changing thousands of registrations from Democratic to Republican.

Last night the head of that GOP backed group, Mark Anthony Jacoby of Young Political Majors (YPM), was arrested by the California State Election Fraud Taskforce and Oxnard, CA Police.

According to CA SoS Debra Bowen's press release, Jacoby himself had committed voter registration fraud and perjury by lying on his own voter registration form. (That's similar to what Ann Coulter did, though she not only committed felony voter registration fraud, she also committed actual voter fraud, as well, even though such fraud is exceedingly rare.)

UPDATE FROM BRAD: It was my pleasure to break this story today on Fox "News" of all places! Thanks to John Gideon for getting it posted as I was on the roll towards the studio. I'll have the video up of my appearance on Fox, and the "Fox News Alert" I was able to do, later tonight (it's now posted here). Please note, this isn't the first time there have been serious problems with GOP-gathered voter registrations in CA, as outlined recently at Alternet. Looks like the GOP's voter registration record for errors far outpaced ACORN! Whaddaya know? (Our special coverage of the GOP's ACORN "Voter Fraud" Hoax is right here.) More updates now at bottom of article.

Bowen's press release, just out, on Jacoby's arrest is posted in full below, along with a number of additional updates after it...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 19, 2008
CONTACT: Kate Folmar (916) 208-6521

Secretary of State Debra Bowen Announces Arrest
of Man Charged with Voter Registration Fraud

SACRAMENTO – The owner of a signature-gathering firm that works across California was arrested in Ontario today on suspicion of committing voter registration fraud, Secretary of State Debra Bowen announced.

Mark Anthony Jacoby, who owns the firm known as Young Political Majors (YPM), was arrested after allegedly registering himself to vote, once in 2006 and again in 2007, at an address where did not live. An investigation by the Secretary of State’s Election Fraud Investigation Unit revealed that Jacoby twice registered to vote at the address of a childhood home in Los Angeles although he no longer lived there.

The Secretary of State’s fraud unit and the Ontario Police Department arrested Jacoby near an Ontario hotel just before midnight Saturday. An arraignment date has not been scheduled yet.

“Voter registration fraud is a serious issue, which is why I vigorously investigate all allegations of elections fraud,” said Secretary Bowen, California’s chief elections officer. “Where there’s a case to be made, I will forward it to law enforcement for criminal prosecution.”

For his business, Jacoby traveled California and a number of other states collecting petition signatures and registering voters. Under state law, signature-gatherers must sign a declaration stating that they are either registered to vote in California or that they are eligible to do so. Jacoby allegedly registered to vote at his childhood address to meet this legal requirement.

Under California law, it is a felony punishable by up to three years in prison to register yourself when you are not entitled to vote and it is perjury to provide false information on a voter registration card.

On October 3, the Public Integrity Unit of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office charged Jacoby with four felonies: two counts of voter registration fraud and two counts of perjury. A warrant was issued for his arrest and bail was set at $50,000.

“This arrest wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of the Ontario Police Department and Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley’s office,” Secretary Bowen said. “I thank them both.”

The Secretary of State’s Election Fraud Investigation Unit helps maintain the integrity of the electoral process by investigating allegations of election and voter fraud in California. Potential Elections Code violations brought to the unit’s attention are thoroughly investigated and referred to law enforcement officials for prosecution when there is sufficient evidence of wrongdoing. The Secretary of State’s office does not disclose information about the status of ongoing criminal investigations, but the information from a case that results in a criminal complaint filed by a county or state prosecutor is a public record.

Anyone who has witnessed a violation of the California Elections Code is encouraged to contact the Secretary of State’s Election Fraud Investigation Unit at (800) 345-VOTE or http://www.sos.ca.gov/el...ions/elections_fraud.htm.

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More updates from Brad...

UPDATE: Los Angeles Times covers the arrest here, and notes:

Jacoby's arrest by state investigators and the Ontario Police Department comes after dozens of voters said they were duped into registering as Republicans by his firm, Young Political Majors, or YPM. The voters said YPM tricked them by saying they were signing a petition to toughen penalties against child molesters. The firm was paid $7 to $12 for every Californian it registered as a member of the GOP.

The YPM firm has been under investigation for similar unlawful activities in a number of states. Nobody who runs ACORN, despite the nonsense you've heard on Fox, CNN, MSNBC, etc. has ever been arrested, to our knowledge.

UPDATE 10:24pm PT I've been able to learn from a source that Jacoby is free on bail tonight, and apparently staying at a La Quinta (instead of his "home", which is actually his mother's home, where he is alleged to have registered illegally to vote).

Also, "Mrs. Panstreppon" at dKos notes:

Mark A Jacoby got into hot water with Florida authorities almost immediately after registering YPM LLC in August 2004, according to a 10/04 St Petersburg Times story about him.

Read the story here

An 8/21/2008 Phoenix New Times covered YPM's nefarious activities in Arizona where charges were made that YPM tossed thousands of voter registration forms in the trash.

Read the story here.

I seem to recall another GOP outfit being accused of filing phony voter registration forms in Nevada in 2006 but I don't have the name at the moment. Anyone recall the case?

She's likely referring to Sproul & Associates, the GOP outfit led by Nathan Sproul, that was charged with shredding Democratic voter registration forms in a number of states. They were paid more than $8 million dollars by the RNC, who tried to hide the expenditures in 2004. Details here.

And here are a number of BRAD BLOG reports on Sproul & Associates.

UPDATE 10/20/08, 2:28am PT: As I've been poking around, trying to learn a bit more about this Jacoby fellow, I came across a posting from someone who claims to be a friend of a friend of his at this website. I cannot verify the authenticity of either the comment, or the video, but it seems to be well informed, and matches up with several descriptions of the way Jacoby's outfit has reportedly operated in a number of states. The poster, "foadi" says his/her friend is owed money by Jacoby, and he'd recently sent the friend an email "calling him an idiot for not working on this republican registration drive, saying that this was the cleanest campaign he's ever done with the GOP and denying that he is under investigation, despite being driven out of san bernardino county a few weeks ago."

"foadi" also calls Jacoby a few more names than I feel comfortable posting here for the moment. Again, I can't verify the authenticity of these comments, or the video, as I've not been able to find an photos of Jacoby yet [Ed note: We've now seen a photo of him, see next update, this appears to be Jacoby after all --- BF]. So proceed with the following at your own risk, and with those caveats.

Here's the most notable details from "foadi's" comments:

his strategy for getting republican registrations is genius, although i can see how it might be illegal. here's what his guys do:

* they make a fake petition, usually something involving tougher laws on sex offenders.
* they use these petitions to stop people, setting up in front of big box stores, on college campuses, etc
* once they have a person signing their petition, they start asking them questions on the voter registration form (what's your date of birth, which state/country were you born in, what's your drivers license/state ID number, etc).
* by the time they get done with these basic questions the person is usually done signing the petition. they then hand the voter registration form to the person, telling them to fill out their name and address and signature at the bottom.
* last step, they either ask them to mark 'republican' because it ensures future funding for their petition, or they don't tell the person anything and mark in republican themselves once the signer leaves.

using this strategy you can easily get over 100 republican registrations in a day. pay ranges from $5 - 10 per registration, so the people doing it definitely have the incentive to get as many registrations as possible.

And here's the video which "foadi" claims to be of Jacoby, threatening someone who says he owes him $5000...


UPDATE 10/20/08, 12:21pm: RAW STORY rounds up some of the coverage, including videos of MSNBC and local Southern California's CBS 2 News both on the story.

MSNBC interviews legal analyst Susan Filan who notes "This is really serious...This is a very specific, deliberate intent to mislead," unlike the "Mickey Mouse" voter registration forms turned over to officials (as they are required to by law) and flagged as "problematic" by ACORN. They also mention that some voters had their registration records changed to "absentee", so they could lose their vote this November, if their address was changed and they fail to bring in their absentee ballots on Election Day.

CBS 2 offers a photo of Jacoby in their report (photo posted at right) which confirms that the man seen in the video we posted above, does appear to be Jacoby.

Both videos are posted here at RAW...

UPDATE: 10/20/08, 4:39pm PT: Speaking of Sproul & Associates, the group accused of destroying Democratic registrations in several states (see the 10:24pm update above from last night), it looks like the McCain-Palin campaign and RNC has hired that frauster as well this year, despite his recent activities...

John McCain's campaign has directed $175,000 to the firm of a Republican operative accused of massive voter registration fraud in several states.

According to campaign finance records, a joint committee of the McCain-Palin campaign, the RNC and the the California Republican Party, made a $175,000 payment to the group Lincoln Strategy in June for purposes of "registering voters." The managing partner of that firm is Nathan Sproul, a renowned GOP operative who has been investigated on multiple occasions for suppressing Democratic voter turnout, throwing away registration forms and even spearheading efforts to get Ralph Nader on ballots to hinder the Democratic ticket.
...
That Sproul would come under the employment umbrella of the McCain campaign --- the Republican National Committee has also separately paid Lincoln Strategy at least $37,000 for voter registration efforts this cycle --- is not terribly surprising. Sproul, who has donated nearly $30,000 to McCain's campaign, has been in the good graces of GOP officials for the past decade despite charges of ethical and potentially legal wrongdoing.

Sam Stein has the full story at Huff Po...

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