(CNSNews.com) - Republicans say voters should be careful about opening their doors to convicted felons who are conducting door-to-door voter registration drives in states where the November election is expected to be close.
According to the Associated Press, a group that wants to get George W. Bush out of the White House is now paying convicts to sign up potential voters in at least three states -- and maybe as many as 17.
America Coming Together told the AP that it believes felons deserve a second chance -- and therefore it is paying them to go door to door in Missouri, Florida, and Ohio, where they ask voters what issues are important to them; hand out information on voter registration; and sometimes collect personal information, such as telephone numbers and driver's license numbers.
America Coming Together describes itself as the largest voter mobilization project in American history.
"Knocking on doors and speaking the truth, ACT canvassers are laying the groundwork to defeat George W. Bush and elect Democrats in federal, state, and local elections in 2004," the group's website says.
"Because close elections are won on the ground, it takes each one of us," ACT says. But that effort should not involve felons, Republicans say.
"It is disturbing that the voter mobilization arm of the Democratic Party is proudly hiring felons convicted of sex offenses, assault and burglary to go house to house and handle sensitive personal information," said Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie.
"Democrat voters should be leery of opening their doors to political operatives until the Democrats can assure them that a convicted felon won't be on the other side," Gillespie said in a statement.
The Associated Press quoted Mo Elleithee, a spokesman for ACT, as saying it is important to give people a second chance. "The fact that they are willing to do this work is a fairly serious indication that they want to become productive members of society," the AP quoted him as saying.
ACT adopted a policy against employing violent felons this spring, Elleithee told the AP.
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