New Jersey Hospital Denies Claim That ACORN Workers Collected Absentee Ballots

A New Jersey hospital is denying accusations that ACORN workers have been inside collecting absentee ballots for the state's gubernatorial race.

East Orange General Hospital CEO Kevin Slavin said Tuesday that "all proper protocols" were followed as part of its program to allow patients to vote via absentee ballot, and that no third-party groups were signing up patients.

"Other than the specifically designated and trained staff to hand out and collect these ballots, no advocacy groups were authorized nor allowed access to the hospital to hand out absentee ballots to patients as has been recently reported in unsubstantiated blogs and on political talk shows," he said in a written statement.

Slavin was referring to reports that claimed people wearing ACORN shirts were spotted distributing and collecting absentee ballots at a hospital in the area. The Wall Street Journal reported this Monday, as did -- the Web site that publicized recent undercover operations in which ACORN workers were filmed giving tax advice to two activists posing as a pimp and prostitute.

The claim comes on top of reports that the New Jersey Democratic State Committee has admitted to paying for a robo-call promoting independent gubernatorial candidate Chris Daggett and criticizing Republican Chris Christie.

Lawyers representing Christie on Tuesday called for an "immediate investigation," saying unless the robo-calls were conducted in coordination with Daggett, "they are not permitted by law."

The ACORN accusation potentially can be traced in part to an e-mail, allegedly from the husband of a hospital worker, claiming his wife saw and spoke with the activists.

A New Jersey GOP official provided the e-mail to but could not corroborate its authenticity.

"ACORN is working the hospitals in Orange in Newark. Registering up to 10 people for absentee ballots and submitting it for them on their behalf," the e-mail said.

If true, the official said, this would be a clear "oversight" on the part of the hospital.

New Jersey law allows third parties to collect a limited amount of absentee ballots, but the official said it would be troubling if activists were involved.

"There's no way to tell if there was any pressure involved," the official said.