I asked Patru if the campaign had any concerns or safeguards when this plan was first laid out, about the potential moral hazards involved in the pay structure -- the sort of things that Republicans attacked ACORN for in 2008. For example, signature-gatherers would have incentives to create fake registrations, to falsely check off the Republican box on a registration form that had left the party field blank, or to even throw out Democratic and non-Republican registrations.
"The possibility that somebody who was registering voters, paid or unpaid, Republican or Democrat, to do something that is illegal always exists. We're comfortable with where this plan is now," said Patru. "Like I said, we want to be sensitive to perceptions. While the structure we had in place was 100 percent sound in terms of the legality of it, we felt that dropping that bonus structure was appropriate, given the concerns that were raised."
College students will be paid a flat hourly rate, Patru said, with no bonuses for GOP registrations. They will also be fully informed of the key laws involved: They cannot pressure somebody to register with a particular party, or to vote for a particular candidate; They cannot forge registrations; They must turn in all registrations that are gathered. Patru said that the original plan had only been advertised for a day or two, and was never implemented -- that is, no bonuses for GOP registrations were ever paid out.