Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The truth about ACORN

Here are a couple of facts that Republicans leave out of their smears of ACORN:

Most states require voter-registration organizations to submit every registration form they collect, even ones that bear the name Mickey Mouse. To not do so could constitute voter suppression.

Two weeks ago, ACORN explained in a statement, "As part of our nonpartisan voter registration program, we have reviewed all the applications submitted by our canvassers. When we have identified suspicious applications, we have separated them out and flagged them for election officials. We have zero tolerance for fraudulent registrations. We immediately dismiss employees we suspect of submitting fraudulent registrations."

Organizations that are trying to commit fraud usually don't tip off investigators. ACORN tries to help out local officials by identifying for them registrations that the organization considers suspicious, and Republicans twist that into "ACORN is trying to commit voter fraud!"

While we're talking about voter fraud, the Republican talking point that ACORN is responsible for voter fraud because a few of the people the group hired to help register voters submitted a few fake registrations is typical GOP bullshit, because voter fraud doesn't happen until someone actually shows up at the polls and tries to cast a fraudulent vote. And that, of course, hasn't happened.

The truth is that conservatives don't like groups like ACORN because these groups help minorities and poor people register to vote. And minorities and the poor generally do not vote for conservative candidates because conservatives don't represent their interests. So, essentially, conservatives have no interest in strengthening the backbone of democracy: improving efforts to register Americans to vote. Talk about having anti-American views--another bullshit charge that Republicans, including the McCain campaign, are leveling at their opponents. And so much for that "country first" lie.

UPDATE: Speaking of voter registration fraud...

John McCain paid $175,000 of campaign money to a Republican operative accused of massive voter registration fraud in several states, it has emerged.

As the McCain camp attempts to tie Barack Obama to claims of registration irregularities by the activist group ACORN, campaign finance records detailing the payment to the firm of Nathan Sproul, investigated several times for fraud, threatens to derail that argument.

The documents show that a joint committee of the McCain-Palin campaign, the Republican National Committee and the California Republican Party, made the payment to Lincoln Strategy, of which Mr Sproul is the managing partner, for the purposes of “voter registration”.

Mr Sproul has been investigated on numerous occasions for preventing Democrats from voting, destroying registration forms and leading efforts to get Ralph Nader on ballots to leach the Democratic vote.

In October last year, the House Judiciary Committee wrote to the Attorney General requesting answers regarding a number of allegations against Mr Sproul’s firm, then known as Sproul and Associates. It referred to evidence that ahead of the 2004 national elections, the firm trained staff only to register Republican voters and destroyed any other registration cards, citing affidavits from former staff members and investigations by television news programmes.

One former worker testified that “fooling people was key to the job” and that “canvassers were told to act as if they were non-partisan, to hide that they were working for the RNC, especially if approached by the media,” according to the committee’s letter.
A useful rule of thumb is that if Republicans are accusing others of something, there's a very good chance that they are doing that very thing themselves. Right Newt?

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