The New York Times | Editorial & Michael Winship / Truthout – 2008-10-21 00:21:34
The Acorn Story
The New York Times | Editorial
(October 16, 2008) — In Wednesday night’s debate, John McCain warned that a group called Acorn is “on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history” and “may be destroying the fabric of democracy.” Viewers may have been wondering what Mr. McCain was talking about. So were we.
Acorn is a nonprofit group that advocates for low- and moderate-income people and has mounted a major voter-registration drive this year. Acorn says that it has paid more than 8,000 canvassers who have registered about 1.3 million new voters, many of them poor people and members of racial minorities.
In recent weeks, the McCain campaign has accused the group of perpetrating voter fraud by intentionally submitting invalid registration forms, including some with fictional names like Mickey Mouse and others for voters who are already registered.
Based on the information that has come to light so far, the charges appear to be wildly overblown – and intended to hobble Acorn’s efforts.
The group concedes that some of its hired canvassers have turned in tainted forms, although they say the ones with phony names constitute no more than 1 percent of the total turned in. The group also says it reviews all of the registration forms that come in. Before delivering the forms to elections offices, its supervisors flag any that appear to have problems.
According to Acorn, most of the forms that are now causing controversy are ones that it flagged and that unsympathetic election officials then publicized.
Acorn’s critics charge that it is creating phony registrations that ineligible voters could use to cast ballots or that a single voter could use to vote multiple times.
Acorn needs to provide more precise figures about problem forms and needs to do a better job of choosing its canvassers.
But for all of the McCain campaign’s manufactured fury about vote theft (and similar claims from the Republican Party over the years) there is virtually no evidence – anywhere in the country, going back many elections – of people showing up at the polls and voting when they are not entitled to.
Meanwhile, Republicans aren’t saying anything about another more serious voter-registration scandal: the fact that about one-third of eligible voters are not registered. The racial gaps are significant and particularly disturbing. According to a study by Project Vote, a voting-rights group, in 2006, 71 percent of eligible whites were registered, compared with 61 percent of blacks, 54 percent of Latinos and 49 percent of Asian-Americans.
Much of the blame for this lies with overly restrictive registration rules. Earlier this year, the League of Women Voters halted its registration drive in Florida after the state imposed onerous new requirements.
The answer is for government to a better job of registering people to vote. That way there would be less need to rely on private registration drives, largely being conducted by well-meaning private organizations that use low-paid workers. Federal and state governments should do their own large-scale registration drives staffed by experienced election officials. Even better, Congress and the states should adopt election-day registration, which would make such drives unnecessary.
The real threats to the fabric of democracy are the unreasonable barriers that stand in the way of eligible voters casting ballots.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.
Sun, 10/19/2008 – 22:34 — granny (not verified)
We should insist that Obama and Biden begin calling for observers at every polling station to identify the vote-suppression efforts and the intimidation and deliberate inconveniencing of prospective voters. And we should demand that Obama and Biden vow to fight to have every vote counted before the winner is announced. And, should any fraudulent activity go on, they should refuse to accept results until the last vote has been counted – or recounted, as needs be. This is, after all. American, the Land of the Free.
Sat, 10/18/2008 – 21:50 — GRANNY (not verified)
Good to see that Obama is being proactive t take on the anti-ACORN folk. The next step, of course, is to pledge NOT to declare the campaign and election over until ALL votes have been fairly counted. And, even before that, he needs to call for observers at every polling place in the country, to be absolutely certain that no one is unfairly kept from voting. Amazing with public scrutiny can do!
Sat, 10/18/2008 – 17:57 — Anonymous (not verified)
Voters Outreach of America, an organization supported by the GOP in Nevada, has been caught tearing up Democratic voter registrations and throwing them in the trash. When will this fraud be investigated?
Sat, 10/18/2008 – 17:43 — Anonymous (not verified)
Do you remember that in 2004 voter registrations marked “Democrat” were not turned in. They were found in the garbage. Wonder which party would have done that?
Sat, 10/18/2008 – 17:40 — Anonymous (not verified)
The real fraud is what the Republican Party is doing in Ohio. In 2004, Republican Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell arranged to have Ohio’s votes counted in Tennessee on a computer that just happened to be running GOP software. The easiest fraud to execute is so-called Man-in-the-Middle (MIM), where the information is altered after collected and before announced. The Tennessee vote counting was a perfect opportunity for MIM fraud. The fact that GOP software was running on this computer provided the opportunity. Did it happen? Shouldn’t we be investigating?
Sat, 10/18/2008 – 13:39 — Anonymous (not verified)
Most democracies hold their elections on the weekend. Why not us? The garbage about “market day” is an anachronism. ACORN is requires by law to turn in every voter registration they gather, after flagging the ones that are dubious. The election boards are the ones who decide which voters are eligible, and THEY supervise the voting process. If there is voter fraud (and statistics show there are just a handful, nationwide!) it’s because of the election boards, not the registration volunteers — after all they merely present the applications! What we should be concerned about is ELECTION FRAUD, the mass disenfranchisement of whole classes of voters, via restrictive rules, arbitrary deadlines, and computer equipment shenanigans. Those result in large numbers of votes NOT being counted. We should do what most democracies do — vote on paper in sealed boxes, opened and counted in front of local multiparty citizens, and the results transmitted in a verifiable way every step of the way. We don’t have to go very far to see how it’s done — CANADA. They just voted last Tuesday, and not a peep of “voter fraud” or “election fraud” there.
Sat, 10/18/2008 – 12:14 — C.J.Gelfand (not verified)
ACORN has done nothing fraudulent–if anything, they have caught those invalid registrations before they were added to the rolls. The Republicans are so frightened this time (as well they should be) that they can’t think straight and are resorting to tactics that resemble the tantrums of a two-year-old (which is probably the age at which most of them stopped growing emotionally). They are making asses of themselves, which would be comical if the issue wasn’t so serious. I for one am ticked to see them so scared for a change. Forgive my schadenfreude.
Sat, 10/18/2008 – 04:59 — CA NOW (not verified)
We just did a piece praising ACORN’s poverty work in honor of International Day for the Elimination of Poverty: http://www.canow.org/canoworg/2008/10/today-is-the-in.html
Sat, 10/18/2008 – 03:45 — Jais_108 (not verified)
Maybe the Republicans are following the spin masters handbook: if you are going to do something shady then first accuse your opponents of doing it so that if you are caught out you can spin it as sour grapes tit for tat. So this may just be a ploy for taking the pressure off of investigating Republican election manipulation. After all the tactics we’ve seen over the past years it wouldn’t surprise me in the least.
Sat, 10/18/2008 – 02:19 — Gus W. (not verified)
Do we need Registration at all? What if Congress passed a law making all citizens automatically and permanently registered to vote? Then all we’d need to do would be address verification. And while we’re looking at the arcane and archaic way we vote, why not make voting compulsory, like education is (public education was in fact started so we’d be informed enough to vote). We should also be able to vote safely and securely online where people routinely shop, bank, trade stocks and conduct enormous financial transactions –safely and securely. The reason voting is technologically and bureaucratically twenty years behind? S-u-p-p-r-e-s-i-o-n…
Sat, 10/18/2008 – 01:59 — Anonymous (not verified)
The ACORN accusation is intended to divert attention from the real voter fraud practiced by the Republican Party when they attempt to suppress votes. Check out the law suit King Lincoln Bronzeville Neighborhood Association v. Kenneth Blackwell.
Sat, 10/18/2008 – 01:51 — CA NOW (not verified)
We just did a piece, “Judge This ACORN by Its Fruits” praising ACORN’s poverty work in honor of International Day Against Poverty: http://www.canow.org/canoworg/2008/10/today-is-the-in.html
Sat, 10/18/2008 – 01:18 — Anonymous (not verified)
Who thought of the idea of barring felons from voting. It should be a requirement when they get out of prison. They should exercise their citizen responsibilities just like everyone else, no more than anyone else. If the Democrats would legalize marijuana and release offenders from prisons, they probably would pick up a lot more votes.
Fri, 10/17/2008 – 22:52 — David Brookbank (not verified)
And, of course, since we are so indigent about this, we are — aren’t we?–planning to fill the streets on the night of November 4, 0r the morning of November 5, a la the last scene of the movie “V for Vendetta” if the fascist right steals this election . We are, aren’t we? Aren’t we? As this is the U.S, a nation of sheep, I predict all will be quiet on November 5, 2008, stolen election and all, a la the early part of the movie “V for Vendetta”. So after 8 years of W for wacky white-wing fascism via stolen elections and stolen democracy, if (when) the election is stolen, will it be V for Vendetta, or will it be M for military might and christian fascism. Sheep, aren’t we?
Fri, 10/17/2008 – 22:01 — Anonymous (not verified)
First of all, with the completely corrupt electoral college calling the shots, what is the Republican Party really afraid of? We all saw the popular vote vetoed in 2000, frankly, I am more concerned about that. Secondly, as citizens of the US it is our constitutional “right” to vote. So then yes, shouldn’t we be automatically registered via our 18th birthday? Part of having the “right” means we don’t have to vote, but I think more people would vote if bureaucracy wasn’t such an issue.
Fri, 10/17/2008 – 21:31 — sottovoce (not verified)
I, too, believe that election day should be a National Holiday. Why not have the election on what is already a national holiday – Armistice Day – Nov 11th. I can think of no better way for the whole country to acknowledge and honor those WWI veterans than to exercise one of your constitutional rights on that day – the right to vote. They fought and died to protect our rights. Let’s show them it was worth it! My father, a veteran of WWI and WWII, would be proud to see this happen.
Fri, 10/17/2008 – 21:16 — Tom Camfield (not verified)
McCain continues to stand in his various glass houses throwing stones. He has totally misrepresented ACORN, of course. He also has turned a blind eye to such things as the Republicans’ attempt to disenfranchise voters in Ohio by challenging registrations in a suit that is without foundation. That same sort of thing worked for the GOP once before in Ohio (in 2004), when they kept enough Democrats from voting to carry the state and the presidency. So they’re giving it another try–in an attempt to negate Obama’s slim lead in the polls there.
Fri, 10/17/2008 – 20:54 — don Smith (not verified)
Concerning ACORN and John McCain, I keep wonder why nobody, even you mention that John McCain was ACORN’s key note speaker during the last election… maybe I’m wrong about when, but John was one of their biggest supporters as they are a non-political group.. but his ties with them keep getting left out… on purpose??? don’t know, but I have seen footage of their convention when they introduced McCain to speak…McMullen
Fri, 10/17/2008 – 20:35 — Anonymous (not verified)
I worked for a year at an Acorn-owned community radio station, and I can attest that they do everything to stay above-board with following rules and regulations. There are more instances of voter fraud with the Republican Party pretty much filling in the bubble next to their own party when registering others–particularly Latinos in my own community. If a Republican Voter Registration table is up, they won’t let you fill in your own form! I’ve seen this happen and yet it’s Acorn that gets sacrificed every two years? Astounding.
Fri, 10/17/2008 – 20:31 — Anonymous (not verified)
The party of fear, hate, incompetence and distortion desperately wishes to put one of their own back on top. No surprise, except how willingly John McCain falls right into lock step. He is completely in tune with the most blatant of this ever increasingly repressive political party. I used to respect Republicans — and I have around a long time — but no more. No more.
Fri, 10/17/2008 – 20:26 — Anonymous (not verified)
I have never understood why national election days are not holidays. This is clearly a structural form of voter suppression aimed at working people (including joe-the-so-called-plumber). Now, which political party has a vested interest in making sure that poor and working class people don’t show up at the polls? umm… let me see
Fri, 10/17/2008 – 20:19 — Anonymous (not verified)
Everyone is already registered. It’s called an SS#. Everything else about registration is simply a distraction. One number=one vote. So what’s the problem? Spin doctors need not reply.
Fri, 10/17/2008 – 20:04 — Carl Forsberg (not verified)
I find this whole situation quite amusing. Look who is calling the kettle black (as the saying goes). The Republican Party should hang it’s head in shame for the fraud they have committed against the American People in the last three presidential elections. Thank you to the ACORN group, who as ordinary concerned citizens, are doing what the government bureaucracy has failed to do – namely getting every person registered to vote for what is certainly the most important election of this new century. Just make sure you are registered and then proudly vote for the candidates of your choice. It is your right as an American Citizen under the Constitution of these United States of America .
Fri, 10/17/2008 – 20:03 — Peter Moran (not verified)
The Republicans manufactured this voter registration “crisis” as a stepping stone toward their goal of requiring voters to show a drivers license at the polls. For years, Republicans have made a concerted effort to reduce the voter turnout of minorities and poor people through voter caging and the purging of registered voter lists. Now, through hysteria, they want to make it official despite only 24 voter fraud cases in the past decade. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day, the Republicans were deemed responsible for having some operatives get hired by ACORN in order to falsify a large number of voter registration forms to further their cause. Quite cynical of me, perhaps…but quite Rovian of them.
Fri, 10/17/2008 – 20:02 — Kashilinus (not verified)
I retain my membership in the Republican Party solely to thwart the RNC’s conviction that 100% of the electorate is stupid.
Fri, 10/17/2008 – 19:55 — Anonymous (not verified)
Why not move the voting to the first Monday in the month of November (we could all use one less day of campaigning), then make it a three day weekend with Monday a National Voting Day as others have suggested. This won’t help with the kind of fraud the Republicans pulled off in 2000 and 2004, but it will ease the burden on working people trying to get through long lines or being challenged.
Fri, 10/17/2008 – 19:54 — David Chandler (not verified)
Registrations for Micky Mouse… It sounds like the one being defrauded is Acrorn. They are paying a few unproductive slackers and getting ripped off. As for registering people who are already registered, that’s called “reregistering.” I do that every time I flip-flop back and forth between the Greens and the Democrats. It’s perfectly legal. Where’s the problem? Where’s the fraud? The greatest voter fraud in history is called Diebold.
Fri, 10/17/2008 – 19:53 — z alexandra plaskin (not verified)
hey, I’m on John’s side! Bring back the Roman Empire! democracy is too important to be left to the people; if I were Empress, no one who isn’t onside, with a net worth of at least 7 digits, would even be allowed to register as a voter
Fri, 10/17/2008 – 19:52 — Frank (not verified)
I find it interesting that so many of the ACORN stories are coming out of Ohio, because (1) no Republican can win the election without winning Ohio, and (2) I have read three books on how in the 2004 election, the (then) Republican Secretary of State made sure that the Democratic votes were under-counted to insure Bush’s victory (i.e. making sure that there was no paper trail/documentation which could have allowed a recount. Not surprisingly, this same man had “guaranteed” a Bush victory just shortly before the election was held.
Fri, 10/17/2008 – 19:51 — Anonymous (not verified)
In France, they have an entire weekend to cast a vote. Tuesday should be a National Holiday- no question- if we have to stick to this as our one day of the week to vote. Recent reports of how poorly handled absentee ballots have been, cast doubt on that option for the serious voter.It is as if the old poll tax is in affect since the “ownership” class is favored in voting records for registration that would satisfy the Republicans. Ohio may be in a better place this year protecting new voters, but Florida and Colorado are still problems, with thousands being dropped off voter lists daily I urge all swing state newly registered voters to check your status on line, if any doubt go to an early voting location and vote early. Oh Hell, just vote early, Tuesday may be too late to get your vote counted!
Fri, 10/17/2008 – 19:48 — AG (not verified)
Australia is not and never has been a soviet state, and yet their citizens have to vote, if they don’t they face a large fine.
Fri, 10/17/2008 – 19:29 — Anonymous (not verified)
Brilliant idea––making the first Tuesday of November a national voting holiday. I could forgo some other holiday in favor of a national VOTING holiday if getting everyone to vote is what it is ALL ABOUT. And it is, is it not?
Fri, 10/17/2008 – 19:18 — Louis Alemayehu (not verified)
After 2 stolen presidential elections I should be amazed at the gall of the republicans. Instead await for th the next awful to drop from their collective mouth. That being said I cant forget the the Chicago Machine days of my youth were the dead arose and voted often.
Fri, 10/17/2008 – 19:11 — Jan (not verified)
Further, not only was Acorn doing their job and correctly pointing out suspect registrations (e.g, Donald Duck and M ickey, et al, who, I’m sure, are not likely to appear at the voting booth), but those that are incorrectly registered or do so twice can and do get caught by the secretary of state voter registration system. Acorn is merely collecting info. They cannot and should not be held responsible for anything other than possibly increasing the work load of the secretary of state in any given region. It is not their job to verify someone’s eligibility to vote. McCain’s fears are unfounded and inflated – once again. Further, they’re probably registering plenty of new Republicans as well. I know, I have myself this year. Enough fear mongering.
Fri, 10/17/2008 – 19:00 — Doug Love in Greenbelt MD (not verified)
Registration is considered necessary to prevent election day fraud, but it’s just a version of the polltax/literacy tests of the South. As an election judge, I get to verify registrations all day. What you have here is a Republican getting a registration form from an ACORN staffer, misusing it, then blaming the ACORN staffer for the misuse. Just remember, requiring voting is how Soviet states work. We don’t need that much control.
Fri, 10/17/2008 – 18:36 — Anonymous (not verified)
Voting should be made a law, so that all people would have a need and would learn about how to vote in their best interest; annd the first Tuesday of November should be a voting holiday.
Fri, 10/17/2008 – 18:26 — Anonymous (not verified)
I read somewhere recently that some jurisdictions require that an organization conducting voter registration submit each and every registration form no matter how patently false. I can understand that. Otherwise, an organization might throw out every one potentially representing a Republican voter, say. And that is why Acorn submits what it knows are faulty forms and tags them as such. I think it is important to point out that Acorn is simply complying with regulations.
Fri, 10/17/2008 – 18:10 — radline9 (not verified)
The real fraud was when they wouldn’t count the votes in Florida in 2000 and the Supreme Court decided the election and now America is nearly destroyed because of that decision. The GOP is suppressing votes, when will cable catch on to that? It makes me sick! There is not one shred of common decency on cable news unless of course you are watching Jon Stewart, Stephan Colbert, KO or Rachel Maddow.
© 2008 truthout
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.
A Mighty Hoax From ACORN Grows
Michael Winship / t r u t h o u t | Perspective
(October 18, 2008) — ACORN and election fraud. Hang on. As soon as I can get the alligator that crawled out of my toilet back into the New York City sewers where it belongs, I can turn my attention to this very important topic.
You see, the ACORN “election fraud” story is one of those urban legends, like fake moon landings and alligators in the sewers, and it appears three or four weeks before every recent national election with the regularity of the swallows returning to Capistrano. First, the basics: ACORN, which stands for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, is an activist group working with low- and moderate-income families to, among many other things, register voters.
To do this, they hire people to go around signing up the unregistered, killing two birds with one stone – giving employment to people who need it (some with criminal records) and providing the opportunity to vote to members of minority communities whose voices all too often go unheard.
What happens is that some of those hired to do the registering, who are paid by the name, make people up. As a result, you’ll discover that among the registrants are such obvious fakes as Mickey Mouse and the starting line-up of the Dallas Cowboys, among others.
This is where the Republican meme kicks in. As they have in past elections (although now louder and more angrily than ever), the G.O.P. has made ACORN the red flag du jour as the party tries to mobilize its conservative base and, allegedly, attempts to suppress the vote and distract attention from accusations of election tampering made against them, too.
The charge is that these fake registrations will create havoc at the polls. On Tuesday morning, former Republican Sens. John Danforth and Warren Rudman, chairs of Senator McCain’s Honest and Open Elections Committee, held a press conference and described the results of the bad seeds in ACORN’s registration program as “a potential nightmare.” Danforth said he was concerned “that this election night and the days that follow will be a rerun of 2000, and even worse than 2000.”
John McCain raised it at Wednesday night’s final debate and went further, adding, “We need to know the full extent of Senator Obama’s relationship with ACORN, who [sic] is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy É”
Obama replied, “ACORN is a community organization. Apparently, what they have done is they were paying people to go out and register folks. And apparently, some of the people who were out there didn’t really register people; they just filled out a bunch of names. Had nothing to do with us. We were not involved.”
Which is not to say Obama has not been associated with ACORN in the recent past. He has. As he said in the debate, as a lawyer, he joined with the group in partnership with the US Justice Department to implement a motor voter registration law in Illinois — allowing folks to register to vote at their local DMV. His work as a community organizer bought him into contact with ACORN, the organization received money from the Woods Fund while he was a board member there, and his presidential campaign gave ACORN more than $800,000 to help with get-out-the-vote campaigns during the primary season — but not, apparently, for registration drives.
All of this distracts from several important points. ACORN has registered 1.3 million voters and maintains that in virtually every instance it is ACORN that has reported the incidents of fraud.
As the organization asserted in a response to Senator McCain, “ACORN hired 13,000 field workers to register people to vote. In any endeavor of this size, some people will engage in inappropriate conduct. ACORN has a zero tolerance policy and terminated any field workers caught engaging in questionable activity. At the end of the day, as ACORN is paying these people to register voters, it is ACORN that is defrauded.”
Arrests have been made, as well they should be.
Add to this the simple fact that registration fraud is not election fraud. Seventy-five made-up people who are registered as, say, “Brad Pitt,” are not likely going to show up at some polling place on November 4 to vote in the election. Because they don’t exist. (Besides, Angelina would never give them time off from babysitting duties.)
Granted, there are ways to mail in an absentee ballot under a fake name and, too, from time to time some joker is going to come to the polls and try to bluff his or her way in. But despite the charge that thousands and thousands of fakes will flood the machines and throw off the count, it does not happen very often.
And according to ACORN, “Even RNC [Republican National Committee] General Counsel Sean Cairncross has recently acknowledged he is not aware of a single improper vote cast as a result of bad cards submitted in the course of an organized voter registration effort.”
Not that this has stopped the G.O.P. from banging the same drum every national election. And amnesiac members of the media and some government agencies from buying into it every time. Last year, The New York Times reported that the federal Election Assistance Commission, created by the Help America Vote Act, legislation enacted after the Florida debacle, was told by a pair of experts – one Republican, the other described as having “liberal leanings” – that there was not that much fraud to be found. But their conclusions were downplayed.
As per the Times, “Though the original report said that among experts ‘there is widespread but not unanimous agreement that there is little polling place fraud,’ the final version of the report released to the public concluded in its executive summary that ‘there is a great deal of debate on the pervasiveness of fraud.'”
Which raises the ongoing investigation of the Justice Department’s firing of those eight US attorneys shortly after President Bush’s re-election. It shouldn’t be forgotten that despite official explanations, half of them were let go after refusing to prosecute vote fraud charges demanded by Republicans. The attorneys had determined there was little or no evidence of skullduggery; certainly not enough to prosecute.
(In an interview with Talking Points Memo on Thursday, one of those fired attorneys, David Iglesias, reacted to reports that the FBI has launched an investigation of ACORN: “I’m astounded that this issue is being trotted out again. Based on what I saw in 2004 and 2006, it’s a scare tactic.”)
What’s equally if not more scary are continued allegations of Republican attempts at “caging” minority voters — making challenge lists of African- and Hispanic-Americans registered in heavily Democratic districts. Just this week, a federal judge in Michigan ruled that voters could not be purged from the rolls in that state simply because their mailing address was invalid — this followed a failed attempt by a Michigan Republican county chairman to use a list of foreclosed homes as the basis of voter challenges.
This comes on the heels of a recent report from the Brennan Center at New York University documenting how state officials – often with the best of intentions – purge huge numbers of perfectly legal voters from the rolls.
As my colleague Bill Moyers reported, “Hundreds of thousands of legal voters may have been dumped in recent years, many without ever being notified.” The report describes a “process that is shrouded in secrecy, prone to error, and vulnerable to manipulation.”
Hardly reassuring words if you want democracy to work, and sadly, not an urban legend, but the simple truth.
Michael Winship is senior writer of the weekly public affairs program Bill Moyers Journal, which airs Friday nights on PBS. Check local airtimes or comment at The Moyers Blog at www.pbs.org/moyers.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.
Tue, 10/21/2008 – 02:23 — Mari Irwin (not verified)
Almost true. You want truth? Here is truth: This article is maybe the truest thing I have read yet. The best effort to shed light on this desperate attempt by GOP to grasp at any uninformed vote possible. But even this honest effort is not exactly correct. This account is almost accurate, except that, the ACORN part time hourly employees are NOT PAID BY THE NAME, they are paid by the hour. This is a VERY important distinction. This article is correct in that some “bad actors” (ACORN hourly employees) do attempt to get a paycheck by doing the least work possible and will sometimes fabricate or forge applications they say they collected in the field. This practice cheats ACORN, who, by the way, does NOT receive public funding for this effort. What every news outlet fails to explain, is that ACORN employs a VERY extensive and expensive effort to perform quality control on every application it collects. The quality control process is not perfect and does not profess to capture every fake application, what the quality control effort attempts to do is catch the “bad actors” as quickly as possible and to terminate their employment and to mitigate the problems encountered by every mass voter registration effort ever employed. Further, in the course of this extensive quality control effort, when what appears to be falsely completed applications are discovered, they MUST be turned into the local Board of Election (BOE) so as NOT to inadvertently disenfranchise a potential voter. ACORN turns in these discovered suspect applications to every local BOE with a cover sheet flagging them as “problematic”. AND it is pertinent to note that in virtually every local jurisdiction, local ACORN managers met with local BOE officials early in 2008 to explain the quality control process and to alert the local BOE offices that some applications will be turned in with”problematic” cover sheets. What actually happened in local BOE offices was in fact, that virtually every BOE office around the country promptly separated the applications from the problematic cover sheets and mixed the good with the “suspected” bad. throughout the registration drive, ACORN local offices attempted to maintain open lines of communication with every local BOE to help mitigate problems when they were found. In some cases, these cooperative efforts on the part of ACORN were met with reciprocal cooperation. More often these efforts were dismissed. But, predictably, with just weeks remaining, partisan “bad actors” want now, to repudiate ACORN, who seeks only to expand the AMERICAN electorate and make it more representative of poor and minority citizens so that the real concerns of these citizens can be heard. This is the truth. Over and out.
Mon, 10/20/2008 – 21:09 — Anonymous (not verified)
David Crockett works for a local computer service. I wonder if anybody questions his registration.
Mon, 10/20/2008 – 21:06 — Anonymous (not verified)
When is the Media (or the Democrats) going to help us remember the Clellan election in Georgia? In case you don’t remember, the exit polls ALL said that Max Clellan won handily, but the voting machines said Clellan lost. Could that have anything to do with the fact that the Diebold CEO personally patched the voting machines in the weeks before the election in order to correct a problem with the clock. Funny thing — the patch didn’t fix the problem with the clock.
Mon, 10/20/2008 – 20:57 — Anonymous (not verified)
The fraud is not in the registrations, it’s in hacking the voting machines. The evidence indicates that it is mostly the Republicans who are hacking the voting machines. It certainly wasn’t the Democrats who slipped a memory card giving Gore MINUS 16,022 votes in Florida in 2000!
Mon, 10/20/2008 – 18:41 — Anonymous (not verified)
The GOP will declare that there is a huge problem. Then –surprise–one of their friendly private contractors will get a no-bid contract to fix it. It will probably be Maximus inc.
Sun, 10/19/2008 – 22:17 — Thedes (not verified)
“Danforth said he was concerned “that this election night and the days that follow will be a rerun of 2000, and even worse than 2000.” Wow! So he’s actually admitting that the Republicans stole the 2000 election! As I live and breath. Now if we can just get them to inadvertently admit to rigging the voting machines in 2004 we may have grounds for a criminal investigation!
Sun, 10/19/2008 – 19:16 — Anonymous (not verified)
Regarding: Sounds like a setup to me. Very simply put, a few Republican operatives for to work for Acorn. Collect bogus names and information and submit them. Then pass the intelligence up to their superiors. Can you say Karl Rove? yes I CAN say Karl Rove and that’s exactly what I have been thinking, especially the part about Rove!
Sun, 10/19/2008 – 14:54 — Anonymous (not verified)
Frank of America — you’re letting your own bias show. You cite an article as “proof”, yet the entire article – one sentence notwithstanding – is about REPUBLICAN voter fraud. Come on… can’t you do any better than that? Can’t you take off your partisan blinders for a half a minute? Your entire argument comes down to “yeah, but they did it, too”, as if that somehow makes it OK. You know what? Clean up your OWN party’s mess before you pass judgment. “Before you would cast out the mote in your neighbor’s eye, first remove the beam in yours.” Just a thought… ~~ Lane Baldwin — alifewithspirit.blogspot.com
Sun, 10/19/2008 – 13:59 — jpoverseas (not verified)
It may be another senior moment, but I seem to recall that Jesse Jackson, that other black personification of evil leftist radicalism, founded and for many years ran ACORN. Wonder if that has anything to do with the Repugnants’ obsessive focus on this one of the many groups doing voter registration.
Sun, 10/19/2008 – 13:27 — Anonymous (not verified)
Sounds like a setup to me. Very simply put, a few Republican operatives for to work for Acorn. Collect bogus names and information and submit them. Then pass the intelligence up to their superiors. Can you say Karl Rove?
Sun, 10/19/2008 – 11:01 — frank1569 (not verified)
ACORN does not tell people which party (if any) to register with – the org just helps them register. It is not a Dem org, but one wouldn’t know that from the way the Big Media propaganda machine “reports” the non-story. Winship misses the bigger point, however – this is all just another diversionary tactic from the GOPathologicals, to insure no one pays attention to their host of dirty tricks and frauds, from the e-vote fixers at Preferred Voting Solutions (formerly known as Diebold) to the voter caging and false purges to the robocalls to the failure to supply enough machines to Dem districts, etc. Plus, there’s the false “polling,” which continues to suggest the race is close, which it obviously isn’t – but ya can’t steal a blowout now can ya?
Sun, 10/19/2008 – 08:45 — Muhsin Barko (not verified)
ACORN is doing a great job. But I believe that their biggest challenge is how to minimise the inclusion of fake names into their database.
Sun, 10/19/2008 – 07:47 — windskull (not verified)
After all the “gate” this and that rhetoric died off what came to be from 2004 Ohio was 2 women were charged not with what they did which was textbook rigging of the election but some obscure unrelated MISDEMEANOR that failed to fine either one $50 but what the hell thanks to BUSHCO INC aka the 1% or Carlyle Group BOTH $50 fines ($100) today will purchase $4.47 and if McCain manages to steal the office a 3rd time you damn well better have a talent others lack because bartering is what will be US commerce
Sun, 10/19/2008 – 03:44 — Anonymous (not verified)
Oh, and was McCain connected to the Party that staged the preemptive nuclear (d.u.) attack on Iraq, for false reasons?
Sat, 10/18/2008 – 23:53 — Kashilinus (not verified)
When you are drowning in the sewer, you will grasp at anything that floats by, even if it’s an alligator. This alligator will be the realization, even by plumbers, that some people, happily a minority, hired to do work and expected to come through for the pay they get, are simply not up to it.
Sat, 10/18/2008 – 23:42 — Michael S (not verified)
What the republican party fails to mention is that someone who fails to turn in voter registrations to the board of elections is likely committing a crime. In Ohio, this is a 5th degree felony. ( See Ohio Revised Code Title 35 Chapter 3599.11 – http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/3599 ): (B)(1) No person who helps another person register outside an official voter registration place shall knowingly destroy, or knowingly help another person to destroy, any completed registration form. Whoever violates this division is guilty of election falsification, a felony of the fifth degree. (2)(a) No person who helps another person register outside an official voter registration place shall knowingly fail to return any registration form entrusted to that person to any board of elections or the office of the secretary of state… Of course, faking a registration is also a crime, as is asking someone to file a false registration. So ACORN MUST turn in applications for registration as it is the election officials who by law make the determination whether someone is eligible to vote. I haven’t done a study of all states, but I would imagine all are the same. Would you want someone registering people to be the one deciding if he or she should submit that registration?
Sat, 10/18/2008 – 22:21 — Anonymous (not verified)
I never get posted no matter how many comments I write but here it is anyway. It’s more then obvious that some things get mishandled during voting registrations. For any of us to believe otherwise is just being dense. Why not just put Jimmy Carter in charge of all elections here in the USA. We send him over to other countries to assure there is no voter fraud why not employ him here? It would give everyone more confidence in results.
Sat, 10/18/2008 – 22:05 — Anonymous (not verified)
Hmmm… One must wonder if there would even be a mention of “voter registration fraud” or “scandal” by the GOP candidate and his “team” if Acorn were not perceived as a Democrat leaning organization. Do the Republicans have any voter registration groups that “favor” them and yet still solicit new voters? It’s part of the system. The three keys points that are being lost in the “attack” are; Voter registration fraud IS NOT voter fraud There has been NO VOTER FRAUD.. 2) The Acorn officials are REQUIRED to submit the registration forms to the various State election offices because Acorn is NOT ALLOWED to decide which forms are valid and which are not. 3) Acorn officials themselves have “exposed” the suspect registration forms to the State election officials and employees that engaged in turning in invalid forms have been fired and law enforcement will decide those cases. Desperation breeds, well, desperate attempts by the candidate that appears to be losing. The Acorn “voter fraud” story is just another in a growing series of “red herrings” that have been thrown into the political barrel this time around. It is certainly not going to “rip away the fabric of democracy”. That threat is coming from some on the right fringe who are now “alleging” that “liberal”= Democrat = terrorist = anti-American and now any elected official that does not agree with the “right wing” ideology and by extension anyone who supports or votes for any “suspect Americans” is by definition anti-American themselves. Scared yet?
Sat, 10/18/2008 – 21:55 — Priscilla Black (not verified)
An article in The New Yorker of October 13th (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2008/10/13/081013fa_fact_lepore), Rock, Paper, Scissors by Jill Lepore is such an eye-opener to me – and probably will be to most of you as well. Given this country’s shabby past of astonishingly unfair elections, it’s a wonder that our historic mighty oak of rampant election fraud has produced so few bad ACORNs. The good acorns will grow and multiply. Bye-bye brush and switchgrass!
Sat, 10/18/2008 – 21:39 — Russell Branca (not verified)
Mr. Winship, With regard to ACORN being given $800,000 by the Obama campaign you should know that ACORN has denied this. According to Bertha Lewis of ACORN she said in an interview on Democracy Now of Wednesday Oct. 15. “The Obama campaign hired an organization called Citizens Services to do get-out-the-vote efforts right during the primaries. And ACORN might have gotten maybe $80,000 from that organization, who also worked with a host of other organizations to do get-out-the-vote work. ”
Sat, 10/18/2008 – 21:23 — Alina M Lopez Marin (not verified)
I think that Michael’s description of the urban legend is perfect and to the point. Thank you so much for getting this alligator out of the sewer. We seem to be wading in a lot of sewers lately.
Sat, 10/18/2008 – 20:56 — E Pluribus YOUnum (not verified)
Why is it that the Republican propaganda machine can goad the mainstream media into making a mountain out of a molehill while completely ignoring the mountain RANGE right in front of their faces? Until the Democrats, liberals, progressives, whatever, can diffuse the media echo of right-wing regurgitation, we’re not going to be able to reclaim the democracy they’ve slowly been taking away from us.
Sat, 10/18/2008 – 20:48 — anyfreeman (not verified)
To respond to this latest heap of steaming horseshit being spread by the professional outrage machine: When McCain states on national tv that this ‘faux issue’ threatens the fabric of democracy, we are being misled again. When the white shoe rioters bused in to steal the election for GW Bush in Palm Beach in 2000, their stated intent was to counter the ACORN type voter registration, when in fact, the real reason was to keep their guy close, at any cost. McCain’s scandalous assertion on national tv during the debates is the worst type of political dirty tricks. Once the province of the back room slimeballs, and denounced by responsible statesmen, it has become the centerpiece of an irresponsible riot inciting bunch of thugs.
Sat, 10/18/2008 – 20:47 — Jeff (not verified)
Thanks goodness there is finally a new article about ACORN to offset all of the negative, witch-hunt style propaganda in the mainstream. Reading those articles, with their repeated references to GOP spokesmen and the McCain campaign, and their prominence especially on the FOX homepage, made me know there was some major muck that somebody was trying to rake and recycle to scare voters. Thank you for this. I feel more balanced now. 🙂 Peace y’all, Jeff
Sat, 10/18/2008 – 20:38 — Paul Rust (not verified)
I am saddened by the fact that the GOP feels it is invisible (and justified) when it comes to wrong doing. No matter how many crimes and how often one of their own are convicted, they treat it like it never happened. The message sent to our children could not be more clear, go ahead & cheat, lie, whatever it takes to win, and with the churches supporting to GOP so openly, the religious role of right and wrong is no longer valid. Also a world of suppressed people have lost the USA as hope to cling to. GREAT JOB ! GOP !
Sat, 10/18/2008 – 20:24 — Nan (not verified)
Major Problems #1: FRAMING: Registration is not voting. Errors, accidental or purposeful, in registration are usually caught and rectified at the county registrars who have MANY methods in place to do so. Fraudulent ballots at the polls are extremely rare, mail-ins even more so, the scrutiny is manifold. #2: FEARMONGERING: A tactic employed by certain types to diatract attention from a central issue in order to achieve some goal under cover of relative secrecy, or to distract via misunderstanding. In this instance Orwellian speech=”stop vote fraud”, when the reality is “steal your votes.” A technique perfected by magicians. #3:” Get Over It” after the event, promote mindless acceptance via name-calling (whiner, poor loser, etc) Never allow investigation;if independent ones conducted never give them media play. (If a tree falls in a forest, no one present to hear, does it make any sound?) Corollary to #: manipulate the mmedia (easy when you and 4-5 like-minded buds own it) to only report the accusations, however specious. never the investigations or outcomes. #4: We may not know how many potential voters’ input is lost by thus discouraging them to register, or if registered, to vote. That is the real fraud.
Sat, 10/18/2008 – 20:21 — Anonymous (not verified)
Agreed at 18:14 about the polite. We’re well past words for what the situation demands. After all, the defensive talk does not work very well. We simply have to vote the bastards out and replace them with real representatives. Everyone except Robert Byrd, who may go another 10 or 12 if we treat him right.
Sat, 10/18/2008 – 20:19 — Anonymous (not verified)
I once met a young man from Washington State whose legal name was Ronald McDonald. I wonder if he’s having a hard time being allowed to vote.
Sat, 10/18/2008 – 20:04 — radline9 (not verified)
What the Republicans are doing to suppress the vote is treason. What ACORN is doing to register new voters is ideal. The mainstream media is an accomplice to treason. I’ve been writing many times to CNN and others telling them this.
Sat, 10/18/2008 – 19:46 — Fed Up in CT (not verified)
Thanks for a great piece–another example of the Republican’s Win-At-Any-Cost strategy. Basically though, they needed to whip up something to use against their own sleazy tactics: Hiring teams to gather names under false pretenses and switch them to the Republican party. A group hired by the GOP deceived Californians who thought they were signing a petition against child abuse. The LA Times has a good reporting of this: www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-fraud18-2008oct18,0,1216330.story I agree with the above poster–I am not ready to be swift-boated this time around! Let’s get the word out on all of the issues–it is our duty to our kids and our country.
Sat, 10/18/2008 – 19:45 — Frank of America (not verified)
Michael, How do you explain this: In today’s LA Times an article stated “In April, eight ACORN officials in St. Louis pleaded guilty to federal election fraud for submitting false registration cards in 2006.” If one pleads guilty then chances are… one is. ACORN’s crimes may be minuscule compared to Republican efforts disenfranchising hundreds of thousands but glossing over the plea does not help your thesis. You really should explain why you omitted this in your piece. Here’s the link: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-fraud18-2008oct18,0,2406511,full.story Is the LA Times incorrect? Pray tell.
Sat, 10/18/2008 – 19:37 — jim (not verified)
i think i appears every election, because somebody somewhere doest “get” the idea of running a clean electon.
Sat, 10/18/2008 – 18:36 — Anonymous (not verified)
I personally registered thousands of black citizens to vote and enlisted the help of 300 workers one year. None of us earned anything. We delivered the First Ward of St. Louis to the McGovern camp even though the same workers did the canvassing (identifying the persons on the roll at the addresses where they lived) and the voting day transportation. All 300 of my workers and me were stopped dead in our tracks on voting day by the Republican tactic of secretly pulling the registration cards. We were all in court by 9 AM where a judge had to make an affidavit for each challenged person on the basis of the testimony of my worker who canvassed and picked up the registered voter. Then the transporter had to take the voter back to the polling place. Elapsed time 3 to 4 hours per vote. We still beat Nixon. The ACORN flap is the regular Republican method of the pot calling the kettle black. Furthermore, I believe that Bill Ayers and other members of the radical anti-Vietnam groups are my heroes. “Terrorists” or minute-men, these people made the radical right know that if they didn’t listen to us, we’d tear the whole country apart. That’s why Nixon pulled out. Listen to the tapes. Where are the anti-Iraq war activists? Fifteen or so get trampled in front of Hofstra and everyone else cowers with quivering timorousness at home in front of FOX news reports of the almighty police. American independence has been annihilated (listen to A Perfect Circle’s version).
Sat, 10/18/2008 – 18:14 — Anonymous (not verified)
Michael, I think you are being much too polite. And, I think that this quasi politess is a great fault in America’s discussion of the realities of what is happening. To say that what’s going on with ACORN is an Urban Legend — is to understate the Republican ‘swift boating’ of ACORN. THEY reported what was going on and it was the Republicans who took it up as a banner to attack. Get with it, these are dangerous times. It’s time to tell it like it is and stop being so damned polite!
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