What’s the point of smearing ACORN if the valid registrations that ACORN turned in still count? That’s what I’ve been asking myself as the orchestrated GOP smear spreads from one swing state to another.
Last Tuesday, Las Vegas police raided ACORN headquarters. It was a carnival sideshow, a photo op with no substance, meant to compete on the nightly news with the presidential debate. (How can you believe anything Obama says? He used to work with these crooks.)
The big lies about ACORN have started in Ohio now, and the Saturday Post-Dispatch chronicled the spread of the smear to our state. Republican ‘voter fraud’ allegations are absolutely bogus.
Here’s the lowdown on ACORN. They screwed up in 2004 by not checking the registration cards their paid workers turned in. A few of those paid workers wanted to be paid more than they deserved, so they made up bogus cards. Now by the way, the only people who got screwed as far I can tell that year was ACORN itself–it paid those jackasses for work that was disallowed–because it’s not as if anybody turned up to vote as a consequence of the faked cards. And even if they had, they’d have been disallowed since local boards of election check the info on the cards.
Some voter fraud. ACORN was out of pocket for registrations that did the Democrats no good. You’d think the Republicans would be cheering.
Acorn photo used under a Creative Commons license from Flickr user MartinLaBar.
But ACORN learned its lesson. Now it double checks every registration card its workers turn in–and they’ve turned in 1.3 million this year. ACORN checks for duplicates, checks to see if the card is complete, checks to see if the address matches who actually resides there–in essence does the work for the local board of elections–and separates the cards it delivers into four piles: good cards, incomplete cards, duplicate cards, and cards where no such voter lives at the address listed.
They don’t throw away the bad cards because they’re required by law to hand over all cards that anyone has filled out.
And here’s the kicker: for turning in the faulty cards, which they’re required to do and for sorting the cards properly to help election officials, they get accused of vote fraud. In Las Vegas, they get raided. Here’s part of the press release that tells ACORN’s side of the Vegas story:
For the past 10 months, any time ACORN has identified a potentially fraudulent application, we turn that application in to election officials separately and offer to provide election officials with the information they would need to pursue an investigation or prosecution of the individual.
Election officials routinely ignored this information and failed to act. In early July, ACORN asked to meet with election officials to express our concerns that they were not acting on information ACORN had presented to them. ACORN met with Clark County elections officials and a representative of the Secretary of State on July 17th. ACORN pleaded with them to take our concerns about fraudulent applications seriously.
As for the GOP push to discredit ACORN in Missouri, the P-D article plays stenographer, sure:
In the 2006 election, ACORN submitted more than 5,000 fraudulent registration cards in St. Louis that led to indictments.
Although the paper fails to note that ACORN has improved its procedures and that it is required to turn in faulty registration cards, the article does conclude with this juicy bit:
But this year, the group has caused no such problems, according to Republican city elections director Scott Leiendecker. ACORN finished its efforts in St. Louis about three months ago, he said. So far, he said, “Everything’s been on the up and up.”
So there, Jack Danforth.
Back to my original question, then. Why raise all this unprovable fuss? I don’t know how much, if any of it, is a Republican penchant for satisfying self-deception, but the biggest part of must be to distract the media from the voter disenfranchisement that the GOP is busy quietly instigating. The New York Times reports:
States have been trying to follow the Help America Vote Act of 2002 and remove the names of voters who should no longer be listed; but for every voter added to the rolls in the past two months in some states, election officials have removed two, a review of the records shows.
The six swing states seem to be in violation of federal law in two ways. Michigan and Colorado are removing voters from the rolls within 90 days of a federal election, which is not allowed except when voters die, notify the authorities that they have moved out of state, or have been declared unfit to vote.
Indiana, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio seem to be improperly using Social Security data to verify registration applications for new voters.
In three states – Colorado, Louisiana and Michigan – the number of people purged from the election rolls since Aug. 1 far exceeds the number who may have died or relocated during that period.
If and when that voter disenfranchisement ever gets traction in the MSM, we can expect lots of he said/she said. “You sliced our voters off the rolls!”/”You turned in fake registration cards!” Republicans hope that press stenographers will shrug and imply that both sides have been guilty.
In any case, Missouri isn’t on that NYT list. Why that is, I don’t know. It’s up to separate counties to purge the voter lists, so, much as I’d like to give Robin Carnahan the credit, I don’t see how her office could be responsible.
Here’s another question I can’t answer: Why isn’t the Democratic Party and the Obama campaign screaming bloody murder about these practices? Shining a spotlight on them might slow them down.
Photo courtesy of Bradblog