Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Things You Won't See On Drudge: Part 2

Not that I care much if the GOP wants to waste precious time obsessing about ACORN in the last few weeks before the election but it does seem pitifully, almost insultingly, manipulative.

It's like this: every election year we're treated to a GOP frenzy over voter registration fraud (funny how it never translates into actual voter fraud, no matter how hard they try to make the connection) and then, after the election, we're treated to the flip side argument... a Dem frenzy over vote suppression (slightly more proven). Doesn't anyone ever... um, you know... pick up on the trend? We're going to be subjected to this during every election cycle. It's just the way it is.

Anyway, for your reading entertainment:

There are also even more nuts and bolts facts that need to be understood to fully grasp how insane the furor that's erupted over ACORN truly is:

ACORN flags and turns in three kinds of cards, those that it can verify, those that are incomplete, and those that it flags as problematic. It turns those in labeled in a special way and are very conservative in terms of what it flags as problematic. It has stacks of problematic cover sheets. [...]

The Lake County Board knew about the questionable registrations today because ACORN flagged them for the board. For example, the Jimmy John’s card is one that a caller had flagged and labeled as problematic. ACORN can get that caller to talk to the press.

According to Regina Harris, the Director of Registrations for Lake County, (Indiana) this claim checks out. "It's certainly true. They did have three batches separated." she told me this morning. "There was a pile they knew were good, there was some they said had missing info -- like no voter ID number or a missing birthday -- and another batch they called 'suspicious.' "

Why would ACORN submit registration forms it had deemed "suspicious"? Because under most state laws, voter registration organizations are required to turn in all the forms they receive. In a phone conversation today, ACORN press coordinator Charles Jackson confirmed that this is the case in Indiana.

So, there you have it. ACORN is required in most states to turn in all the registration cards it receives, even those it believes to be fraudulent. In response to this, ACORN makes the effort to separate out the cards in three categories, calling attention to those forms which are most problematic, a fact that is confirmed by an Indiana Director of Registrations. So, unless conservatives are arguing that ACORN is both attempting to commit massive voter fraud, while also reporting this fraud to the proper authorities, then there's really no case here. Just typical election year bluster. In fact, these cries of massive voter fraud are practically an annual tradition for the GOP, and perhaps no president more than Bush has made such aggressive efforts to find the wily and elusive fraudulent voter. And just what have they found? Not much:

Five years after the Bush administration began a crackdown on voter fraud, the Justice Department has turned up virtually no evidence of any organized effort to skew federal elections, according to court records and interviews.

Although Republican activists have repeatedly said fraud is so widespread that it has corrupted the political process and, possibly, cost the party election victories, about 120 people have been charged and 86 convicted as of last year.

120 cases of voter fraud in a nation where more than 100 million voters turn out for presidential elections does not tip the scales, nor imply any voter fraud conspiracy. In the meantime, those very same conservatives who are claiming to be horrified by ACORN's non-existent corruption of the voting system are turning a blind eye to the very real problem of states illegally purging voters from the rolls. While ACORN's imagined crimes require a massive conspiracy beyond the simple delivery of bad voter registration cards, purging voters from the rolls prevents those eligible voters from exercising their rights -- no massive conspiracy needed.

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