The Black Male Katherine Harris Leading the Attack on ACORN
The Republican apoplexy about ACORN is false anger and manufactured controversy. Yes, worrying about potential voter fraud is a valid concern. Democrats have been vigilant about the protection of voter enfranchisement and fraud since their support of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. ACORN and other groups target low-income and minority neighborhoods who generally vote Democratic. This is what Fox News and the GOP want to stop, plain and simple.
Here’s what’s going on. Groups like ACORN and other well meaning for-profit organizations like Grassroots Campaigns and Work for Progress are employing people to register voters and secure volunteers rather than the old school way of having non-partisan efforts or a campaign’s volunteer force do the work. The workers are often encouraged through a carrot/stick method to register more voters, or at least turn in more forms.
For example, the DNC has hired the Grassroots Campaigns organization to register voters, secure volunteers (often a massive FAIL) and get donations, and workers get a pay raise for going beyond the call of duty. This is all above board and legal.
The problem is that the carrot/stick method is going to encourage workers to try a little too hard. You will find a few who, especially when the economy is crap, are going to try and turn in as many forms as possible at EOB. This is not a nefarious liberal plot, it is human nature, especially for young folks trying to make a buck while participating in our democracy.
Also, people will make mistakes. One may forget to ask the new registrant for their birth date or phone number or write down the wrong address.
Good thing about this is there are checks and balances in place. Considering the goal of groups like ACORN is to register voters in targeted groups (we can be real here and say that these groups tend to vote for Democrats), it works against their interest to turn in invalid voter registration forms. It would be foolish for an organization that wishes to continue to be successful (and self-sustaining) to create massive wide scale election fraud.
Had ACORN not had a method for weeding out the mistakes and the fakes, most of us probably would not have even heard of ACORN. It was ACORN operatives who turned in the info to the Nevada Secretary of State.
Among those sounding the clarion call against ACORN this year is former Ohio Secretary of State and failed gubernatorial candidate in that state, Black Republican Ken Blackwell. He believes ACORN is the worst of the worst and wrote an article for The National Review about how horrid an organization the group is for trying to register as many Democrats as possible. Blackwell may have a reason to hate ACORN, they, along with Project Vote, sued him while he was Secretary of State for trying to craft voter registration rules that would make ACORN’s program to fact check registration forms much harder.
Blackwell wanted ACORN’s workers to turn in registration forms directly to the Secretary of State’s offices instead of turning them into ACORN senior staffers for proofing. Blackwell was clearly hoping to catch and invalidate as many of ACORN’s registrations as possible for what ever reason his little mind could come up with. He would be the Black Katherine Harris.
Additionally, in their law suit, ACORN alleged Blackwell had committed several violations of National Voter Registration Act.
Blackwell lost this suit. He was on the wrong side of the Constitution. End of story.
Blackwell has also been exposed as the anti-enfranchisement candidate with his ties to Diebold, the company that makes electronic voting machines. The president of this company sent a letter to Blackwell promising to deliver votes to Republicans.
Blackwell isn’t the only Republican who has tried to boil ACORN in a pot. John Atlas reminds us about Sen. Pete Dominici’s (R NM) involvement in trying to get former Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft to prosecute election fraud cases in New Mexico. After one of the career officers refused the request on the basis of the case’s viability, he was fired, which lead to the recent controversy over DoJ firing attorneys for political reasons.
Now that goons like Malkin and Limbaugh are in on the game, they are screaming “voter fraud” as if they actually know what that is. They aren’t stumping for a clean election, they’re stumping for the disenfranchisement of the thousands of new voters energized by Obama’s campaign. They want to do what Blackwell wanted to do, but couldn’t, so they do it by ridiculing a kid, clearly out of his element, who registered 73 times at the behest of an ACORN worker. Thing is, that kid registered at the same address, so if their intent was to get 73 votes at one hit, they’ll only end up with one, a foul with no harm.
Meanwhile, serious, verifiable matters of voters being purged from registration rolls haven’t received a fraction of the coverage.
The most important thing one can take from the ACORN controversy is that despite all the complaints about the organizations, there are almost no instances of actual voter fraud coming out of these kinds of paid registration drives, including ACORN. And they won’t be coming this year, either. It is way too difficult to perpetuate this kind of election fraud from inflated rolls. It’s much easier, as the Republicans have learned, to purge registration rolls.
I’ve never been a big fan of the use of paid workers to register voters, and the current demonizing of ACORN is a prime example of my concerns played out. Still, numbers don’t lie – what ACORN and other organizations using paid workers are doing is yielding big numbers of new registrants in an election cycle where new registrants are going to make a difference for Democrats up and down the ticket..