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Old 09-10-08, 06:45 PM   #15
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Join Date: Apr 2001
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Republicans v ACORN has become a perennial early October antagonism, and tensions this year are particularly acute, with Republicans from the McCain campaign all the way down to House Republicans accusing the left-leaning community organizing group of a national conspiracy to flood secretaries of state with fraudulent voter registrations.

It's true, as Ben Smith notes, that Bugs Bunny and other imaginary voters can't imaginably show up at polling precincts and vote, but Republican complaints, to the extent that they are legitimate, are different. It's the rush of voter registrations at the end of the cycle, a rush which leaves election supervisors in the untenable position of having to very quickly decide whether applications are valid or not. Often, bad applications get through. Critics of ACORN wonder: why are fraudulent applications submitted in the first place? It's the system; you pay people to turn in as many voter registration cards as possible, you invite people who want more money to submit false forms. Critics also wonder: why aren't more people -- read the media -- covering this? After all, incidences of fraud are rampant, with official investigations launched in 12 states. Now -- "rampant" might not be the best adjective. Voter registration cards aren't the property of ACORN or any other group, and ACORN is required by law to turn in every completed form -- even if they're obviously fraudulent. ACORN insists it has procedures in place to flag these forms, but you can't blame supervisors of elections from throwing up their hands when they come in.

Even some Democratic groups are wary, not because they think ACORN's doing bad work, but because the sheer size of ACORN's operation lends itself to individuals who can easily game the system, and because the focus on ACORN increases the scrutiny of their own work. It's clear that there's extraordinary interest in this election, and huge amounts of new voters are entering the system, and, sorry Republicans, they're not...Republicans. These October protests seem like a logical place for conservative activists to hold and nurture their grievances about the political environment. Call it galling, for example, that ACORN's voter reg. projects are nominally non-partisan, when, in point of fact, the places they go and the things they do seem to help Democrats disproportionately. Galling, but conservative groups can set up voter reg. organizations like this if they want.

After the jump, read an internal memo from ACORN's directors, Bertha Lewis and Steve Kest, to its political allies, where the claim that ACORN has become a right-wing bogeyman is advanced.
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