Understanding ACORN Voter Registration Fraud ~ News, Politics and Anything Else I Want to Say

Monday, October 13, 2008

Understanding ACORN Voter Registration Fraud

I'm rather disgusted over fraudulent voter registrations by ACORN this election. I don't like that so many fraudulent registrations have been submitted and think ACORN needs to work to reduce those registration cards from ever being filled out. Unfortunately though, most news articles so far have been sticking with the sensationalism "voter fraud" part of this story and aren't telling some very important facts that have caused this. I think it is explained best by in an article by Tom Matzzie (though the article overall is a bit too conspiracy theory for me, the normally overlooked points on ACORN are dead on):
The facts about ACORN are worth getting out. ACORN is an organization that, among other things, registers low-income people to vote. One of the ways they do this is to hire door-to-door canvassers from the neighborhoods they are working in. This sort of work is tightly regulated. So, when one of the thousands of people they give jobs to doesn't do their work right and brings back bogus or phony voter registration cards, the law REQUIRES that ACORN turn the forms in to the voter registration office. The law, rightly, doesn't want anybody throwing out voter registration forms for any reason.

But ACORN goes a step farther. They have people assigned to do quality control on all the cards--calling people on the forms after they fill them out. When they find bad information on the cards they attach a cover sheet to the card but, as mentioned above, they turn in the cards as required by law. The effect is that a few bad canvassers or a poorly run office will mean that bad cards are submitted as part of the normal process. But ACORN has done everything possible to make sure voting officials know to check the forms.

The sad fact is that in at least one state--Nevada--the voting officials disregarded ACORN's cover sheets flagging the voter registration forms. That should have never happened. The resulting blowup was a scandal in search of a scandal.

The stunning con of this whole thing is the assumption that bad voter registration cards being submitted will lead to vote fraud. If somebody submits a card for Mickey Mouse it isn't like Mr. Mouse is going to show up to vote. There is no voter fraud if nobody votes.

ACORN is not trying to commit voter fraud. They are legitimately trying to get people signed up to vote who generally don't. What needs to be fixed are the incentives for people collecting registrations that sacrifice quality for quantity. In the mean time, the ACORN organization should not be demonized for making our democracy better by involving more citizens in the process. Helping to give a voice to those who normally don't make themselves heard is a good thing.

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