This is a rant.
I am sick to death of hearing the right-wingers throw up ACORN as the ultimate evil in the Land of Electoral Fraud. It’s a red-herring, a distraction to deflect your attention away from real voter fraud like the GOP purging of voter rolls after the registration deadline, caging schemes, and those e-voting machines (which Diebold admit drops/switches votes, etc).
For those of us who don’t know a lot about the situation, ACORN is a grass-roots activist organization whose mission is to register people to vote. The claim is that they’re lefties, but in reality, ACORN is non-partisan. They basically hire people to go out into their communities and register individuals. Every election cycle, the GOP tries to make hay about it, and every election cycle a US Attorney or four brings voter fraud charges against them, which are subsequently (and conveniently) dropped post-election. Talk to Alberto Gonzales about this — his directive to his lawyers before the 2004 race was to actively prosecute such cases. Those US Attorneys who refused to go along with this the charade for lack of prosecutable evidence were summarily fired, leading to the scandal that eventually resulted in Gonzales’ shameful resignation.
But I digress.
As per usual, the GOP has pounced on the fact that ACORN has submitted phony registration cards into local election offices. This is true. Yet it’s not true in the way you probably think (or have heard about on the news). ACORN, for better or for worse, compensates its canvassers by the piece, which means that they get paid per filled-out voter registration card. As you can imagine, a lazy or greedy canvasser with no supervisor looking over their shoulder finds it incredibly easy to fill out a bunch of cards and turn them in for the money. [Ed's Note: Beats returning bottles!]
Now, ACORN is required by law to turn in every voter registration card they receive from their canvassers. Can you imagine the outrage if a bunch of Republican voters signed up through an ACORN representative only to find that they weren’t actually on the voter rolls? So if ACORN notices something fishy such as registrations under the name "Mickey Mouse," or a dozen cards with the same handwriting, they’re still required to turn them in. What they do is flag those suspicious cards, which the local election offices then verify to see if they are in fact legitimate.
The end result is the same, from election to election: ACORN, as required by law, submits all the forms that are turned in, flags the ones that look phony. Of course, some town clerk finds a bunch of fake registrations and sounds the alarm that ACORN is turning in phony registration cards! OMGWTFBBQ!!!!!11!!
The real story, of course, is that there is no effort by ACORN to cheat the electoral process, but rather an effort by a few (or many. . . who knows?) canvassers to defraud ACORN by submitting fake forms in exchange for more cash. Meanwhile, while the media focuses on the evil ACORN, the GOP quietly scrubs voter rolls, installs their electronic voting machines, pushes for laws requiring photo IDs at the polls and other, far more insidious means of disenfranchising potential Democratic voters.
In every single case brought against ACORN, all charges have been dropped, because in those few instances where this bullshit saw the inside of the courtroom, no one has ever been able to prove that the motivation is to defraud the electoral process. It’s only about money. Sure, it’s still fraud, but not in the way the GOP would have you believe. It’s fraud against ACORN. I am willing to bet my life savings that if you took the stack of phony registrations and put it against the logs after election day, every single one of the fake registrations would be "no-shows."
In order for it to be actual voter fraud as the GOP would have you believe, there would have to be a concerted effort to hold on to that fake voter info, and hire hundreds and hundreds of operatives to cast ballots based on that information. This conspiracy theory would require thousands upon thousands of people all across the nation hell bent on cheating the system. It’s completely infeasible on any level. Besides, the GOP has this shit down to a science: just purge your rolls before the election, requiring the use of "provisional ballots" which, as everyone knows, are never counted and promptly discarded at the earliest possible opportunity.
If you’re one of those who are "outraged" by this baloney, here’s a tip: pull your head out of your talking point-stuffed ass and use your brains for a change.