The Mighty Oak Was Once a Little Nut
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2008-10-14 00:16:43 UTC
The Associated Press has taken to quoting hecklers at McCain rallies;

McCain's remarks about Obama were interrupted with
shouts of "socialist," "terrorist" and "liar." At
another time, a man in the bleaches shouted "No more
ACORN," referring to a group that registers poor voters.

Poor poor voters! This guy must really have it in for them!

Actually, as it turns out, poor voters aren't the only ones Acorn--an acronym
for Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now--registers. The
group has been in the news in several key states the past few days:

• Nevada. "State authorities on Tuesday raided an organization that registers
low-income people to vote"--that would be Acorn--"alleging that its canvassers
falsified forms with bogus names, fake addresses or famous personalities," the
Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. "The secretary of state's office launched an
investigation after noticing that names did not match addresses and that most
members of the Dallas Cowboys appeared to be registering in Nevada to vote in
November's general election."

• Ohio. "A national voter-registration group admitted to Cuyahoga County
election officials Tuesday that it cannot eliminate fraud from its operation,"
reports Cleveland's Plain Dealer. "The group blamed inefficiency and lack of
resources for problems such as being unable to spot duplicate
voter-registration cards or cards that may have been filled out by workers to
make quotas."

• Missouri. "Officials . . . are sifting through possibly hundreds of
questionable or duplicate voter-registration forms submitted by an advocacy
group that has been accused of election fraud in other states," the Associated
Press (!) reports. "In April, eight ACORN workers in St. Louis city and county
pleaded guilty to federal election fraud for submitting false registration
cards for the 2006 election."

• Indiana. "In Lake County, Ind., a nonprofit group Obama once represented as
a lawyer, ACORN, filed an estimated 2,500 fraudulent voter registrations in
the past two weeks, county election officials say," reports the Chicago

The Sun-Times report notes that "Obama successfully represented ACORN in
Chicago in its effort to protect the law that allows people to register to
vote when they get their driver's licenses." For more on Acorn's agenda and
Obama's connections, see this Stanley Kurtz piece in National Review Online.

Of course, fraudulently registering to vote is not the same as fraudulently
voting (except possibly in Ohio, where a federal judge ruled that voters could
cast absentee ballots as they were registering). Acorn is paying people to
sign up voters, so it arguably is a victim of this fraud.

All this suggests we should have a degree of skepticism about claims of a
surge in Democratic voter registration. If those voters don't materialize at
the polls, it may be because they never existed to begin with.
It is simply breathtaking to watch the glee and abandon with which
the liberal media and the Angry Left have been attempting to turn
our military victory in Iraq into a second Vietnam quagmire. Too bad
for them, it's failing.
2008-10-14 09:20:18 UTC
The New York Post has the latest on electoral high jinks in Ohio:

A man at the center of a voter-registration scandal told
The Post yesterday he was given cash and cigarettes by
aggressive ACORN activists in exchange for registering an
astonishing 72 times, in apparent violation of Ohio laws.

"Sometimes, they come up and bribe me with a cigarette, or
they'll give me a dollar to sign up," said Freddie Johnson,
19, who filled out 72 separate voter-registration cards over
an 18-month period at the behest of the left-leaning
Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.

"The ACORN people are everywhere, looking to sign people up.
I tell them I am already registered. The girl said, 'You are?'
I say, 'Yup,' and then they say, 'Can you just sign up again?'
" he said.

The Columbus Dispatch, however, reports that Ohio's voter-registration process
is getting some adult supervision:

Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner is breaking federal
law by not giving county elections boards the chance to
determine whether new voter registrations are fraudulent,
a federal judge ruled [Thursday] evening. . . .

[Judge George] Smith, appointed by President Reagan, said
the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) requires states not only
to verify the addresses and other identifying information
provided by newly registered voters with the state Bureau
of Motor Vehicles and the federal Social Security Administration,
but also to provide counties with the names of new voters
whose records did not match.

Brunner's office had been doing the computerized verification,
but the GOP argued that Brunner had not made the names available
to county elections boards. The judge gave her a week to comply. . . .

Smith specifically cited questionable activity of one group
that registered thousands of new Ohio voters: the Association
of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN. . . .

An ACORN representative is on a Brunner advisory committee,
while Republicans say Obama has "strong ties" to ACORN,
serving in the past as an attorney and "leadership trainer"
for the group.

Brunner is a Democrat, Ohio Republicans having been wiped out in the 2006

Blogger Bob Krumm wonders if there is a danger in all this to Barack Obama's

We have heard a great deal that black and Democratic voter
registration is significantly improved this year. But how
much of that is because people like Mr. Barkley [a Domino's
pizza deliveryman who says Acorn "hounded" him to register
between 10 and 15 times] have registered multiple times?
Probably a lot if the Obama campaign and the Democrat Ohio
Secretary of State were off in their early voting projections
by 400%. If there are many more people like Mr. Barkley and
they vote only once, urban turnout may be far lower than
increased voter registration numbers would indicate.

By the way, an Associated Press dispatch on a registration-fraud investigation
in Missouri contains this description of Acorn:

The nonpartisan group works to recruit low-income voters,
who tend to lean Democratic.

Technically Acorn is a nonpartisan group. But so are the National Rifle
Association, National Right to Life, the Heritage Foundation and any number of
other conservative-leaning political and policy groups. Does the AP describe
them in that way?
It is simply breathtaking to watch the glee and abandon with which
the liberal media and the Angry Left have been attempting to turn
our military victory in Iraq into a second Vietnam quagmire. Too bad
for them, it's failing.
2008-10-17 11:18:00 UTC
Errol Louis, a columnist for New York's Daily News (and occasional co-panelist
of this columnist at "Lou Dobbs Tonight"), defends the voter-registration
shenanigans of Acorn, Barack Obama's former client:

The essence of the right-wingers' case is that thousands
of voter registration forms submitted by ACORN workers--out
of an estimated 1.3 million registrations completed in 21
states over the past 18 months--turned out to be fraudulent
or defective.

That shouldn't surprise anyone. By law, in most states, people
doing voter registration must turn in every form collected,
including obviously tainted ones. It's a sensible rule that
prevents groups from altering, defacing or destroying
registrations by people who joined the "wrong" party.

If a person registers as Mickey Mouse and gives the Magic
Kingdom as his address, the form still has to be turned in
to election officials. Ditto for so-called "kitchen table"
registrations copied out of phone books or other lists by
lazy, law-breaking members of a vote-registration team.

ACORN says it submitted all voter registrations as required
by law, with the problematic ones bundled separately and
flagged as probably fake.

Well, maybe. On the other hand, consider this Houston Chronicle report on
Acorn's efforts in Harris County, Texas:

About half of the 14,000 ACORN applications that were
rejected in Harris County were missing required information
such as the potential voter's address, date of birth and
Texas driver's license number, said Paul Bettencourt, the
county's voter registrar and tax assessor-collector.
Another 3,800 applicants already were registered to vote.

Bettencourt said his staff checked the voting rolls and did
not find any obviously phony registered voters. His bigger
concern is the time his staff wastes processing duplicate
applications. By comparison, only four duplicates were found
among 4,000 applications submitted by the League of Women
voters, and five have been found in 3,300 applications
submitted by the Harris County Democratic Party.

If other organizations can do registration without these problems, why can't
It is simply breathtaking to watch the glee and abandon with which
the liberal media and the Angry Left have been attempting to turn
our military victory in Iraq into a second Vietnam quagmire. Too bad
for them, it's failing.