McCain / Republicans Blame Acorn Despite Their Own Relationships With The Organization
“It has deeply saddened us to see Senator McCain abandon his historic support for ACORN and our efforts to support the goals of low-income Americans.”
”We are sure that the extremists he is trying to get into a froth will be even more excited to learn that John McCain stood shoulder to shoulder with ACORN, at an ACORN co-sponsored event, to promote immigration reform.”
Bertha Lewis, Acorn’s chief organizer
Fact: ACORN has implemented the most sophisticated quality-control system in the voter engagement field BUT in almost every state they are required to turn in ALL completed applications, even the ones known to be problematic.
Fact: ACORN flags in writing incomplete, problem, or suspicious cards when they turn them in. Unfortunately, some of these same officials then come back weeks or months later and accuse them of deliberately turning in phony cards. In many cases, they can actually prove that these are the same cards they called to their attention.
Fact: Canvassers are paid by the hour, not by the card. ACORN has a zero-tolerance policy for deliberately falsifying registrations, and in the cases where their internal quality controls have identified this happening they have fired the workers involved and turned them in to election officials and law-enforcement.
Fact: No criminal charges related to voter registration have ever been brought against ACORN or partner organizations. Convictions against individual former ACORN workers have been accomplished with ACORN’s full cooperation, using the evidence obtained through their own quality control and verification processes – evidence which in most cases THEY called to the attention of authorities
Fact: Most election officials have recognized ACORN’s good work and praised their quality control systems. Even in the cities where election officials have complained about ACORN, the applications in question represent less than 1% of the thousands and thousands of registrations ACORN has collected.
Sam Stien points out today that several republicans have history of working with ACORN:
- Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, for example, partnered with ACORN in March 2008
- Republican governor, Rick Perry of Texas signed ACORN’s Lending Law Reform Bill in 2005
- California Governor and McCain supporter Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill that ACORN helped draft aimed at California homeowners facing foreclosure in July, 2008
Think Progress also addresses this issue stateing:
This week, the New York Times reported that “tens of thousands of eligible voters in at least six swing states have been removed from the rolls or have been blocked from registering in ways that appear to violate federal law.” But instead of expressing concern about tens of thousands of potentially disenfranchised citizens, what are conservatives up in arms about? The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), which announcedthat it had registered 1.3 million new voters.
It’s important to highlight a couple of facts to correct the right-wing rhetoric:
- Fraudulent registration forms do not constitute voter fraud.
Voter fraud only occurs if someone tries to improperly cast a vote. “It’s not voter fraud unless someone shows up at the voting booth on election day and tries to pass himself off as ‘Tony Romo.’ And who would try to do that?” wrote Rep. Jesse Jackson (D-IL). The Brennan Center for Justice noted that “there are no reports that we have discovered of votes actually cast in the names of [false] registrants.”
- In most states, organizations like ACORN are required by law to turn in every registration card they receive.
As the Wall Street Journal reported, “New Mexico law requires Acorn to turn in all applications, no matter how suspicious-looking, within 48 hours. Elections officials do their own quality control on registrations.” In fact, “under most state laws, voter registration organizations are required to turn in all the forms they receive.” Furthermore, ACORN explained in a statement that “for the past 10 months, any time ACORN has identified a potentially fraudulent application, we turn that application into election officials separately and offer to provide election officials with the information they would need to pursue an investigation or prosecution of the individual.”
When a department store calls the police to report a shoplifting employee, no one says the department store is guilty of consumer fraud. The same principle applies here. The small number of staffers who have submitted fraudulent forms are violating ACORN’s mission. Anyone caught defrauding should be prosecuted, and ACORN says it is assisting in that effort. ACORN should work harder to catch these employees and ensure that they are held responsible.
After years of enacting policies catering to the wealthy, the right-wing seems to be fearful of millions of new low-income voters casting their ballot in favor of progressive policies.
As well as the details behind the latest evens:
10/7/08: ‘Stunt’ Raid at NV ACORN Office & the GOP ACORN Lie Revealed
10/8/08: RNC Issues Fox ‘News’ Transcript on ACORN ‘Voter Fraud’ as Press Release
10/9/08: GOP Election Official Claims ACORN ‘Voter Fraud’ in MO
10/9/08: GOP Sheriff Claims ‘Voter Fraud’ in Dem County in OH
10/12/08: FL’s ‘Voting-Rigging’ Congressman Cries ‘Voter Fraud’ on Fox
10/12/08: 1.3 Million Reasons for the GOP ‘Dixie-Chicking’ of ACORN…