Friday, October 10, 2008

Related to the Conversation About ACORN

This bit was very helpful to me in putting the story in context. I guess I wasn't alone in misunderstanding how ACORN is actually run:

ACORN registers lots of lower income and/or minority voters. They operate all across the country and do a lot of things beside voter registration. What's key to understand is their method. By and large they do not rely on volunteers. They hire people -- often people with low incomes or even the unemployed. This has the dual effect of not only registering people but also providing some work and income for people who are out of work. But because a lot of these people are doing it for the money, inevitably, a few of them cut corners or even cheat. So, inevitably someone will end up filling out cards for nonexistent names and some of those slip through ACORN's own efforts to catch errors. It's important to note that in many of the recent ACORN cases that have gotten the most attention it's ACORN itself that has turned the people in who did the fake registrations. These reports start buzzing through the right-wing media every two years and every time the anecdotal reports of 'thousands' of fraudulent registrations turns out, on closer inspection, to be either totally bogus themselves or wildly exaggerated. So thousands of phoney registrations ends up being, like, twelve.

And, further, the point about the feasibility of accomplishing fraudulent voting this way:
I've always had questions about whether this is a good way to do voter registration. And Democratic campaigns usually keep their distance. But here's the key. This is fraud against ACORN. They end up paying people for more registering people then they eventually signed up. If you register me three times to vote, the registrar will see two new registrations of an already registered person and the ones won't count. If I successfully register Mickey Mouse to vote, on election day, Mickey Mouse will still be a cartoon character who cannot go to the local voting station and vote. Logically speaking there's very little way a few phony names on the voting rolls could be used to commit vote fraud. And much more importantly, numerous studies and investigations have shown no evidence of anything more than a handful of isolated casing of actual instances of vote fraud.

So assuming the workers who are forging the voter registrations are self-sabotaging Democratic partisans (or Republican plants, for that matter) misinterprets things. The important thing here is the very coordinated reaction to and framing of ACORN's defrauding:

What you're hearing right now from Fox News, the New York Post, John Fund and the rest of the right-wing bamboozlement chorus is a just another effort to exploit, confuse and lie in an effort to put more severe restrictions on legitimate voting and lay the groundwork to steal elections.

It's that simple.


Toby said...

Yeah, I was one of the people who sent a request to TPM for an update on this issue, so I was happy to see it. I feel much better. The GOP will still squawk, but it's all smoke, no fire.

Laura said...

And tie it to Obama and Ayers!
For real.

Because, see, Obama and Ayers worked with ACORN, which tried to "loosen" loan standards for minorities (always with those damned undeserving minorities), which somehow ties into Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, how I'm not sure. But, the important thing to remember: Obama, bad; Ayers, terrorist; ACORN, democratic tool; Freddie Mac/Fannie Mae, source of financial meltdown.

The mind reels. You have to admire the ingenuity, or the stupidity.