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Acorn Sets the Record Straight

By M. Wizard  Posted by M. Wizard (about the submitter)     Permalink
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Marc Ambinder passes along a memo from ACORN about its voter registration process. We urge you to forward this message to your contacts in order to help clear up a non-issue that is getting a lot of attention despite its utter lack of substance.

Summing up:

[1] Acorn pays by the hour, not the card.

[2] In most states, it must report all registrations, even suspicious ones,
which it flags for the registrar's attention before submission. These flagged registrations are the main source of the "evidence" for fraud presented by rightwing media outlets such as the New York Post.

[3] There is almost no chance that any these names would actually be allowed to vote, nor any evidence that they actually have voted.

[4] Millions of voters have been registered, mainly among low-income and minority groups, so while ACORN has no incentive to fake anything, the GOP has an obvious motive to smear these efforts to make democracy effective.

--Begin quoted text--

To: Interested Parties From: Bertha Lewis and Steve Kest Date:  October 9, 2008
Re: The Truth About ACORN's Voter Registration Drive

As The Nation pointed out recently, ACORN's success in registering millions of low-income and minority voters has made it "something of a right-wing bogeyman."
Though ACORN believes that the right to vote is not, and should never be, a partisan issue, attacks from groups threatened by our historic success continue to come, motivated by partisan politics and often perpetuated by the media without full investigation of the facts.

As a result, there have been a few recent stories about investigations of former ACORN workers for turning in incomplete, erroneous, or fraudulent voter registration applications. Predictably, partisan forces have tried to use these isolated incidents to incite fear of the "bogeyman" of "widespread voter fraud."
But we want to take this opportunity to set the record straight and tell you a few facts to show how these incidents really exemplify everything that ACORN is doing right:

Fact: ACORN has implemented the most sophisticated quality-control system in the voter engagement field, *but in almost every state we are required to turn in ALL completed applications, even the ones we know to be problematic.*

Fact: ACORN flags incomplete, problem, or suspicious cards when we turn them in, but these warnings are often ignored by election officials. Often these same officials then come back weeks or months later and accuse us of deliberately turning in phony cards.

Fact: Our canvassers are *paid by the hour, not by the card,* so there is NO incentive for them to falsify cards. ACORN has a zero-tolerance policy for deliberately falsifying registrations, and in the relatively rare cases where our internal quality controls have identified this happening we have fired the workers involved and turned them in to election officials and law-enforcement.

Fact: *No charges have ever been brought against ACORN itself. Convictions against individual former ACORN workers have been accomplished with our full cooperation, using the evidence obtained through our quality control and verification processes.*

Fact: Voter fraud by individuals is extremely rare, and incredibly difficult.
There has never been a single proven case of anyone, anywhere, casting an illegal vote as a result of a phony voter registration. Even if someone wanted to influence the election this way, it would not work.

Fact: Most election officials have recognized ACORN's good work and praised our 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.

Fact: Our accusers not only fail to provide any evidence, they fail to suggest a motive: there is virtually no chance anyone would be able to vote fraudulently, so there is no reason to deliberately submit phony registrations. ACORN is committed to ensuring that the greatest possible numbers of people are registered and allowed to vote, so there is also NO incentive to "disrupt the system" with phony cards.

Fact: Similar accusations were made, and attacks launched, against ACORN and other voter registration organizations in 2004 and 2006. These attacks were not only groundless, they have since been exposed as part of the U.S. Attorneygate scandal and revealed to be part of a systematic partisan agenda of voter suppression.

 

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