Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Acorns and Wingnuts

ACORN is the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. Though the non-partisan organization was formed in 1970, most people just heard about them and their voter registration drives in the last few weeks.

Wingnut is a not-so-nice term for people who support far-right conspiracy theories.

When wingnuts hold conspiracy theories about acorns, democracy is threatened.

In a recent article, Brad Friedman clearly explains the voter fraud hoax being spread by FOX News and CNN:
Here are the facts. Acorn verifies the legitimacy of every registration its canvassers collect. If they can't authenticate the registration, or it's incomplete or questionable in other ways, they flag that form as problematic ("fraudulent", "incomplete", et cetera). They then hand in all registration forms, even the problematic ones, to elections officials, as they are required to do by law. In almost every case where you've heard about fraud by Acorn, it's because Acorn itself notified officials about the fraud that's been perpetrated on them by rogue canvassers. Most officials who run to the media screaming "Acorn is committing fraud" know all of the above but don't bother to share those facts with the media they've run to. None of this is about voter fraud. None of it. Where any fraud has occurred, it's voter registration fraud and has resulted in exactly zero fraudulent votes.

You'll hear that Donald Duck, Mary Poppins, Dick Tracy, Mickey Mouse and (new this year) the starting lineup of the Dallas Cowboys football team have all had fraudulent registrations submitted in their names. That's true. And we know this, why? Because Acorn told officials about it when they followed the law and turned in those registrations, flagged as fraudulent.

What you won't hear is that federal law requires anybody who does not register to vote in person at the county office to show an ID when they go to vote the first time. So, unless Donald Duck shows up with his ID, he won't be voting this November. You needn't worry, no matter how much even John McCain himself cynically and dishonourably tries to mislead you.
I guess that means McCain is a wingnut (who delivered a key speech for ACORN in 2006), but the main point is that the MSM is telling lies. And while they tell these lies, they ignore the very real problem of voter purges. The New York Times investigated how swing states are illegally removing voters from rolls:

States have been trying to follow the Help America Vote Act of 2002 and remove the names of voters who should no longer be listed; but for every voter added to the rolls in the past two months in some states, election officials have removed two, a review of the records shows.

The six swing states seem to be in violation of federal law in two ways. Michigan and Colorado are removing voters from the rolls within 90 days of a federal election, which is not allowed except when voters die, notify the authorities that they have moved out of state, or have been declared unfit to vote.

Indiana, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio seem to be improperly using Social Security data to verify registration applications for new voters.

In addition to the six swing states, three more states appear to be violating federal law. Alabama and Georgia seem to be improperly using Social Security information to screen registration applications from new voters. And Louisiana appears to have removed thousands of voters after the federal deadline for taking such action.
Undoubtedly, some people will go to their polling place on November 4 and find out they are not registered to vote! That will be the November surprise.

The MSM also largely ignores the many problems with electronic voting. As I commented earlier this month, even Homer Simpson gets it.

So why is the MSM lying and promoting the ACORN myths? For one thing, ACORN's priorities have included better housing and wages for the poor, more community development investment from banks and governments, and better public schools. These are issues that many Republicans don't support.

But there is another glaring reason. Those who would complain about voter registration drives obviously don't give a damn whether every eligible American is able to cast their vote and have their vote counted. Instead, these wingnuts want to cast doubt -- doubt about the legitimacy of the results if Obama wins.

I've said it before, but I'll gladly repeat myself. I think it's time for a constitutional amendment guaranteeing the right of every American 18 years or older to vote in federal elections. Until then, people will be at the mercy of every local bureaucracy, every partisan organization, and every wingnut who doesn't believe in democracy.

No comments: