So Where’s the ACORN ‘Voter Fraud’?

It Doesn’t Exist, But That Fact Won’t Keep the Wingnuts From Claiming Otherwise…

— Brad Friedman

So where’s the “voter fraud”?

Fox “News”, and it’s Rupert Murdoch owned print brethren, the New York Post, continue to bang the GOP’s phony ACORN “voter fraud” drum, but as far as I can tell, they’ve failed to come up with a single incident of any actual voter fraud committed by the dastardly “left-wing extremists”.

Yes, Ann Coulter has committed felony voter fraud, but neither of the Murdoch outfits have yet to note that point, even while they go wall-to-wall with misleading reports claiming that ACORN is committing massive “voter fraud” on behalf of the Democrats.

So, as it’s now been revealed that John McCain himself was a keynote speaker at a 2006 ACORN rally (on immigration reform) in Florida, where he declared to the ACORN volunteers in the room that they are “What makes America special”, and as I’ve been going back and forth with commenters on my “Republican Voter Fraud Hoax” piece at the UK’s Guardian (which today, has shot up to one of their most read items), still, nobody seems able to show me an instance of any actual voter fraud committed by ACORN, or even anybody who registered via ACORN for that matter.

Those who wish to believe in the hoax, however, attempt to link to article after article about allegations of voter fraud carried out by ACORN. And yet, the articles themselves — if one bothers to actually read them — reveal that either 1) They describe allegations and investigations brought by Republican agents, with little or no evidence of any wrong doing, and certainly no “voter fraud” 2) Where voter registration fraud has occurred it has been by rogue ACORN employees, originally reported to authorities by ACORN themselves (who are the actual victims of any such fraud by their employees), or 3) Smoke and mirrors are used to cloud the fact that not a single fraudulent vote has actually been cast by anyone.

Let’s take a look at just two recent, oft-linked, oft-quoted New York Post articles from today and last week to give you an idea of how the scam works, and how the rightwing suckers fall for it. Every time…

Today, the Post is running an article headlined: “4,000 SHADY SIGN-UPS: Bogus Voter Booted Amid Probe of Acorn”.

The story is cited by one gullible chump after another in comments at wingnut Michelle Malkin’s site today where she reports on former OH Republican Sec. of State J. Kenneth Blackwell’s rightwing outfit in Ohio which has decided to file a RICO case against ACORN (just doing their part to help build the fiction, naturally, though Malkin doesn’t mention it’s comrade Blackwell’s outfit.) The ethically-bankrupt Malkin, by the way, had also falsely reported, just days before the 2004 election in Ohio, that ACORN was registering terrorists to vote in the Buckeye State! So this days-before-the-election scam is not a new one [PDF] for the GOP, it’s just being trumped up this year more than ever.

Today’s Post article is accompanied by a huge photo of a snarling, street-lookin’ black dude who claims to “have signed 73 voter registration forms for Acorn”, according to the caption along with it.

The story’s lede reports that “An Ohio man who registered to vote several times cast a bogus ballot with a fake address in a vote-fraud case stemming from ACORN, officials said today” and goes on to say that Darnell Nash (not pictured with the article) “had registered to vote repeatedly from an address that belonged to an actual registered voter.”

VOTER FRAUD! Right? Well, right. But ACORN had nothing to do with it. But you’d have to read carefully to notice.

The story goes on to explain (apparently to wingnuts who don’t bother to read beyond the first two grafs, if that much) that Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) Board of Elections “officials had been in contact with Nash since the summer, and informed him he had to stop repeat registering.”

So the Board of Elections already knew about the problem with this voter months ago, were already given information about his fraudulent registrations as turned in, and flagged by ACORN, as they must do, by law, even after confirming in their quality control process that a registration is problematic in some way, and yet the story hits Murdoch’s Post today, amidst a flurry of ginned-up Fox “News” panic about ACORN “voter fraud”. Go figure.

But the Mickey Mouse nature of the argument becomes more apparent, as the article goes on to quote Cuyahoga Election Director Jane Platten, who says: “He came in on 9/30 and Mr. Nash again registered to vote at [someone else’s] address, and he cast a ballot.”

So Nash did commit voter fraud, it was caught by officials, and it had nothing to do with ACORN, as Nash registered himself at the county’s Board of Elections.

Of course, had Nash tried to vote under the registration(s) he filed with ACORN, he’d not have been able to vote, since federal law — the Help America Vote Act of 2002 — requires that ID must be shown, when voting the first time, by anybody who hadn’t registered in person originally.

On that grounds, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Mary Poppins, and all the other Disney characters the wingnuts like to point to as having been “registered by ACORN”, would not be able to vote either, unless they could prove they were actually Mickey, Donald or Mary.

The Post even goes on to describe how the bi-partisan members of the Cuyahoga County election board, “downplayed any voter fraud”, and how ACORN has been instrumental in helping them to ferret out fraud of any type, by anybody:

[M]embers of the bipartisan board downplayed any voter fraud.And Platten insisted that officials with ACORN have offered “any and all” help in probing the questionable activities. Katy Gall, the Ohio state director for ACORN, said her group is cooperating fully with the investigation.

She added that her group has fired anyone who was found soliciting duplicate registrations.

ACORN, whose political arm has endorsed Democratic nominee Obama, has signed up more than 1.3 million voters for this cycle.

ACORN adviser Scott Levenson said, “If one of the 13,000 [people] we hired is potentially a bad apple in the bunch, we encourage the authorities to prosecute as appropriate or anyone that did the wrong thing. We discipline, [and] we fire workers who [abuse their position] . . . we encourage prosecutors to follow suit.”

He also strenuously denied suggestions that the group pays canvassers by the number of names they sign up, and that they have quotas.

On that last point, it should be noted that ACORN’s fact sheets have pointed out time and again that they don’t pay per registration. “Our canvassers are paid by the hour, not by the card,” ACORN has noted, before pointed out that “ACORN has a zero-tolerance policy for deliberately falsifying registrations, and in the 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.”

I contacted ACORN’s communication’s director, Charles D. Jackson to press him on that point, since so many — even those in the progressive blogosphere — have been misreporting that point by suggesting that ACORN’s 13,000 voter registration canvassers are paid by the registration, or are forced to meet some kind of quota. They are not, according to Jackson.

As he confirmed to me via email: “We don’t have a quota system. We have a performance standard system based on the quality of the cards, which includes complete cards, phone numbers, good phone numbers, but it’s not based on quota. No one has been fired for not completing a number of cards. The number of cards turned in per day have ranged from 12-25, 10-15. Some canvassers turned in between 1-5 cards, and were not terminated. We terminate people when they falsify cards, turn in too many incomplete cards, and consistent bad phone numbers.”

So, no ACORN voter fraud in today’s New York Post if you actually bother to pay attention. The Republicans, desperate to come up with something, anything, that may offer them an advantage at the polls — now, on Election Day, or thereafter in legal challenges — are willing to say and do anything to continue the myth of Democratic voter fraud, particularly by those ACORN “leftists” who had the temerity to sign up some 1.3 million low-income (and thus, Democratic-leaning) voters over the past two years.

(Those 1.3 million largely-Democratic registrations, by the way, is what this is all about, if you’ve yet to figure that out.)

But, how about last week’s story the wingnuts were linking to all over the web over the last several days, the one trumpeted by Murdoch’s Fox “News” for days now, and headlined “1 VOTER, 72 REGISTRATIONS: ‘Acorn Paid Me in Cash & Cigs'”.

There’s our man Freddie pictured again (apparently he must have registered one more time since this original October 10 report, as today’s Post piece notes he registered 73 times. But facts, schmacks, right?)

And what did the original Post article tell us, as reported by Murdoch’s paper, on the same day that the RNC released a Fox & Friends transcript — in which the hosts discuss this same report — verbatim, as an official party press release?

That article details how Freddie claims to have been pressured to register 72 times, over an 18-month period, by ACORN canvassers, to fill out registration forms in Cuyahoga County.

But note this quickly mentioned point in the report: “Johnson used the same information on all of his registration cards, and officials say they usually catch and toss out duplicate registrations.”

In other words, Johnson registered to vote, 72 times, at the same address. That, of course, would entitle Freddie to exactly 1 vote, just like you and I. And before casting it, he’d have to show ID confirming he was who he registered as, and that he lived at that address, as per federal law.

So again I ask: where’s the voter fraud?

Doesn’t matter. Firing up the GOP base, playing to their worst nightmares and darkest (self) instincts, in hopes of wreaking havoc at the polls, knocking folks off the voter rolls, and challenging them on Election Day and beyond is all that matters.

The once-honorable John McCain knows it, but it didn’t stop him from parroting the same garbage on the stump last week (video here). And Sarah Palin (probably) knows it, but it didn’t stop the RNC — who definitely know it’s all nonsense — from sending out a fundraising email in her name on Monday, claiming that “The left-wing activist group, ACORN, is now under investigation for voter registration fraud in a number of battleground states… We can’t allow leftist groups like ACORN to steal this election.”

If she believes what the RNC wrote for her, Palin would do well then to call out her her running mate, McCain, for “palling around with” those “left-wing activists” two years ago, when he lauded them while serving as their keynote speaker at that 2006 immigratoin reform rally in Florida.

As to being “under investigation”, well, Sarah Palin and John McCain are currently “under investigation” for attempting to steal the election in all 50 states. I should know, I’m the one investigating. And I’ve got at least as much evidence — if not much, much more — than they do, to prove it.

So where’s the “ACORN voter fraud”? I hope you wingnuts will write in to let me know. Please feel free to post the link, but, do me a favor, read the article first before you bother to send me the link, because it most likely shows no such thing. Suckers.

The BRAD BLOG’s special coverage page on the “GOP’s ACORN ‘Voter Fraud’ Scam” is here…
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