ACORN - A New Problem for Obama or another Distraction?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Cleverboy, Oct 10, 2008.

  1. Cleverboy macrumors 65816

    Cleverboy

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    #1
    So the McCain campaign has now gone on record, calling for the media to question Obama's ties to ACORN. Also, the GOP has created a new website, detailing Obama's ties to the non-partisan voter registration group:
    http://www.gop.com/obamaacorntree/

    I'm scratching my head. I saw CNN cover this, and almost lost, was the note that the real concern is not that people submit fake voter registration forms, but that there is an intention to actually submit FAKE VOTES. CNN kind of whizzed past this detail, and simply kept trying to track down officials from ACORN.

    I'm left thinking to myself... Hm. What it SOUNDS like... is that someone (probably poor people) are being given the task to fill out voter registration forms. They are receiving some type of credit (compensation) for the amount of completed forms they hand in. Some of these workers start filling in the forms themselves, when they're unable to make the numbers they're supposed to hit... taking names off of buildings, registering dead people, making people up... and they submit the forms. When the forms are processed, these errors are caught and they must be sorted out, often causing tremendous consternation from the people who's job it is to process the forms handed in (and verify that it is a real person).

    For there to be a concerted attempt at fraud, these fraudulent registration forms would need to be one part of TWO lists. One list of "fake people" is handed in to register, and ANOTHER list of "fake people" is used to actually VOTE with when it comes time for election day.

    Has ANYONE been reporting on the existance of a second list of these fake people, or has anyone found this to be anything other than a case of people doing a "shoddy job" by paying for results and fudging on accuracy?

    In a weirdly named thread on this topic (I honestly didn't want to reply to it, because it was started in a lunatic tin-foil hate way) jplan2008 put a fine point on this:
    People are starting to get riled up over this "phantom problem"... is there something I'm missing, or is this just a last gasp at inventing something EVIL to tie Barack Obama to in the 11th hour? Without applying some logic to it (again, unless I'm missing something) it seems like a horrible JOKE of an "issue". Its giving many Americans the creeping impression that Obama is trying to steal the election, when logically, that doesn't add up unless someone produces a list of fake voter ids that were intentionally kept separate for election time (or used methodically to fill out absentee ballots).

    I mean, its a disturbing tactic to see negative press, and then skip over how BAD something is, and start making an association between the thing and someone else with the assumption that the first thing is pure evil. Disturbing, because I think its actually effective... if you DON'T think.

    ... Unless I'm missing something.

    ~ CB
     
  2. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #2
    Reading between the lines here --

    We've all been wondering if the Republicans were going to spring some sort of October surprise on us. What if this is it? And what if it goes deeper than that?

    Could it be that Republicans have been registering to work in ACORN, with the express intent of filing these phony registration forms just so they could turn around and "blow the cover" off them to make ACORN look bad?

    Before the right wingers here start smirking, recall that such an idea would only be a variant of the misleading mailings ("Don't forget to vote Wednesday!"), push polls, voter blacklists and other familiar tricks.

    Or is it just a coincidence that this is happening now, in an organization closely identified with Obama?
     
  3. Anuba macrumors 68040

    Anuba

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    #3
    I've been thinking about that too. It sounds contrived and tinfoil-hattish, but come on... these false registrations were some of the most moronic, blatant attempts I've ever seen... dozens of identical signatures, stupid and obviously phoney names... they were begging to get caught. If they still hadn't been caught, they wouldn't have turned into votes anyway, so there was nothing to lose.
     
  4. Cleverboy thread starter macrumors 65816

    Cleverboy

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    #6
    We're still skipping over the logic error (and thanks Aranice, that's a good article). It immediately addresses the issue Thomas cited (about whether its caused by some nefarious Machiavelli... apparently not) and straight to the issue I brought up in the first place... namely, how would this ring closer to possible "voter fraud" and not "registration fraud" AND if its NOT "voter fraud", then WHY is someone doing this?

    ACORN AT FAULT:
    ROOT OF FEAR?
    OBVIOUS MOTIVATION?
    It seems obvious that the NUMBERS of "registrations" matter, and that people obviously don't seem to be clear that simply "inventing" registrations, or coercing people to re-register is actually a criminal offense (not to mention a waste of time and money for the people processing the registration forms.

    Problem is, I knew there was a 50-state voter registration initiative, and that while the Obama campaign only used ACORN in the primaries, results-driven pressures inevitably lead to a corruption of the process unless there is a clear ideological mission statement in place that encourages honesty and per-person checks on the integrity of the operation. All you need is a handful of ignorant, motivated people to give an organization's reputation a black-eye. This plagued the Obama campaign in Texas, where a handful of Obama supporters locked Clinton supporters outside of a Caucus area and created issues in counting ballots. Undoubtedly what also led Obama to curiously get ZERO votes in a number of precincts in New York.

    It sounds like the REAL issue is "absentee ballots" and the real culprit is per-registration gratuities (however cloaked from scrutiny... you can smell it, there's little other reason).

    ~ CB
     
  5. jplan2008 macrumors regular

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    #7
    ACORN doesn't pay per registration. But, like with any job, I'm sure there are performance standards that the workers have to meet. In any industry, there are dishonest workers that try to get paid for not working. The people that are hurt if the false registrations actually get through (which I doubt) are those who think there were 100 new Democrats registered (since most would be democrats), but really there were 99. Again, these are acts perpetrated by a few workers (and possibly people on the right sending their own "workers" to ACORN) -- they don't end up changing the election, whereas voter suppression and illegally purging the voter rolls, done by the right, does, and is actual voter fraud.

    Naturally the campaign that is trying to throw mud everywhere hoping it will stick , will try to link this to Obama -- as well as going after ACORN, their other enemy -- the pressure on attorney generals to prosecute ACORN is an example of their historic attacks against ACORN. If Obama wins, the right can say it was due to voter fraud, which it won't be. If there are widespread instances of voter suppression, which is expected, then it can be put in the light as something on both sides (which it isn't).

    http://acorn.org/index.php?id=12439&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=22380&tx_ttnews[backPid]=12387&cHash=f743100728

    ACORN has just completed the largest, most successful nonpartisan voter registration drive in U.S. history. We helped 1.3 million low-income, minority and young voters across the country register to vote.

    Unfortunately, just as in 2006, that success in bringing people into the democratic process, have been greeted with unfounded accusations to disparage our work and help maintain the status quo of an unbalanced electorate.

    After a similar spate of charges against ACORN in 2006, we learned that then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had fired Republican U.S. Attorneys because they refused to prosecute ACORN and other voter assistance groups on trumped up fraud charges. This was the heart of the U.S. Attorney-gate scandal that led Karl Rove, Gonzales and other top Department of Justice officials to resign. Because the press didn’t catch on until long after the election, it was part of a successful strategy to create an unfounded specter of voter fraud and to suppress voting.

    Key Facts:

    1. In order to help 1.3 million people register to vote, we hired more than 13,000 registration assistance workers. As with any business or agency that operates at this scale, there are always some people who want to get paid without really doing the job, or who aim to defraud their employer. Any large department store will have some workers who shoplift.

    2. Any large voter registration operation will have a small percentage of workers who turn in bogus registration forms, Their goal clearly is not to cast a fraudulent vote. It is simply to defraud their employer, ACORN, by getting a paycheck without earning it. ACORN is the victim of this fraud – not the perpetrator.

    3. In nearly every case that has been reported , it was ACORN that discovered the bad forms, and called them to the attention of election authorities, putting the forms in a package that identified them in writing as suspicious, encouraging election officials to investigate, and offering to help with prosecutions. We are required by law to turn in all forms, but instead of just turning them in and figuring that it is the responsibility of the board of elections to figure out which are valid, we spend millions of dollars verifying that forms are valid, and then separate out those that are suspicious.

    4. This has nothing to do with “voter fraud” – nothing at all to do with anyone trying to cast an extra vote. There has never been a single reported instance in which bogus registration forms have led to anyone voting improperly. To do that, they would have to show up at the polls, prove their identity as all first-time registrants must, and risk jail. The people who turned in these forms did so not because they wanted an extra vote, but because they didn’t care enough to make sure eligible people got to vote at all.

    5. When a department store calls the police to report a shoplifting employee, no one says the department store is guilty of consumer fraud. But for some reason, when ACORN turns voter registration workers over to the authorities for filling out bogus forms, it gets accused of “voter fraud.” This is a classic case of blaming the victim; indeed, these charges are outrageous, libelous, and often politically motivated.

    6. Similar attacks were launched against ACORN and other voter registration organizations in 2004 and 2006. The bogus charges were at the heart of the U.S. Attorney-gate scandal that led to the resignations of Karl Rove, Attorney General Ablerto Gonzales and other top Justice Department Officials. It turned out that it was the charges that were fraudulent, and that they were part of a systematic partisan agenda of voter suppression. Republican U.S. Attorneys David Iglesias (NM), Todd Graves (MO), and John McKay (WA) all were fired primarily because they refused to prosecute similar bogus charges of “voter fraud.” Another U.S. Attorney, Bradley Schlozman, who did politicize prosecutions against former ACORN canvassers, was forced to acknowledge under cross examination by the Senate Judiciary Committee that ACORN was the victim of fraud by its employees and ACORN had caught the employees and had identified them to law enforcement.

    7. The goals of the people orchestrating these attacks are to distract ACORN from helping people vote and to justify massive voter suppression. That’s the real voter fraud; the noise about a small fraction of the forms ACORN has turned in is meant to get the press and public take their eyes off the real threat, while those hurling the charges are stealing people’s right to vote in broad daylight. They have already tried to prevent Ohio from registering voters at its early voting sites. In Michigan, they planned to use foreclosure notices to challenge thousands of voters. And if this year is like past years, they are preparing to use this so-called voter fraud to justify massive challenges to voters in minority precincts on Election Day.

    The Details:

    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 in writing incomplete, problem, or suspicious cards when we turn them in,. Unfortunately, some of these same officials then come back weeks or months later and accuse us of deliberately turning in phony cards. In many cases, we can actually prove that these are the same cards we called to their attention.

    Fact: Our 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 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 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 our full cooperation, using the evidence obtained through our quality control and verification processes — evidence which in most cases WE called to the attention of authorities

    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

    ACORN will not be intimidated, we will not be provoked, and in this important moment in history we will not allow anyone to distract us from these vital efforts to empower our constituencies and our communities to speak for themselves.
     
  6. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #8
    Barring any proof of intent to defraud, I can accept ACORN's explanation of what happened. Let's not forget that the Republicans love to single out one or two organizations each election and slander them. Last time it was AARP, remember? By the time the GOP got done with them, AARP's "save Social Security" agenda got turned into a pro-gay marriage, anti-Bible, Communist-run one.
     
  7. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

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    #9
    This whole ACORN thing is a joke. And to try to use it as a political attack is just rank desperation. Obviously it's worked before, but it's absolutely nothing compared to the shenanigans involving polling machine distribution, illegal purges of voter rolls, and voter intimidation that the right has engaged in.

    Does anyone really think Donald Duck is going to show up to cast a vote for Obama?
     
  8. it5five macrumors 65816

    it5five

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    #10
    Did anyone else watch Bill Maher last night? He had on some Republican from the WSJ who started blathering on about ACORN, per his talking point instructions, no doubt. Watch this video to see an excellent response by Maxine Waters (D-CA). Skip ahead to 3:10 to see it. Hilarious.

    Republicans don't know what it means. They don't know what the organization does. All they know is they are not supposed to like it.

    Every time I see a Republican like that guy on TV giving an interview, I always wonder if they actually believe the trash coming out of their mouths. Do these people not research or question or look into anything? It seems like they hear something from the party higher-ups, then repeat it verbatim.
     
  9. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #11
    Unfortunately, I think that guy did believe what he was saying -- much to the bemusement of the audience. He was clearly delusional.

    Thanks for the clip. The description of Sarah Palin as an "evangelical dominatrix" is one I won't soon forget. :p
     
  10. Anuba macrumors 68040

    Anuba

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    #12
    Priceless. :D

    OK, I'm sorry but I'm gonna have to start referring to the US as South America, the air as the sea, and bubble gum disco as classical music until conservatives stop using the term "liberal" all wrong.

    A liberal is someone who advocates free markets, small government, individual liberties and low taxes. That's what liberalism is, and always was, ever since the term was coined. If this isn't what the Democrats stand for, then they are not liberals, period. I can buy that Americans refer to lifts as elevators or drop the 'u' from 'colour', but I can't buy changing the meaning of a word to its polar opposite.
     
  11. it5five macrumors 65816

    it5five

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    #13
    If you don't have HBO, I'd recommend downloading the podcast of his show. It's available for free, although it's only audio. Most of the panel discussions are great.
     
  12. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #14
    If anyone is still wondering, read some of these and tell me this is still what the talking heads are trying to make it out to be:

    Attacks on ACORN Based Not on Facts, But on Fear of 1.3 Million Poor People Registering
    Concern trolling ACORN = racism. Period.
    The ACORN Hysteria
    Delegitimization Project

    Causing:

    Death threat, vandalism hit ACORN after McCain comments

    Even though:

    ACORN: McCain And GOP Used To Be Supporters

    Which is why:

    U.S. Supreme Court throws out largest GOP "voter fraud" case involving ACORN, others

    Also seen here:

    Iglesias: "I'm Astounded" By DOJ's ACORN Probe

    ... for those still wondering why the politicizing of the DOJ was a bad thing. Look, they paid people (mostly otherwise poor and even homeless people) to go register voters. Some of them (a very small number) either got some bad names, or purposely wrote in fake names so they could get paid without really working. As per those who were asking for people to sign up again even if they already had. ACORN themselves had people to check the names and registrations. They couldn't destroy any because THAT would be voter/registration fraud, so they flag the ones that might be fraudulent. And even if they were fraudulent, Obama has less to do with them than McCain does, as per my link above.

    You want to see some voter registration fraud:

    States’ Actions to Block Voters Appear Illegal

    And for added fun:

    Would Republicans accuse Joe the Plumber of voter fraud?
     
  13. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #15
    I subscribe to the podcast, and yes, it's great. :)
     

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