ACORN and voter registration

Discussion list for COMM-ORG colist at
Sat Oct 25 09:28:20 CDT 2008

[ed:  sorry, I missed this one in the update I just sent out.]

From:     Steve Kest, ACORN Executive Director <legrep at>

We thought you'd be interested in this full page ad supporting ACORN's 
work, which ran in yesterday's New York Times. Thanks to our friends at 
People for the American Way for this!

Also this excellent editorial ran in this morning's Philadelphia Inquirer:
Editorial: ACORN
Registering the 'wrong' people

One would think ACORN was the acronym for some subversive Commie 
organization, given recent attacks on it by the Republican Party and 
John McCain's presidential campaign. What's the national community 
organization's crime? It registers people to vote.

The devil, you say! We can't have too many people voting in a democracy! 
Especially too many of the wrong people. And the wrong people, it seems, 
are the many folks who live in the 110 cities, including Philadelphia, 
where you can find chapters of ACORN, which stands for Association of 
Community Organizations for Reform Now.

What reforms does ACORN want? Since 1970, the nonprofit has agitated for 
social justice, trying to enact living-wage laws, attacking predatory 
lending - a focus of ACORN in this city - pushing for affordable 
housing, and registering voters.

It's that last thing that has the Republicans upset. They allege that 
"widespread" instances of fake registrations are the result of a 
national campaign by ACORN to steal the 2008 presidential election for 
Democrat Barack Obama. As evidence, they note that Obama represented 
ACORN as an attorney 13 years ago. It doesn't matter to them that the 
U.S. Justice Department was on ACORN's side in that case, too.

There have been problems with a fraction of the 1.3 million mostly 
low-income voters that ACORN has registered this year - 140,000 in 
Pennsylvania. But in many cases, it was ACORN that alerted local 
election officials to faulty signatures.

 Indeed, the arrest this week of a Chester man for allegedly forging 
voter-registration forms came after ACORN notified Delaware County 
officials. There was no conspiracy, just a guy who wanted to get paid 
for registering voters without actually doing the work. But the 
Republicans have filed suit in several states, including Pennsylvania, 
claiming that ACORN has "perverted" the electoral process and that a 
voter-fraud "epidemic" needs "antibiotics."

One pill that the GOP wants prescribed would allow it to challenge the 
eligibility of more voters at the polls. It also wants the court to 
order ACORN to do TV and radio ads telling first-time voters they must 
show proof of identity before casting ballots. That's a proven tactic to 
suppress turnout, and the courts shouldn't participate in the scheme. 
Election officials will still be able to prevent Mickey Mouse from voting.

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