ACORN and voter registration
Discussion list for COMM-ORG
colist at comm-org.wisc.edu
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 acorn.org>
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:
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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