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Fact-Checking the ACORN Flap

Posted on Oct 18, 2008
Collage: AP photo / Mary Altaffer,

Not a moment too soon, here’s’s assessment of the recent hullabaloo over ACORN, the beleaguered community organization that has been yanked into the epicenter of the election battle since Team McCain seized upon it as a Campaign Talking Point™.

Speaking of the McCain campaign, we’re wondering why the opposition to John McCain, in whatever form it might take, isn’t making more of McCain’s own brush with ACORN affiliation in 2006, after this video made the rounds and garnered mention in The New York Times. What gives, people?

The McCain ad accuses ACORN of “massive voter fraud.” In the final presidential debate, John McCain added that ACORN “is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.” Sounds scary, but is it true?

There’s no evidence of any such democracy-destroying fraud. Here’s what is true: In recent years, ACORN employees have been investigated multiple times for voter registration fraud. ACORN workers have been convicted of submitting false voter registration forms in Colorado Springs in 2005, Kansas City, Mo., in 2006 and King County, Wash., in 2007. ACORN’s Las Vegas office was raided by a state criminal investigator on Oct. 7, 2008. ACORN workers are also the subjects of ongoing investigations in Wisconsin, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana. The Indiana investigation started in early October and may involve thousands of fraudulent registration forms.

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By the-real-truth, October 20, 2008 at 2:38 pm Link to this comment

You can’t vote until your registered so voter fraud is a two step process.

Protecting the integrity of the vote should be handled better on the front end to reduce the potential for fraud. No one should be abled to submit a card that says Mikey Mouse. It just shouldn’t happen.

Saying that election officials catch all of the fraudulent registrations is a lie. They might catch some but no way they are going to catch all so that means there is a failure rate.

A failure rate in this country’s election process is not acceptable. We have the tools and technology to prevent it so the question is why are we not preventing it?

Seems that some rely on it and are willing to exploit it for their gain. No matter how you slice it, its fraud and it is cheating me and you. You can try and play technicality all you want but it does not change the facts. Registration Fraud is not different from Voting Fraud.

If I lived by you I would by ya a beer but im broke paying off school loans so ill just sit here and image that beer. Cheers.

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By KDelphi, October 20, 2008 at 12:54 pm Link to this comment

LJ—I think that, even more than that, teh GOP would enjoy casting doubt and anger onto the election of Sen. Obama. Maybe, any Dem.

Even if they lose, they can hold things up in court, question the election’s legitimacy (which teh Dem did not do enough of when it actually WAS stolen by bush!),or maybe even, try to sensure.

I think that the “worm has turned” too far for it to work. Even people who are not wild about Obama (for reasons other than race)cannot stand another 4 years of the same.

But, we shall see. The govt in Columbus is about as prepared as it can be, given Ohio’s economical limitations.

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By LJ in MD, October 20, 2008 at 12:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

For the last time (who am I kidding):
Registration fraud is not voter fraud.
If someone, anyone, submitted a false registration on purpose - prosecute and fine them.
If someone votes fraudulently - prosecute and jail them.
If someone prevents me or any other lawfully registered citizen from voting by ANY means - prosecute and send them to Gitmo!!
And we all know, Democrats and Republicans, that Mickey Mouse is NOT showing up to vote in Florida.
We all know dead people will NOT be voting in Ohio.
We all know that people will NOT be voting twice in Nevada.
But we do know that the Republicans would love nothing more than having millions of legal Democratic voters wiped off the roles with no time left to reinstate them.
Only one side trying to cheat here - even the Supreme Court had to agree.
If you think that the people currently in power in this country (I mean Oil Companies, Haliburton and the like) would have any hesitation in breaking a stupid law or two to keep control, just remember the $trillions of dollars involved! Vote suppression - done that, it’s easy! Miscounting and losing ballots - so what if they even find out, only some poor schmuck clerk is gonna do time. Rigging voting machines - they don’t even care that we know they are doing it, just try to prove it!
The stakes are high - eternal damnation for the right-wing nuts for voting for a Black Muslim, but even higher for those that will destroy this country rather than “redistributing” any of their spoils of class war.

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By knute, October 20, 2008 at 10:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

re: from the realtruth “The potential for voting fraud in this election is very high. Illegal registration is the first step”

These investigations you mention are being undertaken by those amongst the attorneys that apparently are cooperating with Rove’s plans because they still have a job.

The first step isn’t fraud in voter registration. Its the election fraud committed by the GOP thruout the country removing folks from the voter rolls all together. This uproar over Acorn’s efforts is nothing but the usual smokescreen by the republicans in their efforts to steal another election right in front of us. Apparently with “the Realtruth’s” blessings.

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By KDelphi, October 20, 2008 at 10:11 am Link to this comment

the-real-truth—cyrena would know this stuff much better than I do.

Hi back at ya, and, are you still coming for a beer?

I know you “had a map” and all….

But, dont get your hopes up—my house is no longer worth $61,000. Its a dump!

We also drink off-brand beer here.

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By Louise, October 20, 2008 at 4:44 am Link to this comment

From, .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

California Republican Arrested for Voter Fraud

Posted by Brad Friedman, Brad Blog at 10:15 PM on October 19, 2008.

“Another report of Republican-related voter registration problems surfaces in California.

Yesterday the Los Angeles Times reported on the Republican voter registration outfit who had allegedly been illegally changing thousands of registrations from Democratic to Republican.
Last night the head of that GOP backed group, Mark Anthony Jacoby of Young Political Majors (YPM), was arrested by the California State Election Fraud Taskforce and the Oxnard Police.

According to California Secretary of State Debra Bowen’s press release, Jacoby himself had committed voter registration fraud and perjury by lying on his own voter registration form. (That’s similar to what Ann Coulter did, though she not only committed felony voter registration fraud, she also committed actual voter fraud, as well, even though such fraud is exceedingly rare.)

It was my pleasure to break this story today on Fox “News” of all places! Thanks to VotersUnite! editor John Gideon for getting it posted as I was on the roll towards the studio. I’ll have the video up of my appearance on Fox, and the “Fox News Alert” I was able to do, later tonight.

Please note, this isn’t the first time there have been serious problems with GOP-gathered voter registrations in CA, as outlined recently at Alternet. Looks like the GOP’s voter registration record for errors far outpaced ACORN! Whaddaya know?”

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By cyrena, October 19, 2008 at 11:47 pm Link to this comment


I know your question wasn’t directed to me, but I’d like to answer it, since I’m as ‘qualified’ as any in this respect. (I would ad that the accompanying articles on this forum also explain this quite well.)

My first question would be, Are you sure that your roommate actually REGISTERED to vote? (I’m assuming that you are not a student yourself). If your roommate is not a US citizen, (by birth or naturalization) than your roommate cannot vote in this election, or any other US election.

That would not have prevented your roommate from ATTEMPTING to register, (though that’s taking a serious chance of having his/her student visa revoked) but it doesn’t mean that such an application to register would have been, (nor should it have been) accepted.

And, that’s the point of the articles about ACORN. They are required to keep and submit ALL applications for registration to the proper authorities, even those that don’t appear to be valid. Most of the time, they tag these questionable applications before they even turn them over. Regardless, whether they have been ‘tagged’ or not, it is up to the voter registration officials to go over each and every application, to make sure that the person is in fact legally allowed to vote in US elections. Your roommate’s application should have been rejected, unless they have some other citizen status of which you are not aware. (Occasionally, a person may have a dual citizenship, though it is rare, and in such cases, would not require a student visa).

So, I’m doubtful about whether or not your roommate is in fact ‘registered to vote’. Filling out an application does not mean that they are in fact ‘registered’. I am associated with a University campus and community myself, and we have MANY international students here. The bureaucracy in tracking them, (and keeping track of them) is quite elaborate. They also know that any attempts to vote in a US election could bring criminal charges, and would most certainly revoke their visas. Most are not dumb enough to risk that, and the statistics show NO indication that this is a problem.

You mentioned the Driver’s License, so I’ll go into my spiel on that again. A Driver’s License is NOT proof of citizenship, and it never has been. A Driver’s license has ZERO to do with the ability to vote or not. The only thing a DL does for ANYONE, (citizen or not) is to allow that person to legally operate a vehicle in the state where it was issued. I also serves as an identification to say that the holder of the license is who he or she says they are, but that doesn’t make them a citizen. Having an address here does not make one a citizen. Neither my CA driver’s license or my international driver’s license, or my FAA Airman’s certification is an indication of my citizenship, though my US passport is.

This is confusing to many uninformed people, because of the demand for ID’s at voting polls in many places. The only reason that ID is required is to prove that you are the person on the registrar’s roster, so that you cannot vote in someone else’s name. We don’t even USE id’s at the polls in California, because 50% of our citizenry votes by mail, and they are identified by their signatures on the back of the envelope containing the mail in ballot. The signature is compared with the signature on the voter’s registration form, (and that voter has already been verified as ‘legal’ by the election registration officials) and so that’s all that’s required.

Anyway, double check with your roommate, to verify that he/she actually IS registered. Ask to see their voter registration card. I’d be willing to bet that they are NOT really registered to vote, and that his/her name will NOT appear on the rosters on Nov 4th, at the designated precinct.

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By the-real-truth, October 19, 2008 at 7:24 pm Link to this comment

KDelphi, it was just a friendly Hi. All I said.

I hope your right about the voter fraud. Hearing much about the invalid registrations.

But what I dont get. I have a roommate that is here on a student visa that registered to vote. Has a valid drivers id and address.

I thought you had to be a full citezen to vote? Does this mean that anyone from a foriegn country can vote here???

If not, how do they protect the voters in areas with a high concentration of foriegn (non-U.S.) residents?

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By Paracelsus, October 19, 2008 at 6:42 pm Link to this comment

Bird Cage Liner

I know that ACORN does a lot of excellent work, and there is no denying that they bring a measure of social justice to American cities. I am not surprised that the Republicans are trying to suppress the vote by impugning ACORN. With that said I would like to point out that ACORN has been something of a shakedown operation. I have seen unethical conduct in people and causes that I am sympathetic to, but the highest virtue is not loyalty, but justice. Please look at the following video.

Much of what is admitted to is by the people who put the looser standards in place. From the mouths of Cuomo and Obama come the admittances that banks were forced to accept lower quality loan applicants.

On a separate issue, free speech, Andrew Cuomo has been busy restricting internet speech. He has threatened legal action against network providers, who provide usenet services to their customers. Apparently, there is a small number of newsgroups that offer child porn. There are about 88 child porn newsgroups. There are about 100,000 newsgroups. If Cuomo gets further emboldened, he may threaten the newsgroup providers themselves.

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By nobozos, October 19, 2008 at 6:05 pm Link to this comment

“ACORN “is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.” Sounds scary, but is it true?”

It doesn’t even sound scary to someone up on the issues.

If McCain thinks this tempest in a teapot has the power to “destroy the fabric of democracy”, he’s a moron.

Here are FIVE things which really are hurting democracy….FIVE things McCain hasn’t mentioned.

1- government sanctioned torture

2- suspension of habeas corpus

3- politicization of our trusted Justice Department

4- widespread government eavesdropping on citizens

5- premptive war with no legal justification

If the above don’t concern John McCain more than the name ‘Mickey Mouse’ on a voter registration card that will be tossed on review, then John McCain should not be president in charge of the Constitution.

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By KDelphi, October 19, 2008 at 2:04 pm Link to this comment

The voter fraud in 2004 was alot more than a “potential”—it happened. I was there.

The voter caging and challenging that went on were just plain fascist. This wil not happen here again, (hopefully) as Bruner and Strickland have seen to it that these out of state “challengers” (from Texas) are unallowed to interfere in our Ohio elections.

Plus, the hated J. Kenneth Blackwell is gone—the head of the “Re-elect the Pres. campaign” in 2004 RAN the Ohio elections. We’ll see what happens when someone else runs them.

It appears that there are some fake registrants. They have not voted yet and wil not be allowed to.(Unless they can get a license as Mickey Mouse)I dont have permission to post the link, (am asking), but it appears that what ACORN needs is a new “head of mgnt.”

Minorities were dis-enfranchised in 2000 in FL, and again in OH in 2004.This shoudl be the primary concern of the Elections. We cant afford to get rid of the voting machines that were made and programmed by a man who said that he woudl"do anything to get Bush re-elected”—they were bought under Taft.(The gov who stole $3 million from our Workers Comp fund, with Bob Noe putting it in “rare coins”—he apologized and got a $3000 fine)But, now, they have a paper “trail”, there are more worker and machines (few) and we shall see..

the-real-truth—I am not ignoring your email labeled “hi”. I cannot seem to open it.

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By SteveL, October 19, 2008 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment

John (I make great decisions) McCain enabled felon Charles Keating to rip off old people for their life savings.  How stinking decent….........

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By mackTN, October 19, 2008 at 12:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

many people here weren,t around in the 60’s & donlt remember the upheaval in civil rights, antiwar protest, choice, struggle against the kind of repression that george bush has reintroduced—spying on citizens, collecting files. torture…the true terrorists of those times were the klan, and also local govts that jailed protesters, beat them and even murdered them.  this country was still jim crow during ayers’ 60s and youth spearheaded movement for change. 

I wonder if obama ever spoke to bobby rush while in the state senate—u know, formerly of the black panther party?  And what about the terrorists who murdered fred hampton & mark clark?  the chgo police and attorney general hanrahan were never indicted for those murders (though it made possible the election of chgo’s first black mayor, harold washington.

there was plenty of terrorism going around, although the lingo then used govt repression and protest movements, which included a radical fringe.

i hate to see that period so grossly mischaracterized when it was the finest era of the 20th century when the people pushed this govt to a higher plane of democracy.

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By Eric L. Prentis, October 19, 2008 at 10:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Republicans are anti-democratic, they cannot win elections on their good ideas on the issues so they slim and use dirty tricks like challenging voters signed up by ACORN or use slanderous robo-calls that attack Sen. Obama, despicable.

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By Jim Yell, October 19, 2008 at 10:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A war started on Republican lies, goal to steal or at lest control oil, deregulation once again by Republican government even thought the corruption had already proven itself in the Savings and Loan Scandal and the public once again left to pick up the bill, Republican liars appointed to bureau’s that they wish to destroy, on and on.

Now more lies and exagerations by the Republican attack machine. Why would anyone with half a brain cell continue to listen to these liars?

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By the-real-truth, October 19, 2008 at 10:46 am Link to this comment

From the article:

In recent years, ACORN employees have been investigated multiple times for voter registration fraud. ACORN workers have been convicted of submitting false voter registration forms in Colorado Springs in 2005, Kansas City, Mo., in 2006 and King County, Wash., in 2007. ACORN’s Las Vegas office was raided by a state criminal investigator on Oct. 7, 2008. ACORN workers are also the subjects of ongoing investigations in Wisconsin, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana. The Indiana investigation started in early October and may involve thousands of fraudulent registration forms.

The potential for voting fraud in this election is very high. Illegal registration is the first step.

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By jackpine savage, October 19, 2008 at 7:43 am Link to this comment

You know what the real scandal is: that people need to be paid to go out and get American citizens to register to vote. Voting is neither a right nor a privilege, it is a responsibility. It is the foundation of our system of government, and recognizing it as such is the philosophical underpinning of universal suffrage.

First, it should be automatic and tied to receiving any variation of government identification. You change your address with your Sec of State or DMV, your registration changes. Government computers know when you turn 18. If you’re a male you get your selective service registration notification. Just include voter registration in the process.

See, that wasn’t so hard, ACORN issue solved. And it’s not as if such a solution would make government any bigger or more intrusive.

Second, quit calling it the “right to vote” and start using the word responsibility. I’d bet dollars to doughnuts that just about every political problem - from the two party strangehold to the ineptness of our elected representatives to actually represent us - would dissolve the moment voter turnout breached the 90% barrier.

It’s that which makes European democracies so much better functioning, not their parliamentary system or their proportional representation (though the latter sure is helpful and i’ll admit that it does promote higher turnout).

There’s no better way to stick it to the man than to vote; moreover, not voting is exactly how the man is able to stick to you. If you enjoy the privilege of freedom then you must exercise the responsibility that goes along with it.

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By Beetlejuice, October 19, 2008 at 6:34 am Link to this comment

Seems the only requirement to be repug is to wallow in hated about a small, insignificant issue like an imaginary, massive voter fraud that can’t be validated by documented facts.

It’s like taking Descartes - I think therefore I am - to an extreme: If can think an action is possible, then it must be true that action is being done.

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By TheRealFish, October 19, 2008 at 6:23 am Link to this comment

I agree with cyrena—great analysis. In fact, while over at factcheck, I looked up their analysis on Ayers and Obama’s ties with him, as well as their assessment of Ayers himself.

Even though it may leave us all feeling a bit unclean after doing so, I have a mild proposition for us all: Why not visit right-wing blogs (e.g., to name only one), sign up, look for all the ACORN and Ayers stories, and leave mild comments like “Exactly. See what they have to say about it here…” and then link them to the articles on these subjects.

If just one of the posts slips through, for even a short time, before being expunged by the site moderators, it might make a few right-wing heads explode.

I mean it’s nice that most of us who are “choir” are getting this “preaching”, but the fact the real info is not getting to the MSM and especially the right-wing nutbags who are ready to start up their 21st century anti-race-riots when/if McCain loses in two weeks is the true problem here.

Maybe it’s time to escalate countering the fascist dirty tricks with our own wave of “clean/cleansing tricks”—to attempt to tamp down this possibly orchestrated “surge” of reactionary ugliness that could make itself felt on November 5th with a slight antidote of truth serum injected into their netroots veins?

I’m just saying… .

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By Shannon, October 19, 2008 at 6:21 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A possible positive outcome might be that the polling locations may have enough ballots to go around after all, which the Republicans are hoping will not happen.  It isn’t as if Mickey Mouse is going to show up to vote.  But the fact that the GO has threatened to provide only enough ballots after purging all registrants who cannot “prove” they are real, even if they weren’t asked, it could jeopardize real vote counts.

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By cyrena, October 18, 2008 at 11:59 pm Link to this comment

Great job with the fact checking on this. I read the entire connected piece, and I’m impressed.

How desperate is McCain, and since we’re into the fact checking, maybe this fact-checking organization could do the goods on McCain and the Keating5, and his long term Arizona mob connections.

They could also do an analysis on the AIP terrorists that Palin and Hubby pal around with.

That shouldn’t take long, since the info is already out there.

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