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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 4:16 pm 
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Anthy, the fraudulent registrations are illegal and a problem, but here are a few points to consider:

1. Paid collectors of ballot measure signatures and voter registrations do this kind of thing all the time, in many different organizations. It is a pain for the organization and defrauds them of the money they're paying the collectors. ACORN tries to hire people for this work who have had trouble finding jobs, and that does not guarantee a top-tier employee all the time.

2. I don't know of a single case where one of these registrations led to an actual fraudulent vote that was found and prosecuted.

3. In most states, organizations registering voters are legally required to turn in all completed registrations they receive, even if fraud seems obvious. ACORN has claimed that their policy is to flag any obviously fake registrations they got from their paid workers, but that sometimes the flags were ignored or stripped off by the election registrars.

This is a problem, I'm not denying that. But in my opinion, people who claim that ACORN could possibly "steal the election for Obama," even if that were their fixed and sinister intent, don't know much about how elections actually work, haven't considered the relative number of ACORN registrations compared to the total electorate, and haven't been looking at the polls.

Faramond, ineligible people should be prevented from voting. But there's no question that measures to screen out ineligible voters have been applied selectively in the past, in ways that favor one party or the other (both have done this) or that specifically target minorities, the homeless, and the poor.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 4:42 pm 
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I don't get why the ACORN thing is supposed to hang around Obama's neck but not anybody elses'.

Obama even said in an interview I saw last night that he had his own vote registration apparatus and didn't need ACORN, and didn't have anything specifically to do with them this election.

Why not McCain? He's the one where there's footage of him attending an ACORN event and praising them, two years ago.

Would somebody mind explaining to me why this is Obama's albatross? Because I don't get it. :(

I can see where this is great press for McCain supporters because you get to slam Obama with fraud and also there is "community organizing" as part of ACORN and that also tars all community organizers including by extension Obama. But where's the connection? :scratch:


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 4:49 pm 
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Obama has been much, much more involved with ACORN in the past than McCain. I agree with Faramond that the McCain–ACORN "link" is a tenuous one and has no significance.

ACORN does much more than voter drives; here is a link to a page on their Web site that briefly describes their various projects related to a long list of causes such as fair housing, predatory lending, and school improvement. They are a liberal organization, but judging from the list, they do some good work.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 4:51 pm 
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Anthriel wrote:
How can "voter registration problems" not be considered fradulent voting? One man who was interviewed said that he had registered 72 times, all with the help of ACORN volunteers.

Fraudulent registration and fraudulent voting are two different things. Voter fraud is when someone who should not vote, votes. There are few if any documented cases of this happening. Voter registration fraud linked to ACORN is about people who are paid for each name they can get on a voter registration list, and Mickey Mouse shows up on the list. However, no one claiming to be Mickey Mouse shows up and is allowed to cast a vote.

The Republicans have worked for years to legitimize and spread the myth of widespread voter fraud (as opposed to registration fraud), which has rarely if ever been documented. They basically turned the Civil Rights division of the Justice Department into a voter fraud division (you may recall it was the refusal of certain U.S. attorneys to act on these bogus cases that resulted in their firing). So here we have this vast bureaucracy put into motion to deal with a non-existent problem, which is simply a Republican ruse to disenfranchise eligible voters.

I'm just dismayed at the effectiveness of these tactics, which have been pursued so methodically and relentlessly. The illegal political hiring for career government positions, and the filling of the judiciary with conservative idealogues appears to be bearing fruit at just the right moment to turn this election.

There is very bad news today from Ohio. The full state supreme court overturned the earlier decision of the partial court, and has ordered verification of newly registered voters, which the Sec. of State had pleaded would be impossible to do in the short time until the election and wasn't mandated by federal law.

This Ohio decision is confusing, in that the NYT article about voter suppression linked to previously had indicated it was against federal law to use Social Security data as a primary means of voter registration verification (because of the high probability of mismatches due to things like a missing middle initial or a keying error), but this decision seems to mandate that the Ohio Sec. of State use the Social Security data. How desperately we need to nationalize our voting system!

There is the potential here for massive disenfranchisement, not just of newly registered voters, but because of these arbitrary purgings of the voter lists. We're talking millions and millions of voters nationwide. It is a very deliberate and systematic program the Republicans are running. They are bringing lawsuit after lawsuit to challenge voter eligibility based on these minor discrepancies, like a missing middle initial, and if the Ohio decision is any indication, they may succeed in completely disrupting the voting process for this election. They are so good at this!

Here is the link and an excerpt from the Ohio article, followed by some quotes regarding use of Social Security data from that NYT article.

link

Quote:
COLUMBUS, Ohio (Oct. 15) - A federal appeals court ordered Ohio's top elections official to set up a system by Friday to verify the eligibility of newly registered voters and make the information available to the state's 88 county election boards.

The full 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati on Tuesday upheld a lower court ruling that Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner must use other government records to check thousands of new voters for registration fraud.

A three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit had disagreed last week. The full court's ruling, in which nine of 16 judges concurred, overturns that decision.

About 666,000 Ohioans have registered to vote since January, with many doing so before the contested Democratic presidential primary election last March between Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton. The presidential election is Nov. 4.

Since the primary, Ohio Republicans have filed a series of challenges to the registrations and Brunner's administration of election rules. They have helped voters file lawsuits against local boards of election over registration rules, absentee ballot requests and a weeklong period that allowed registration and voting on the same day.

Brunner previously said sufficient systems exist to verify new voter registrations and there was no way to set up the court-ordered system with such speed.




Excerpt from the NYT article:

Quote:
In addition to the six swing states, three more states appear to be violating federal law. Alabama and Georgia seem to be improperly using Social Security information to screen registration applications from new voters. And Louisiana appears to have removed thousands of voters after the federal deadline for taking such action.

Under federal law, election officials are supposed to use the Social Security database to check a registration application only as a last resort, if no record of the applicant is found on state databases, like those for driver’s licenses or identification cards.

The requirement exists because using the federal database is less reliable than the state lists, and is more likely to incorrectly flag applications as invalid. Many state officials seem to be using the Social Security lists first.

In the year ending Sept. 30, election officials in Nevada, for example, used the Social Security database more than 740,000 times to check voter files or registration applications and found more than 715,000 nonmatches, federal records show. Election officials in Georgia ran more than 1.9 million checks on voter files or voter registration applications and found more than 260,000 nonmatches.

Officials of the Social Security Administration, presented with those numbers, said they were far too high to be cases where names were not in state databases. They said the data seem to represent a violation of federal law and the contract the states signed with the agency to use the database.
Last week, after the inquiry by The Times, Michael J. Astrue, the commissioner of the Social Security Administration, alerted the Justice Department to the problem and sent letters to election officials in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio. The letters ask the officials to ensure that they are complying with federal law.

<snip>

Under the Help America Vote Act, all states were required to build statewide electronic voter registration lists to standardize and centralize voter records that had been kept on the local level. To prevent ineligible voters from casting a ballot, states were also required to clear the electronic lists of duplicates, people who had died or moved out of state, or who had become ineligible for other reasons.

Voting rights groups and federal election officials have raised concerns that the methods used to add or remove names vary by state and are conducted with little oversight or transparency. Many states are purging their lists for the first time and appear to be unfamiliar with the 2002 federal law.

“Just as voting machines were the major issue that came out of the 2000 presidential election and provisional ballots were the big issue from 2004, voter registration and these statewide lists will be the top concern this year,” said Daniel P. Tokaji, a law professor at Ohio State University.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 5:04 pm 
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Obama has been much, much more involved with ACORN in the past than McCain.


He has? This is from Obama's Fight the Smears site, which shows that his only real involvement was being an attorney for them, being co-counsel with the Federal Government (i.e., Obama and the U.S. government were on the same side).

Link

edit: Cerin, I just want to say thanks for starting this thread. I used to believe that it was just "tin foil hat" types that believed that there was significant voter fraud but after reading up on it, and watching a special on LINKtv, that there has been a full scale Republican effort to do all they can to keep younger, more transient, and poorer voters from voting under the guise of "preventing election fraud."


Last edited by Ellienor on Wed Oct 15, 2008 5:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 5:04 pm 
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 5:20 pm 
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Ellienor wrote:
Quote:
Obama has been much, much more involved with ACORN in the past than McCain.


He has? This is from Obama's Fight the Smears site, which shows that his only real involvement was being an attorney for them, being co-counsel with the Federal Government (i.e., Obama and the U.S. government were on the same side).

Link



That's still a lot more involvement than McCain had, which I believe was Faramond's point.

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Last edited by Primula Baggins on Wed Oct 15, 2008 5:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 5:25 pm 
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That's true. Still, it shows that McCain was not always opposed to ACORN or considered it a dangerous or harmful organization.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 5:29 pm 
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Prim, that is so peripheral an involvement, it's nuts. Being their litigation attorney working alongside the U.S. government? To enforce a 'motor voter' law?

As a working attorney in a law firm, I know how that goes. Obama was assigned to work on the case by a partner. An attorney in a law firm is a hired gun. I represent many clients myself who I have no personal allegiance to in any way.

I mean, sure, as an attorney, you can turn away work from clients who you disagree with, but that has ethical problems as an attorney. We talked about this in my ethics class. What if you are the only attorney in a small town who is able to represent a heinous child rapist that needs a defense in his trial? Your duty as a court officer is to take on that representation and give that person the best representation you can. does that mean you are in favor of child rape? No.

But I guess in the eyes of Ordinary Joe Six Pack you are as guilty as the child rapist, merely because you believe that one of the precepts of American law is that everyone is entitled to adequate representation and defense. I guess this is one of the reasons that Joe S. Pack hates lawyers. :(


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 6:35 pm 
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There are three purposes at work here:

1) to discourage turnout of certain demographic voter groups on Election Day to keep the Democratic vote down,
2) to tar Obama with the smear that somehow someway his campaign and he as a person has some responsibility for ACORN and the illigetimate voter registrations to gain political advantage,
3) to be able to engage in a smear campaign against Senator Obama should he win in three weeks to say that 'the Dems stole the election through fraud'.

Make no mistake about this - what we are seeing is a very intentional, purposeful and deliberate effort to subvert democracy in several ways.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 6:40 pm 
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It was my understanding that the tie in with Obama had more to do with who they were registering to vote than anything else. Meaning the people they were targeting were people to likely to vote for Obama.

Now obviously both McCain and Obama are miles away from the people who are actually registering voters, but that isn't to say someone in either campaign wasn't trying to tip the scales in their favor. Though how registering the Dallas Cowboys helps anyone is beyond me.

This whole thing sounds like it was a bunch of people who got paid by the number of registrations and did what they could to get paid. Honestly I can't see how having fraudulent voters registered helps anyone unless they plan on actually voting under assumed names.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 6:41 pm 
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The ACORN garbage is, as Rachel Maddow pointed out last night on her show of the same name, another example of McCain pointing the finger when he too shares in the scorn. ACORN itself alerted the Elections Board about the possibly fraudulent registrations. If that isn't an organization trying not to steal an election for someone, then I don't know what is.

I also fail to see how Obama's representation of ACORN 13 years ago illustrates more involvement with the group than McCain's keynote address at a rally of theirs 2 years ago. A keynote speaker can turn away work without running into any ethical problems unlike a lawyer (as Ellienor pointed out above). I'm not saying that McCain's involvement is more damning, but that his finger pointing is willfully hypocritical.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 6:46 pm 
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Most of ACORN's registrations have checked out and gone through without trouble. They say on their site that they've registered about 1.3 million people nationwide.
    • What percentage of those can reasonably be expected to still be fraudulent after being checked by the local elections people?

    • What percentage of that smaller number represent actual people who will fraudulently try to vote, rather than just an ACORN worker padding his hours?

    • What percentage of that still smaller number of would-be fraudulent voters will get past the voter ID laws and successfully vote?


Even if you say 20% at each step, which I think is much too high, at the end you've got about 10,000 votes scattered over the whole country. This is going to tip the election?

Edit: The Obama campaign was not working with ACORN. They have their own, much more effective, voter registration network staffed by Obama volunteers.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 6:53 pm 
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The subversion of democracy should turn people away from McCain, but I'm sure it won't. Do you really want a president who refuses to honestly partake in the process win by the process?


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 7:24 am 
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Faramond, I agree that the ACORN issue should be discussed in this thread. While it is true that voter registration fraud is not the same as voting fraud, the possibility of it leading to voting fraud is very real. The fact of the matter is, if people are registered under different names, they can vote under different names. As others have pointed out, this situation doesn't (or at least shouldn't) reflect on either presidential candidate, but it certainly should be a concern to anyone to whom fairness in democracy is paramount.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 1:44 pm 
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ACORN is being used for:
#1 A useful cover to disenfranchise vast numbers of eligible voters.
#2 The post election narrative.

It is imperative that an incoming administration and Congress addresses electoral reform that indeed stops false registrations but equally stops organised disenfranchisement. That should be a serious Federal crime.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 2:27 pm 
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The Ohio Sec. of State has filed an appeal with the U.S Supreme Court regarding that issue of voter verification.

I find so disturbing, the notion that we as a nation have been voting all this time without a standardized computer record of registered voters, but this year the fact of minor variations like spelling errors and middle initial discrepancies may keep millions of Americans from casting their votes.

It seems quite clear that the 'Help America Vote' act of 2002 is in effect going to be a 'Keep America from Voting' act.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 2:51 pm 
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The worst part is that some greedy people are going to keep this election from ending after Nov. 4th. McCain has the fodder he needs, and if he loses by a small margin, I do not doubt that he will cry "stolen" and we'll have a repeat of 2000 (with lawsuits and such).

The likelihood that the voter registration fraud will turn into voter fraud is improbable (at least in my estimation from what I've been hearing and reading). If fake people are being signed up, then come election day they will need to produce the fake identification to vote as these fake people. Unless there are reports of fake Ohio driver's licenses being made, I have faith that this is a tempest in a teapot.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 7:21 pm 
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So, there are apparently 200,000 of the new Ohio registrations with discrepancies between the registration and Social Security information of the registrant, which could be the result of clerical error or simply not signing the registration sheet with a middle initial.

Does anyone here believe that those 200,000 eligible voters should be prevented from voting because two lists don't match exactly?

If the Supreme Court refuses the case or upholds the Ohio court's ruling, this could result in unprecedented disenfranchisement. The GOP will have grounds to challenge millions of eligible voters, who will then have to vote with a provisional ballot, most of which are never counted.

I don't think most people realize what is being attempted here. And the diabolical thing is that while they are organizing this massive voter suppression campaign, the GOP is simultaneously pushing the idea that (to quote McCain from last night) ACORN is about to destroy the fabric of our Democracy and steal the election for Obama.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 16, 2008 7:23 pm 
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Cerin - I do think lots of folks realize exactly what is being attempted here. The real question is can anything be done about it?

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