• on a comment on A Distinction Worth Making over 5 years ago

    Hey,guess what? Rathke was fired for his role in the cover up and the ACORN staff emerging from that is doing a top-to-bottom review of everything, including working conditions.

    We'll see what happens, but that's the old ACORN. Let's wait and see what happens with the new ACORN.

    Also that Truth 2 Power group is nothing but a front for conservatives to bash ACORN. Their front person went on FOX news and totally bashed to group without making any specific allegations. Total hatchet job. No creditibility there at all.

  • on a comment on A Distinction Worth Making over 5 years ago

    Come on, this is exactly what happened in 2006 and led to the firings of the US Attorneys and to Gonzalez's resignation. Who did Iglesias fail to find evidence of fraud about? ACORN.

    Who found all the potentially bad cards under investigation? ACORN.

    Who cooperated fully with investigations? ACORN.

    THis is a right-wing attack job designed to suppress votes and pave the way for disenfranchsing legislation like Voter ID, No Match No Vote, and voter roll purging requirements.

    THere is no there there, only smear jobs. Look at Paul Rosenberg's piece in open Left today.

  • on a comment on A Distinction Worth Making over 5 years ago

    Wow.

    "Hey, thanks for your 1.3 million low-income, minority, and young voters, but don't let the door hit you on the ass on your way out."

    "Hey, thanks for being instrumental in raising the minimum wage in FL in 2004 and in OH, CO, MO, and AZ in 2006 and nationally in 2007, but bus tires, meet ACORN."

    Unbelievable.

  • on a comment on A Distinction Worth Making over 5 years ago

    Not true. Training is extensive. The fact is that ACORN is REQUIRED BY LAW to turn in every card, no matter whether it is good or bad.

    ACORN has extensive quality control procedures that catch these problems and all the questionable cards are turned in to the authorities by ACORN itself and labelled as such.

    The scandal here is that the authorities then use this to accuse ACORN of committing fraud.

    Statement from ACORN on these attacks:
    ACORN has just completed the largest, most successful nonpartisan voter registration drive in US 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 US Attorneys because they refused to prosecute ACORN and other voter assistance groups on trumped up fraud charges.  This was the heart of the US 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 r.  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 US 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 US 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.

  • Not sure if you actually read the story posted above or you are just "concern trolling" to discredit ACORN.

    If you had read the article you would know that these accusations are often not credible and not investigated by the reporters repeating the accusations.

    You will note that there are no follow-up stories to the Philadelphia story. You probably don't know, as well, that the Philly elections bureau is well-known to be uncooperative with 3rd party VR drives and willing to make baseless accusations at the drop of a hat. (Well it seems like that to this biased observer.)

    The WA state stuff is true and was a serious breach of quality-control protocols and one of the reasons that the entire QC system that Carolyn Castore describes in detail in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel article that was linked above was revamped for ACORN's drives across the country.

    Basically you are just playing the VR suppression game right here in the comments and I guess that's to be expected even here in a progress blog like MyDD. But it is ironic, as if you didn't even read the article, which so clearly points out how actions like yours are exactly the kind of voter suppresion we were talking about.

    Also, I totally don't understand the starting point of the comment: ACORN = Obama = ACORN. Are you saying that ACORN and Obama both want low-income people to vote and participate in America's civic life? Why is that a problem?

  • Well, neither of those cases involved any of Project Vote's field partners. Project Vote itself implements the most comprehensive quality control and anti-fraud procedures of any VR group anywhere. Every card is called back to verify data and there are numerous steps that must be followed, each of which creates a trail that can be traced back to a specific VR worker. We also do data matching and voter verification to see if folks are actually getting on the rolls.

    However, any large-scale VR drive will have cards that slip through the cracks. Humans are fallible and the system itself is set-up to narrow the electorate, not expand it. There are numerous stages at which a card can fail, despite one's best efforts. This does not indicate an attempt to rig elections so much as an attempt to get paid for not doing the work.

    One thing to remember is that no case of voter registration fraud has ever been linked with a case of electoral fraud (say an illegally cast ballot, for example). Accusations of voter fraud related to bad cards, though, are often used to drum up support for disenfranchising laws like voter ID, proof of citizenship, and draconian regulations of voter registration drives.

  • comment on a post Whose Movement? NRN To Pittsburgh in `09 over 5 years ago

    ACORN has a feisty office in Allegheny County working on a range of issues, but fighting very hard against the foreclosure crisis, including winning a moratorium on sheriff's sales in the County.

    They also have offices across the Northeast, include big offices in Philly and NYC. I would suggest talking to them.

  • There is no fraud, not of the kind that would be stopped by voter ID. That's the real issue.

    The cost of ID is deceptive since in many cases getting the ID requires getting underlying documents like birth certificates which are hard to obtain, expensive, or, in the case of seniors, often missing or were never recorded.

    But since voter ID only stops voter impersonation, which is basically non-existant in any kind of widespread or organized way, but at the same time can disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of currently legally registered voters state by state the only reason it exists is for partisans to keep people they don't want in the electorate out of the electorate.

    The ultimate goal here is to shape an electorate that is more conservative and more likely to back conservative candidates.

    For more info see these Project Vote diaries:
    http://www.mydd.com/story/2008/5/16/1413 32/219
    http://www.mydd.com/story/2008/5/15/1357 25/173
    http://www.mydd.com/story/2008/5/12/1320 36/989
    http://www.mydd.com/story/2008/5/8/16453 3/1909

  • The person who authored this posting works for Project Vote.

  • I'm not sure you followed any of the links here or paid attention to the stats regarding who does and does not have the ability to prove they are citizens.

    Any law designed to protect the integrity of the ballot needs to prove that it stops more illegitimate voters than it stops legitimate ones.

    This is because the mechanisms to protect this foundational right of voters in this democracy are entirely under state control. Therefore the state must be extremely careful about what barriers it puts up to participation, since partisan politics often dictate what states do and don't.

    Since there has never been a proven case of in-person voter fraud in MO, it seems to us that the country and MO in specific are not at risk of having their elections subverted.

    Since this law could disenfranchise 240,000 Missourians, we think you need to show that at least 240,000 illegal votes are being cast.

    That's just not the case.

    This is a solution in search of a problem and its real function is to stop certain groups of people from fully participating in elections.

  • Exactly. They aren't analagous situations. One is the limiting of the right to vote in elections across the board, the other is a party primary designed to selected delgates to a national convention.

    As a non-partisan organization, Project Vote takes no positions on party rules or their enforcement beyond the most general support for Supreme Court decisions like Alright that banned whites-only primaries...

  • Because none of the examples you mention are constitutionally guaranteed rights. There is no right to fly, no right to a bank account or right to credit.

    There is a right to vote.

    Since it is a right, the burden is on the state to prove that the measures it adopts to implement voting assist more people than they hinder. Voter ID laws are designed to stop voter impersonation, a vanishingly small problem in the US. The Department of Justice spent the entire first 6 years of the Bush Administration seraching for this stuff and could only find 23 cases out of over 200 million votes cast.

    This problem doesn't exist. But Voter ID laws DO stop poor folks, elderly folks, folks of color, and young people from voting. Voter ID laws are really voter suppression laws and they are aimed at core progressive constituencies because conservatives do not want to have to make their case before those voters. Because they are scared they will either lose or have to change their position on issues.

    The passage of these laws was the culmination of the all the stuff behind the US Attorney's scandal. USA's insufficiently militant about pursuing voter fruad charges were dismissed. And peopel like David Iglesias were "insufficiently" militant because organized voter impersonation simply doesn't exist.

    This is a solution in search of a problem whose real raison d'etre is to suppression the votes of underrepresented communities.

  • Over 40 years ago the Supreme Court struck down the poll tax, which was about $1.50 in 1965 and about $9.50 in today's dollars.

    The money required to get the two corroborating docs to get your "free" ID, is substantially more than that. A notorized copy of a birth certificate can run $200 and you have to apply in person.

    Also, the groups affected by this are disproportinoally poor, young, elderly, and of color.

    This is really a voter suppression effort and it is the culmination of the US Attorney's scandal. This is the kind of thing they were setting the stage for: permanent exclusion from the voting pool of voters who don't like them.

    This isn't about "free" ID. It is about state's restricting the right to vote, rather than creating policies that faciliate the exercise of the franchise.

  • Quinton,

    We appreciate the rec. That's great.

    Please bear with us on the formatting. We post to a number of different sites and there is really just one person monitoring all the diaries. She has other work to do as well.

    We're a non-profit with budget limitations so we ask your patience as we troubleshoot technical issues like the one you cite.

    Thanks again for the rec and your patience with the formatting.

  • on a comment on Burning Voters in Mississippi over 6 years ago

    The sponsor's web page is here: http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/members /senate/burton.xml

    His contact info is there.

    The State of Mississippi doesn't believe in making it easy to figure out who your representative is. All I could find is a complete list of all the State Senators, but if they don't know who that is, I can't find a way to figure it out.

    Here's the link: http://billstatus.ls.state.ms.us/members /ss_membs.xml

    If anyone else knows how to find your reps in MS, give a shout out.

    Thanks!

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