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Breaking News: Ohio Vote Fraud Alert

I saw a report on Greta Van Susteren's show tonight with Bill Sammon on the court ruling regarding the actions of the Ohio Secretary of State. Sammon described a nightmare scenario where all the problems caused by Secretary of State Brunner's refusal to follow the law could result in an inability to correctly identify valid voter in time for the election. Michelle Malkin has posted the specifics of the ruling and reaction.

Remember what I wrote last month?

"Watch Ohio."

Well, there's news breaking tonight -- and it's good news for election integrity. A federal district court judge has found Democrat Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner guilty of violating federal election laws. The ruling goes to the heart of the ACORN-centered voter fraud epidemic spreading across the country. This is the second judgment against Brunner.

Here is an excerpt from the Ohio GOP press release:
(Columbus) - A federal court ruled tonight that Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner violated federal election laws by not taking adequate steps to validate the identity of newly registered voters.

The ruling from U.S. District Court Judge George C. Smith called the identification breakdown "a serious problem" and ordered Brunner to immediately comply with federal requirements to match voter registration data with the information in the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles and Social Security Administration databases. The court accused Brunner of failing to provide county election administrators with "an effective way to access and review mismatches." She immediately appealed the ruling.

"For some reason, Jennifer Brunner does not want these new registrations checked," said Ohio Republican Party Deputy Chairman Kevin DeWine. "Her refusal to comply with federal law raises serious concerns about her ability to objectively oversee this election. It's especially troubling in light of her connection to ACORN and that group's stunning confession this week of fraudulent registration activity happening right here in Ohio."

Brunner's effort to fight the court order comes just two days after the Democrat activist group ACORN admitted to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections that the group engages in fraudulent voter registration activity.

Ohio ACORN officials "blamed the elections board for not scrutinizing ACORN's suspicious cards," claiming the group "can't be expected to catch everything."

ACORN is facing similar inquires in other Ohio counties as well as 10 other states. Members of the group's "voter-mobilization arm," Project Vote, regularly advise Brunner on election strategy, even recently issuing a news release that claims credit for Brunner's directive restricting challenges to suspected fraudulent voter registrations. Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama also has strong ties to ACORN, working previously as an attorney and "leadership trainer" for the group.

They are pulling out all the stops. John McCain has the deck stacked against him big time. The media. Election officials. Fraudulent community workers. They are taking no chances on this one. The Obama campaign will make sure he has all the votes he needs no matter what it takes to get them.

This Ohio situation is just one of many. There are big problems in Missouri with multiple and false registration forms submitted by ACORN pouring into the election board. There are big problems in Nevada and other states as well. The Dallas Cowboys starting lineup is registered fraudulently in Nevada. Indianapolis has 105 percent of its eligible voters registered to vote.

Why is this not the biggest story on all the network news programs and cable news channels? The MSM would have connected the dots by now if they were doing their jobs. This garbage has been going on for years, all over the country. It is not isolated. ACORN is not some victim of rogue workers. This is chronic and systemic at ACORN and Obama has serious ACORN ties. About 800,000 of them, in fact. Democrat Secretary of State Brunner in Ohio is blatantly thwarting efforts to verify eligible voters. There comes a point when even those of us used to media bias and lack of curiosity when it comes to anything negative about a Democrat, just have to shake our heads and say "WTF." Stay tuned. This is not the last of this story.

Update: Burt Prelutsky points out the glaring hypocrisy of those on the left and in the media who have complained about stolen elections for the past 8 years.

Update II: Wow, one guy registered 72 times through ACORN.


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Comments (32)

Ironically, the first of fo... (Below threshold)

Ironically, the first of four goals for the Agency of Ohio's Secretary of State is to "restore trust to Ohio elections". She goes on to say that she wants "citizens to have faith that Ohio elections are free, fair, open and honest to encourage the highest level of participation in our democracy."

So, what is the answer when the elected officials refuse to uphold the law? We are living in interesting times.

Why is this not the bigg... (Below threshold)

Why is this not the biggest story on all the network news programs and cable news channels?

sadly, most people don't really care - oh, if it were a conservative group doing it, they'd care, the press would make them care. But the press won't do that here. McCain, following his congenial Senate campaign style a la Bob Dole, will do nothing to make an issue of this outside of a few press releases that no one outside of a few blogs will read or care about. Where's the outrage? nowhere, because no one really knows about it and the ones that hear something about it think, as they are told by the press, that these are small, isolated incidents that surely can't hurt the whole electoral process and, after all, "it's being taken care of, go back to sleep, have you checked your 401K lately? Isn't that more important than if your president hangs around with racists and terrorists? you don't want an old president that's going to die soon, do you and leave some moron creationist iN charge during this GREAT DEPRESSION!!!" is all they hear from the press. There is only person that can break the stranglehold of the media and that's john mccain because they have to report what he says if he says it long and loud enough. and he is refusing to do so. Republicans - you wanted john mccain? You got him.

I suppose I should ask the ... (Below threshold)

I suppose I should ask the obvious question -- If Obama has this election completely sewn up and will win it in a landslide, then why are Democrats working so hard to steal it?

It isn't the biggest story ... (Below threshold)
just me:

It isn't the biggest story on the various print news and TV news shows because this involves the democrats, liberals, and a group that has a lot of ties to the African American community-to cover the story would hurt Obama, and it also would require they court cries of racism from the ACORN crowd and its supporters. If ACORN was acting as a taxpayer funded arm of the GOP, this story would be all over the news cycle.

I do think it is time for the Federal government to remove ACORN from the taxpayer teat. If they want to be an arm of the democratic party, they they can seek support from liberal democrats, but I don't see any reason for this group to get another dime of my taxes-both for their electioneering and their role in the whole sub prime mess.

<a href="http://re... (Below threshold)
Neo Author Profile Page:
Washington, Oct 9 - House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement following mounting allegations of voter registration fraud perpetrated by the left-wing group ACORN:

"The latest allegations of voter registration fraud by ACORN are further evidence that this group cannot be trusted with another dollar of the taxpayers' money.

"Election cycle after election cycle, this organization has been at the forefront of breaking the law in order to promote their left-wing agenda. All the while, they have been the recipients of millions of dollars of federal funding through various federal programs and third-party groups. House Republicans took at stand recently to cut off funding to an ACORN slush fund created by their allies in the House Majority, but now more must be done.

"All federal funding to ACORN must be stopped. The ACORN slush fund must be disbanded. Sources of federal funding through the Department of Housing and Urban Development or any other agency must be stopped. Contracting for services between candidates for federal office and ACORN, as Senator Obama has done, must end. Now that the taxpayers own Fannie Mae, any funding from Fannie Mae's nonprofit foundation to ACORN must stop.

"ACORN spent decades promoting the housing policies that brought America's economy to the brink, and similarly over the years has committed fraud on our system of elections, making American voters question the fairness and accuracy of the exercise of their most fundamental right under the Constitution. Now it is time to cut off ACORN before it grows even more destructive."

Since the federal takeover of Fannie Mae, isn't the funding of ACORN, from the affordable housing trust fund while being contracted for work by the Obama campaign, a violation of the "Hatch Act" ?
Neo:According to thi... (Below threshold)

According to this, ACORN is not on the
government teat, which is puzzling.


And then there is the rebuttal by ACORN

Since the fraud is so rampa... (Below threshold)

Since the fraud is so rampant, I think anyone who has been signed up through ACORN should automatically be disqualified from voting.

One thing that never gets r... (Below threshold)
The Other Ed:

One thing that never gets reported in the anti-ACORN frenzy is that ACORN, like all people registering voters, must by law turn in all forms that they collect. Otherwise, Democrats/Republicans would throw out forms from voters they don't want in order to disqualify them. They are absolutely not allowed to take out the duplicates or Donald Duck/Hans Solo forms that are put in by either hourly contractors padding their numbers or by wisea## people saying, "Sure, I'll sign your form" and then putting a phony name down.

From what I understand, ACORN attempts to flag suspicious forms so Election Boards can review them but they would be liable if they remove them from their submissions.

If someone attempts to vote under a false name, then you have election fraud but this "bad forms" thing is a phony scandal.

TOE,That is assuming... (Below threshold)

That is assuming that ACORN is acting in good faith and follow the rules. Their track record doesn't track along the same vector, however.

What amazes me is despite t... (Below threshold)

What amazes me is despite the fact that a federal judge ruled that Brunner broke federal election law, the Columbus Dispatch is very ho-hum about it.

I usually receive breaking news emails on big stories. Not this time.

The Dispatch's political news headline is, "Obama zeros in on Ohio". Ironically, we know why and how, but the Dispatch is just not making a big deal over it. I wonder why?

"From what I understand, AC... (Below threshold)
Lorie Byrd:

"From what I understand, ACORN attempts to flag suspicious forms so Election Boards can review them but they would be liable if they remove them from their submissions."

You have got to be kidding me, or you just don't understand what has been going on. Phony scandal? I have been reading about ACORN fraud for years. People like Michelle Malkin and Jim Hoft have compiled stories that were reported all over the country in local media, including indictments for some of the behavior. National media is just now connecting the dots.

Read what ACORN is doing and then come back and tell me they have no fault in the matter. I think RICO should apply. This is systemic and chronic. IF ACORN is flagging suspicious forms then they would know immediately that the people working on their behalf are scamming the board of the elections. How can you look at some of the forms they got in Missouri and not know? On television they showed about a dozen registration forms filled out with one name, but different addresses, and the signatures were obviously done by the same person. That was just ONE example they showed out of many they received. If ACORN were truly monitoring they should have picked up stuff like that immediately. If their controls are that lax then they don't need to be in the business of registering voters. Some of those forms had crazy names, names of famous people (like the Cowboys), etc. It was blatant stuff.

What is more disturbing though is the pattern of the fraud. Phony scandal? There are people in at least ten different states operating the same scam through ACORN registration. Did they all just telepathically decide to do the same thing? I think it must have something to do with the way they are being trained and if it is not ACORN approved instruction then they don't have a clue what people they are paying are doing in their name. Either way they have NO BUSINESS registering voters with a track record like that. For goodness sakes in Indianapolis 105 percent of the voters were registered! Phony scandal my ass. If Democrats had any real concern for a fair election, like they have been claiming for the past 8 years, they would want to clean this up and would not want it associated with them. This is a big deal, and it is unforgivable that it has gone on for years without being addressed in a widespread way.

And the Obama campaign has ... (Below threshold)

And the Obama campaign has a $800,000 contract with Acorn.


Lorie I think you are right... (Below threshold)
just me:

Lorie I think you are right-the real problem is that this is systemic throughout the whole organization on a large scale.

This isn't just a few rogue employees in a single jurisdiction-this appears to be a problem in every jurisdiction they operate in.

I have also seen a couple of interviews with people who registered multiple times because ACORN representatives were hounding them, there is something screwed up when "I am already registered" isn't given a "good job, vote on election day" but instead "here's another form, fill out another."

I do wonder if part of the problem though isn't that ACORN pays those who are doing the registrations. Maybe if it was all volunteer, it might not be so bad, because I am pretty sure the majority of the fraudulent registrations were to meet quotas for a paycheck as much as create a false ID for somebody to vote under. It is still wrong.

When the price of violating... (Below threshold)

When the price of violating the law is so low, the violations will continue.

When secstates and "community organizers" start going to jail this crap will stop.

This story is still getting... (Below threshold)

This story is still getting very little coverage in Ohio. The Dispatch is ho-hum about it, and I've had 610 WTVN on most of the day and haven't heard a peep over it.

The fix is in, folks.

Let me be more specific, <i... (Below threshold)

Let me be more specific, Columbus, Ohio.

The lone article title in t... (Below threshold)

The lone article title in the Dispatch is, "Brunner loses lawsuit to GOP", instead of something like say...oh, I don't know..."Judge rules Brunner is breaking Federal law."

The 3:00pm report on 610 WT... (Below threshold)

The 3:00pm report on 610 WTVN talked about the Obama campaign being in Columbus, Palin visiting a couple cities in Ohio, Wall Street numbers, and a convicted killer who won't be given a stay of execution in Ohio.

No mention of the 800 pound gorilla. Again.

This is why I no longer sub... (Below threshold)

This is why I no longer subscribe to the Columbus Dispatch.
All those votes should be rejected!!!!

This is far worse than we a... (Below threshold)

This is far worse than we all seem to realize. Our democracy is at stake here. What is next? Plane loads of people from Europe coming over to vote to make sure that the candidate they want to win gets in the White House? This is the makings of a Civil War. Questionable foreign contributions and fake voter registration is going to undermine the integrity of this election and it will taint the results. Don't believe it? Say McCain wins after being behind in the polls because some of these polls are based on these fraudulent registration numbers from the likes of ACORN. Or say Obama wins, and every conservative, patriot, and Republican is outraged at the lack of confidence in the vote count. We are in a real mess people, and Ohio is right in the middle of it. I don't envy you, I live in the Peoples Republic of Oregon, and we vote by mail, so we are lost already as to the integrity of our vote. Ah, Feel that Freedom and Sovereignty just slipping away my fellow Ameicans.

Oh goodie. <a href="http:/... (Below threshold)

Oh goodie. The appeals court ruled in favor of Brunner last night. Sooooo....

Now both sides can equally and legally game the election system in the state of Ohio. Come to Ohio! We're an equal opportunity election fraud state!

I'm soooo proud to be an Ohioan.

Now, interestingly enough, take a careful look at the title of the link I included in this comment when you hover your mouse over it, or when you click on the link, take a look at the URL name. Apparently, the Dispatch believes it's ACORN voter fraud, too!

*Shaking head in amazement.*

"Apparently, the Dispatc... (Below threshold)

"Apparently, the Dispatch believes it's ACORN voter fraud, too!"

Now, I just want to make it clear that this was tongue-in-cheek, and that the most likely scenario is that someone is most likely exercising some very bad judgment.

Either way, not a very good name for the file.

Voter fraud is one of the b... (Below threshold)

Voter fraud is one of the biggest threats to our democracy. For Jennifer Brunner, a Secretary of State, a former judge, an attorney, and an officer of the court, to subvert our elections for her personal partisan politics is disgusting. How could a person like this be permitted to hold a position of public trust?
With Brunner's obvious bias, one can only wonder how many innocent people got a fair trial, when Brunner was sitting on the bench.

I love it. Neither Maulkin... (Below threshold)

I love it. Neither Maulkin, Bill Sammon, the Ohio GOP, nor any of their allies on this post appear to have any grasp on reality nor know what they are talking about. But hey, why would you need a grasp on reality when you can just create your own reality. Here it comes...after years of manipulating the American election process through voter caging, intimidation, and numerous other tactics, Republicans are now on the offense (and all over the net) to make myth of "voter fraud" into reality. But why let actual facts get in the way of a good right-wing story? A simple investigation of the facts makes clear that ACORN actually identified most, if not all, of the duplicate and false voter registration cards submitted to them by their employees - who DECEIVED and DEFRAUDED ACORN in order to get paid! But again, those pesky facts don't work into the larger Republican narrative. Please, someone show me some actual evidence that ACORN trained or instructed any of their employees to complete and submit fraudulent registration cards or that any court in Ohio, Nevada or anywhere else has FOUND that ACORN, the organization or its leadership, committed voter registration fraud. News flash: there is no such evidence or court finding. Just more of the same from Republican myth makers -- baseless innuendo and conjecture.

At worst ACORN is encouragi... (Below threshold)
Lorie Byrd:

At worst ACORN is encouraging or allowing fraudulent activity. At the VERY least, they are negligent in stopping it. If this were the first time ACORN had the problems brought to their attention that would be one thing. If it were the fifth or sixth or seventh or eighth, maybe, but these problems were identified in multiple states years ago and have continued to this day. Instead of ACORN learning from their mistakes and taking measures to prevent future activity, the activity seems to have gotten worse and worse. When one state starts reviewing 5,000 ACORN forms and the first 2100 are found to be fraudulent, you have a big problem. When you hire people who have been convicted of identity theft to work collecting data from individuals, you are not working in the best interest of the public. If ACORN is truly an innocent party, then they are incompetent for allowing themselves to be taken advantage of time after time after time and year after year after year in state after state after state. You would think they would have figured out some effective procedures to put in place to prevent this stuff from happening, but they haven't. That is not a myth. There have been indictments and convictions in several states in past elections. No myth there.

Once again, you cannot supp... (Below threshold)

Once again, you cannot support your bald assertions with anything more than more bald assertions. You have claimed that

"There have been indictments and convictions in several states in past elections. No myth there."

But, as usual, you don't include any specifics, because that would undermine your point. Indeed, you cannot point to indictments and convictions of ACORN in several states in past elections, because such examples DON'T EXIST - FACT. You can, however, point to indictments and convictions of several former ACORN employees who submitted fraudulent registration forms (and thus defrauded ACORN) - a fact that has been acknowledged by both ACORN and me above. Thus, that assertion has zero value. In addition, your example of the first 2100 of 5000 registration card example above is highly dubious. What is your source? And, whatever the source of that information (if true at all), was it the case that those particular registration cards (either 2100 or all 5000) were submitted to election officials by ACORN with ACORN's request that the cards be reviewed because ACORN suspected they were duplicates or incorrect? The fact that a voter registration group of any stripe has part-time employees that do bad things and submit fraudulent registrations to get paid in cycle after cycle should not be a surprise, nor does it make the voter registration group a criminal enterprise or even a negligent enterprise. Stop ignoring reality and start providing facts.

I guess I should have been ... (Below threshold)
Lorie Byrd:

I guess I should have been more specific and said ACORN employees have been indicted and convicted. I guess ACORN is a special case and is not to be held accountable for the actions of their employees. The people committed the crimes when they were working for ACORN, not when they were former employees. You keep paiting ACORN as unwitting victims. The powers that be at ACORN must be the stupidest people on earth if they are able to be conned by these rogue employees over and over and over and over and over and over and over again in state after state after state after state. Michelle Malkin and Jim Hoft have compiled dozens of examples of problems with ACORN, including indictments. Here is just one of Jim's posts.

You don't believe anything I say, so I don't expect you to believe the story about the over 2000 fraudulent forms, but it was reported by CNN and others.

The problems at ACORN are fact, not myth. I saw a report on television a week or so ago in which dozens of forms had the same name on them, in obviously the same signature, but with different addresses and that was just one example of some of thousands of ACORN submitted forms. Doesn't their gross incompetence embarrass you? The fact that workers at board of elections have to spend so many tax payer funded hours to go through thousands of bogus forms is horrible and ACORN should be ashamed that they have not taken measures to tighten up their operation. At the very least they could stop hiring criminals.

<a href="http://www.cnn.com... (Below threshold)
Lorie Byrd:

Link to CNN story and video:

Quote: "More than 2,000 voter registration forms filed in northern Indiana's Lake County by a liberal activist group this week have turned out to be bogus, election officials said Thursday.

The group -- the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN -- already faces allegations of filing fraudulent voter registrations in Nevada and faces investigations in other states.

And in Lake County, home to the long-depressed steel town of Gary, the bipartisan Elections Board has stopped processing a stack of about 5,000 applications delivered just before the October 6 registration deadline after the first 2,100 turned out to be phony."

Lorie,You writing le... (Below threshold)

You writing leaves me the impression that you are a very smart person. So surely you are aware that in almost all states, state law REQUIRES that all voter registration outfits file ALL of the registration cards their employees or volunteers complete - regardless of whether the organization believes they are incorrect, duplicates or fraudulent. And I am sure you also know that it is ACORN who has asked election officials in various jurisdictions to review certain completed registration cards as "suspect cards." And so, I am sure you also are aware that on many occasions these "suspect cards" are ignorned for weeks or months by election officials and only raised as so-called "examples of fraudulent activity" by ACORN when the RNC needs an issue because the polls look bad.

I am aware that ACORN has t... (Below threshold)
Lorie Byrd:

I am aware that ACORN has to submit the crappy forms once they get them, the point is when you are consistently getting crappy forms over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again in state after state after state, etc., don't you get a clue and figure out that you have a problem in the way you are going about getting those forms?

Are you seriously saying that after overwhelming evidence of problems in many states over a period of many years, ACORN should not have changed the way they do things to prevent the same problems in the future? If you continue to employ criminals and engage procedures that consistently yield the same bad result, and when that result overwhelms government employees taxed with the job of verifying forms, you are behaving in a negligent, at best, manner. That is if they are given the benefit of the doubt and assumed to just be incompetent rather than crooked.

ACORN's problems with voter registrations have gotten worse, if anything.

Think of it this way -- a company hires employees to produce a product, let's say they are making baby formula. Over a period of years, in factories in multiple states, a number of those employees have replaced some of the good formula with bad formula. Maybe they do it because they are lazy, maybe they are just mean, maybe they want to hurt the company. For whatever reason they did it, the bad formula makes some babies sick. Inspectors are able to catch most of the formula before it reaches consumers, but not all. Retailers of the formula have to expend thousands of man hours checking each unit of formula to ensure it is not bad. The company fires the bad employees that it identifies.

A year later the exact same thing happens, but it is even more widespread, the problem occuring in factories in even more states. The company should get a clue and change their employment and/or training procedures, but they don't and it happens again. More babies get sick from bad formula. Some even die. Is that company not responsible because those were bad employees that took advantage of them? That is your argument. The fact the company alerted "inspectors" to some of the bad formula unfortunately did not keep all the formula from reaching the public and a few more babies got sick and died. Don't you think that at the very least, the company should stop poisoning babies and get out of the formula business if after multiple tries they cannot ensure the quality of their product?

I know it is not a perfect analogy because people can trick ACORN workers by claiming to be Mickey Mouse or Queen lsjorie ernloiahtpio;enihfnka or whatever -- ACORN does not have complete control over the "product." But since ACORN workers are actively pursuing people to sign multiple forms in multiple states, ACORN has to be doing something wrong.

As for your comments about election officials holding forms to help the RNC, some of these officials are Democrats so I don't know they would do that and if the reports on CNN and in the newspapers I have read are true, ACORN has dumped thousands of forms on board of election officials at the last minute in many of the cases. Are you saying ACORN held those forms and submitted them all at once to help Republicans because they are down in the polls? That makes no sense. They are in the middle of a huge effort to elect Obama and are registering people up to the last minute. That is why so many forms get dumped at the last minute. Whether or not election officials held forms submitted earlier there would still be a problem with large numbers of forms coming in late.

Gotta go do some real work so I won't be able to comment for a while, but thanks for reading Wizbang and for commenting.

Thanks for your post, and I... (Below threshold)

Thanks for your post, and I am certainly happy to comment on your site. As for your last post, I would just say that I understand the point you are trying to make about the quality of ACORN registration submissions and the apparent increase in "crappy" registrations - I just don't agree with your reasoning. You argue that ACORN must be negligent, at a minimum, or committing fraud, at worst, based upon the fact that ACORN has turned in bad registration cards in the past and that the volume of such bad cards has gone up this cycle. First, as I noted above, a voter registration outfit (any outfit) is ALWAYS going to have the problem that some of its employees/volunteers are going to cut corners, make mistakes and outright cheat (for both idiological and more selfish reasons). It makes absolutely no difference whether a voter registration group is tied to Dems or Repubs. And here I would add that is amazing how much support ACORN saw from Republicans before the recent polling and huge Democratic registration made it appear necessary to unleash an all-out attack to plant the seeds of doubt about Democratic registrations: (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/10/13/acorn-mccain-and-gop-used_n_134284.html).
Second, this year has been a HUGE year for registration drives (ACORN reports a record year of 1,300,000), so it only makes mathematical sense that in an imperfect world, where both mistakes and fraud happen, more overall registrations will also result in more mistaken and fraudulent voter registrations. That is simply common sense.

You make a completely fair point that ACORN (like every organization) should make every effort to improve upon its past performance and fix mistakes and problems wherever possible. That is exactly what they have been doing, and they have said the same in multiple official statements to the media and regulators. You may not believe them or may not believe it is enough. But as I think you conceded in your post above, neither ACORN nor the Bush administration can be responsible for every single act of their respective employees or agents carry. Multiple people in various levels of authority in the Bush administration have been indicted and/or convicted of crimes, but that does not mean that Bush is a criminal nor that his administration is a criminal enterprise. Now, if there were evidence that Bush or other high level members of his administration had ordered or encouraged the criminal acts, then that would be a basis for calling Bush a criminal or his administation a criminal enterprise. Without such evidence, such attacks would be completely inappropriate and wrong.

Lorie,In the afterma... (Below threshold)

In the aftermath of last night's debate and John McCain's comments about ACORN, I found the following commentary by FactCheck.org (here is the link as well: http://www.factcheck.org/elections-2008/factchecking_debate_no_3.html):

FactChecking Debate No. 3
October 16, 2008
Sorting out fact and fiction in the presidential candidates' final debate.
Spin and hype were apparent, once again, at the third and final debate between McCain and Obama:

McCain claimed the liberal group ACORN "is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history ... maybe destroying the fabric of democracy." In fact, a Republican prosecutor said of the first and biggest ACORN fraud case: "[T]his scheme was not intended to permit illegal voting." He said $8-an-hour workers turned in made-up voter registration forms rather than doing what ACORN paid them to do.

More Analysis:

ACORN and Vote Fraud

McCain made some dire claims about a liberal group he said was out to steal the election:

McCain: We need to know the full extent of Sen. Obama's relationship with ACORN, who 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.

It's true that the voter registration wing of the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now has run into trouble in several states. ACORN employees have been investigated and in some cases indicted for voter registration fraud. Most recently, more than 2,000 registrations in Lake County, Ind., have turned out to be falsified.

But does this constitute "destroying the fabric of democracy"? More like destroying the fabric of work ethic. There's been no evidence that the ACORN employees who submitted fraudulent forms have been paving the way for illegal voting. Rather, they're trying to get paid for doing no work.

Dan Satterberg, the Republican prosecuting attorney in King County, Wash., where the first ACORN case was prosecuted, said:

Satterberg: [A] joint federal and state investigation has determined that this
scheme was not intended to permit illegal voting.

Instead, the defendants cheated their employer. ... It was hardly a sophisticated plan: The defendants simply realized that making up names was easier than actually canvassing the streets looking for unregistered voters. ...

[It] appears that the employees of ACORN were not performing the work that they were being paid for, and to some extent, ACORN is a victim of employee theft.

The $8-an-hour employees were charged with providing false information on a voter registration, and in one case with making a false statement to a public official. ACORN was fined for showing insufficient oversight, but it was not charged with masterminding any kind of fraud.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the table, Obama wasn't entirely forthcoming about his relationship with ACORN:

Obama: The only involvement I've had with ACORN is, I represented them alongside the U.S. Justice Department in making Illinois implement a motor voter law that helped people get registered at DMVs.

He did, but that wasn't his only involvement. He also worked closely with ACORN's Chicago office when he ran a Project Vote registration drive after law school, and Obama did some leadership training for Chicago ACORN. The Woods Fund, where Obama served as a board member, gave grants to ACORN's Chicago branch; both organizations are concerned with disadvantaged populations in that city. And during the primaries of this election, Obama's campaign paid upwards of $800,000 to the ACORN-affiliated Campaign Services Inc. for get-out-the-vote efforts (not voter registration). Those services were initially misrepresented on the campaign's Federal Election Commission reports, an error that some find suspicious and others say is par for the course. ACORN's Chicago office and CSI have not been under investigation.

For more on investigations of ACORN and registration fraud, and Obama's involvement with the group, keep an eye on our home page. A longer article on ACORN is in the works.






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