Saturday, October 18, 2008

ACORN is a Threat to Democracy

A genuine threat
ACORN targets a weakness in democracy

The San Diego Union-Tribune
October 18, 2008

To end the many obstacles Southern states put up before African-American voters as late as the 1960s, Congress worked for decades to make voting much easier. These efforts had a hugely positive effect – until the 1993 “motor voter” law. This measure and some related laws made registration so easy – and so difficult to verify because of a lack of resources and time – that they created nothing less than a structural weakness in American democracy.

This election year, we're seeing a determined, well-funded effort to exploit this weakness, led by ACORN – the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now.

Using corporate, partisan and taxpayer grants, the nonprofit group has spent $35 million this year to register 1.3 million people in 21 states. But it's highly likely that hundreds of thousands of these registrations are bogus. That's because ACORN relies on canvassers who appear to be paid based on how many signatures they get – an invitation to fraud – and because ACORN as an institution appears to collectively think such fraud is tolerable in the name of “social justice.” ...

Unfortunately, many Democrats depict concern over ACORN as Republican hysteria. They are right that voter fraud has been a tiny problem in recent years. But they ignore a key point: the stunning scale of bogus registrations this time around.

Even if a tiny fraction of these fake voters actually fill out a ballot, they have the potential to tip the presidential vote in battleground states – such as Ohio. Or Pennsylvania, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina or Wisconsin – all swing states where ACORN has been active. ...

So, please, spare us the “social justice” rhetoric. What ACORN has done isn't noble. It's reprehensible. We hope that the FBI's investigation into the group is vigorous and thorough.