Wednesday, October 15, 2008

ACORN and Voter Fraud: Good Help is So Hard to Find

I've suggested that the War on Terror could be called the War for Freedom. On a trivial level, America and a coalition of nations is fighting for a man's right to wear trousers, and a woman's right to wear a veil with two eye holes, just a head scarf, or no veil at all.

And, more importantly, the right of people to form a government that they want. I know: Iran has elections. But I seriously doubt that the Ayatollahs would let the electoral process there choose someone who wasn't of the right sort.

Having grown up in America, I think that being able to vote is an important freedom, too.

And, having your vote mean something.

They're Baaack! Voters from Beyond the Grave

ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), is "the nation's largest grassroots community organization of low- and moderate-income people." They seem dedicated to recruiting low-income voters, no matter what it takes.

ACORN says that they're an organization that "has been building community organizations that are committed to social and economic justice, and won victories on thousands of issues of concern to our members, through direct action, negotiation, legislative advocacy and voter participation. ACORN helps those who have historically been locked out become powerful players in our democratic system...." They describe themselves as "... a non-profit, non-partisan social justice organization with national headquarters in New York, New Orleans and Washington, D.C." And, they have endorsed one of the presidential candidates, Barack Obama.

I have no problem with any of that. One of America's strengths is that people here have a habit of dealing with issues by forming ad hoc organizations, instead of waiting for the duke, or whoever, to come and fix things.

ACORN, though, seems to be giving "grassroots community organization" a new meaning. Digging up an old tradition, at least some ACORN units have been registering dead people. And at least one restaurant.

Voting the graveyard is a traditional, if controversial, election-year tactic in America. Although Academic opinion seems to prefer the idea that not all that many dead people have voted, and that it doesn't matter much anyway, there is a widespread belief that people like Mayor Daley stayed in office by letting loyal supporters vote after they died.1

ACORN: 'Fraud, Schmaud, We Try to be Fair'

ACORN's problems may be due in part to high ideals run amok. The Detroit Free Press gave readers an insight into ACORN's operating philosophy: "...David Lagstein, head Michigan organizer for ACORN, the Association for Community Reforms Now, defended the [voter registration] effort. [which included handing in obviously bogus voter registration cards]

"...'It's our policy to hand in every single card,' he said. "Sometimes we do get the occasional application with names like Mickey Mouse or some silly thing like that. However, we don't want to be the arbiter. Our job is to hand in the applications.'..."

I applaud people who stand by their ideals. But in this case, I think that ACORN might have used a little common sense. Make that "these cases." The last time I looked, ACORN registrations have caused complaints in:
  • Colorado
  • Indiana
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Washington state
  • Wisconsin
(Middletown Journal)

In Lake County, Ohio, that "occasional application" was the first 2,100 of about 5,000 applications that ACORN dropped off. What tipped the Elections Board off was the number of dead people who were registering to vote, and that so many applications were done in the same handwriting. That, and the application to vote filed by Jimmy Johns, a fast-food restaurant.

Jimmy Johns is, in fact, a 'resident' of Lake County: but isn't allowed to vote. Interestingly, nobody seems to be calling for an extension of the franchise to fast-food joints. Pity. I'd like to see what the 9th circuit Court of Appeals would do with the case.

Good Help is So Hard to Find

Antonio Johnson filled out fraudulent voter registration forms when he worked for ACORN. The Michigan Attorney General says so, and so does Mr. Johnson.

He's been charged with filling out forms for six Jackson residents, without their knowledge or permission. He was easy to find, once the charges were filed. Mr. Johnson was the guest of the Jackson County Jail, due to a probation violation. I think ACORN might have been well-advised to hire someone who either didn't have a criminal record, or who was smart enough not to get caught.

As an aside: this is why it's so much better to register dead people. They're not as likely to complain about their names being used.

So, What's the Big Deal?

I'll grant that six people getting their voting rights ripped off isn't all that important in a national election. Except to the six people, of course.

However, thousands of dead people voting, some of them more than once, is something to be concerned about. Particularly when they are likely to all vote the same way.

A Columbus, Ohio, think tank is suing ACORN on behalf of two Warren County women. The idea is "...that ACORN's actions deprive them of the right to participate in an honest and effective elections process...."

ACORN of Ohio says, "we think it is a frivolous lawsuit". ACORN said the same thing about a similar lawsuit in 2004, and made it stick.

I wouldn't be surprised if a judge decides that this year's lawsuit is frivolous, too. That doesn't mean that I think a zombie voting block is a frivolous issue.

Attack of the Zombie Voters

National elections can be won or lost by extremely narrow margins. A few thousand zombie voters really could make a difference.

And, despite that B-movie title, it could happen. Since absentee ballots don't require that election officials actually look at the "voter," dead people could vote, if they managed to get registered.

It's not at all hard to imagine that ACORN is determined to avoid, by any means necessary, another situation like the election of 2000, where the 'wrong' candidate won.

And, they may succeed.

Previous posts on this topic: In the news:
1 In fact, it seems that the Chicago political machine stayed in power more by providing services and keeping the books balanced efficiently and effectively. Aside from more official sources, I got a look at the Chicago political machine from my father, who lived near the city at the time. It seems to have been a great place to live: The machine was very responsive to citizen concerns about city services; and quite a few people learned to put up with gambling, prostitution, and other revenue-generating aspects of organized crime.

Finally, what is getting to be a sort of standard disclaimer: This blog isn't political. But
  • America determines who leads using a political process
  • America's leadership over the next several years will make a great difference in how the War on Terror is conducted
  • So, politics is inextricably entangled in the War on Terror


Anonymous said...

جوانان ایران به جهانیان فریاد می زنند که:
اسلام یک دین اهریمنی است.
ما فهمیده ایم که محمد رسول الله یک دین اهریمنی و یک فرهنگ اهریمنی خلق کرده و مادر و دخترانش فاحشه بوده.
اکنون محمد رسول الله در جهنم است.
Iranian young people shout to all world peoples: Islam is a Satanic religion.We understand, "Mohammed messenger of Allah" has created a satanic religion and he has created a savagery culture .his mother was prostitute, and his girl was prostitute. Now "Mohammed messenger of Allah" is in the Hell.
صيحه الشباب الإيراني إلى جميع شعوب العالم : الاسلام هو الدين شيطانيه. ونحن نفهم ، "محمد رسول الله" قد اوجد شيطانيه الدين وقال انه قد أوجد ثقافة وحشية. والدته كانت عاهره ، وكان له فتاة عاهره. الان "محمد رسول الله" هو في الجحيم.
Ирански младежи Да за всички народи светът: Ислямът е религия сатанински. Ние разбираме, "Мохамед месинджър на Аллах" е създала в сатанински религия, а той е създал savagery култура. майка му е била проститутка, а момичето си е проститутка. Сега "Мохамед месинджър на Аллах" е в ада.
Translation: English » Chinese
伊朗的年轻人喊向所有世界人民:伊斯兰是一个撒旦的宗教。 据我们了解, “穆罕默德真主使者”创造了撒旦的宗教和他创造了一个野蛮的文化。 他的母亲是妓女,和他的女童被妓女。 现在“穆罕默德真主使者”是在地狱。
Translation: English » Chinese (Traditional)
伊朗的年輕人喊向所有世界人民:伊斯蘭是一個撒旦的宗教。 據我們了解, “穆罕默德真主使者”創造了撒旦的宗教和他創造了一個野蠻的文化。 他的母親是妓女,和他的女童被妓女。 現在“穆罕默德真主使者”是在地獄。
Translation: English » Croatian
Iranska mladih ljudi vikati na svim narodima svijeta: Islam je religija Satanic. Razumijemo, "Mohammed glasnik Allah" je stvorio satanic religije i on je stvorio savagery kulture. njegova majka bila prostitutka, i njegova djevojka je bila prostitutka. Sada "Mohammed glasnik Allah" je u Hell.

Translation: English » Czech

Íránský mladé lidi křičet, aby všechny národy světa: Islám je Satanské náboženství. Chápeme, "Mohammed posel Allah" vytvořila ďábelský náboženství a on vytvořil divokost kultury. Jeho matka byla prostitutka, a jeho dívka byla prostitutka. Nyní "Mohammed posel Alláh" je v pekle.

Translation: English » Danish

Iranske unge råbe til alle verdens folkeslag: Islam er en Sataniske religion. Vi kan forstå, "Mohammed budbringer af Allah" har lavet en sataniske religion, og han har skabt en grusomhed kultur. hans mor var prostitueret, og hans pige var prostitueret. Now "Mohammed budbringer af Allah" er i Helvede.

Translation: English » Dutch

Iraanse jongeren schreeuwen om alle volkeren ter wereld: de islam is een religie Satanic. We begrijpen, "Mohammed boodschapper van Allah" heeft een satanische religie en hij heeft een barbarij cultuur. zijn moeder was prostituee, en zijn meisje was prostituee. Nu "Mohammed boodschapper van Allah" is in de hel

this is posted from Iran

Brian H. Gill said...

The preceding is one of two identical comments left byگایا - حزب سبز لبه تاریکی ایران today.

My reaction is in "About Somali Monkeys, Mohammed's Mother, and Other Strange Comments" (October 16, 2008).

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.