The majority of the problem applications are coming from the group ACORN, Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, which has a large voter registration program among its many social service programs. ACORN's Michigan branch, based in Detroit, has enrolled 200,000 voters statewide in recent months, mostly with the use of paid, part-time employees.Voter fraud is right up there with media bias and poll bias on my list of hot button political issues. Every eligible voter should get one vote. Stories of counties where the number of registered voters outnumbers the population infuriate me. Two things about this current story are cause for worry. The first is this comment by one of the country clerk's that reported the fraud:
"There appears to be a sizeable number of duplicate and fraudulent applications," said Kelly Chesney, spokeswoman for the Michigan Secretary of State's Office. "And it appears to be widespread."
"What it causes is a slowdown of our operations," said Pontiac City Clerk Yvette Talley. "They're steadily coming in, and we are finding a huge number of duplications."I wish I could be as confident that they 'catch them all'. I would love for more data or some publicly accessible way for this to be verified.
Talley said she could not provide an exact number.
Clerks are required to check their records against a statewide database of all registered voters within their jurisdiction, so it would be unlikely that duplications would allow voters to cast their votes more than once, Talley said.
"We catch them all, but it's taking up a lot of our time," she said.
The other thing I'm suspicious of is ACORN's response:
Lagstein said ACORN's Detroit office has hirLagstein said ACORN's Detroit office has hired dozens of employees for the voter registration program and that any problems likely stem from sloppiness or incompetence -- not an intent to let people vote more than once.This all sounds reassuring until you realize that there is a long history of ACORN facilitating voter fraud. ACORN is not to be trusted and saying they are going to "evaluate what's happening" is not strong enough.
"We're proud of our efforts to increase voter registration, and we have aggressive training for our staff to make sure the cards are filled out appropriately," he said.
ACORN has a method to track the workers who filled out individual registration cards, which will allow investigators to question the workers, Lagstein said.
"We certainly do our best to keep the duplications as low as possible, so we'll have to evaluate what's happening here," he said.
Also disturbing is the fact that Obama's campaign gave $800,000 to ACORN and then forgot to disclose it. A Google search of "obama acorn 800,000" will brings you to some rather biased sites discussing the matter but I'll link to a few of the more tame ones here. That second link has a quote from a more official press release regarding the donation:
U.S. Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign paid more than $800,000 to an offshoot of the liberal Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now for services the Democrat’s campaign says it mistakenly misrepresented in federal reports.Tactics like this upset me and I hope the upset you, regardless of your political leanings. Winning elections by muddling with the actual vote count devalues a democracy. It's the same reason I'm against electronic voting machines and for voter identification laws. There needs to be a record. And fraud should not be tolerated--by either side.
An Obama spokesman said Federal Election Commission reports would be amended to show Citizens Services Inc. — a subsidiary of ACORN — worked in “get-out-the-vote” projects, instead of activities such as polling, advance work and staging major events as stated in FEC finance reports filed during the primary.
FEC spokeswoman Mary Brandenberger said it is not unusual for campaigns to amend reports, even regarding large sums of money.