Friday, October 24, 2008

Voter Fraud Delusion

At the last Presidential Debate, Sen. John McCain claimed that the Association of Community Organizers for Reform Now (ACORN) "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."

But independent Fact Check organizations have come to different conclusions. According to there is "no evidence" of such a conspiracy.

Several ACORN canvassers have been found guilty of faking registration forms and others are being investigated. But the evidence that has surfaced so far shows they faked forms to get paid for work they didn't do, not to stuff ballot boxes.

While the higher-ups at ACORN are certainly guilty of hiring the wrong people to register voters, they simply have not conspired to steal this election.

But conservatives have been relentless in their criticism - many even making racially charged remarks and threatening the organization's employees with violence. Emails to ACORN offices from angry individuals include "you're going to have your life ended", "corrupt ni**er Muslims", and "you blue gums are not going to steal the election. All of you porch monkeys need to go back to Africa."

The voicemail messages to the organization are just as bad. Fortunately, some upset with ACORN have a better sense of humor.

But voter fraud is extremely rare. A nonpartisan report in 2005 found that it is statistically more likely for an individual to be hit by lightning than to commit voter fraud.

One complaint was that registration forms handed in by ACORN included the name "Mickey Mouse" - but is a poll worker honestly going to let someone vote as Mickey Mouse?

In fact, after ineligible names are handed in to election officials by ACORN, the officials will inspect the forms to make sure no fraud takes place.

In the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Wednesday, associate editorial page editor Ernst Ulrich Franzen wrote a terrific summary of the controversy.

We are seeing monsters in this election. And it goes beyond the oft-heard “our opponents are the spawns of Satan” stuff the country has experienced throughout its history. No, this goes to the heart of the process. The left sees a massive voter suppression effort aimed at minorities and the poor. The right sees massive voter fraud. Come Election Day, no matter who wins, I fear there will be loud cries that the election somehow was stolen. And then what happens?

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