And given the ties between Obama and ACORN and the money that his campaign has sent them and the job that he had with them in the past, Obama has a responsibility to rein in ACORN and prove that he's willing to fight voter fraud. We called him on it.
The problem is that Sarah Palin doesn't understand what voter fraud is. Voter fraud occurs when you vote in a way that is fraudulent or illegal, i.e. claiming to be registered, voting in the wrong district, or to be someone you aren't. ACORN has nothing to do with that.
What ACORN does do, and I've noted before that this is a questionable practice, is pay people to register voters. Their voter registration folks target low-income areas, which are areas in which voter participation is traditionally low and they happen to be areas that traditionally vote Democratic. The idea with paying people is that it gives them employment'a0 doing something very American. Sometimes these people do strange things, like register non-existent people or register people more than once. They turn these forms in to ACORN, and ACORN can flag the forms that are fraudulent but they are legally required to turn in the forms and trust the registrar to do his or her job.
Nothing ACORN does is illegal. It's hardly unethical, more just not the "best practice." If some folks on the right wanted to set up a similar organization that, I don't know, registered voters in gated communities, they could do it. And they could get funding from the federal government for their program. And they'd probably have a hard time employing totally ethical, honest people.
We know about ACORN's fraudulent voter registrations because voter registrars reject the registrations OR ACORN itself notifies someone. Even if I was registered by some ACORN guy 76 times, I only have one vote, in one district. Even if I register under a fraudulent name, like "Mickey Mouse," I won't be on the voter rolls because "Mickey Mouse" doesn't have a proper social security number, and "Mickey Mouse" is not the name on my birth certificate or my driver's license. Even if I'm dead and ACORN registers me, the state should be able to check that I am alive and even if they can't and I'm added to the voter rolls, it is extremely difficult to vote after burial or cremation.
ACORN does not promote voter fraud. This post from TPM should help explain how things get stirred up, though:
Remember, most of those now-famous fired US Attorneys from 2007 were Republican appointees who were canned after they got tasked with investigating allegations of widespread vote fraud, did everything they could to find it, but came up with nothing. That was the wrong answer so Karl Rove and his crew at the Justice Department fired them.
Voter suppression, as Josh Marshall points out in that post, is another issue alltogether. That's a tactic more often associated with the Republican party, and it is aimed at reducing turnout at the polls. I could look it up and write about it, and I may in the future, but in many cases it, like ACORN, is a false bogeyman. Tactics include misinformation campaigns (calls that tell voters to go to the wrong polling place), confusing ballots, restricting voter registration efforts (attacking ACORN, for instance, or limiting who is allowed to register), and fear tactics of the sort that go back to the days of Reconstruction.
ACORN is connected to Obama. As a former community organizer, he's generally pro-community organization. But I don't see anything suspicious about registering people to vote.
Anyway, here ends my rant about ACORN. Now on to polls.
Obama maintains his lead in all the major national polls, and now SurveyUSA has Obama up 8 points in... Missouri? (If you like polls, you might like to learn about Gallup's new likely voter calculation systems.) It seems the Republican National Committee has decided to perform "triage," i.e., focus their money on Senate and House races Republicans might win instead of (it seems) the Presidential race, which is looking more dreary every day for John McCain.
Laugh break: A map of a liberal's mind and the Moderate Voice posts "The Debate We'd Like to See":
McCAIN: Now, Bob, no. The people deserve a little straight talk here. And they deserve to know what they'92ll be getting if That One and his Bubble Butt Wife start redecorating the Lincoln Bedroom next January'85
(Entering from off stage we hear the voice of - )
MICHELLE OBAMA: You did NOT just say that, Whitey!
(Michelle Obama grabs a metal folding chair and advances menacingly toward McCain. Two Secret Service agents grab her and attempt to wrestle the chair away.)
In other news, some Republican commentators are turning on McCain/Palin (including the son of William F. Buckley, who submitted his resignation to the magazine his father founded, The National Review).
McCain says he'll probably talk about Ayers at Wednesday's debate, and his campaign says Rev. Wright probably won't come up. Also, McCain lies about the size of a rally (again) and someone again yells "Kill him!" at a Palin rally. And Obama's ads are now in your xBox.
The Anchorage Daily News goes after Palin, calling her an "embarassment."
McCain unveils his new "Pension and Family Security Plan."
Finally, Stephen Rose at the Huffington Post chimes in on 14 changes Obama could make as President.