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the fraudulent "vote fraud" epidemic

In response to conservatives' inevitable election-year accusations of "voter fraud" directed at the voter-registration efforts of ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now), Brad Friedman writes at The Guardian:

The only actual crime here is that Acorn managed to register some 1.3m low-income (read: Democratic-leaning) voters over the past two years. The rest is, pretty much, just made up.

But in the bloody and desperate trenches of the Republican war on democracy, that's more than enough to kick in a last minute surge of lies that may - with the help of a compliant and lazy corporate US media - wreak enough havoc, scare enough voters, confuse enough people and plant enough seeds to call an Obama victory into doubt on November 4.

Cernig amplifies this point at Crooks & Liars:

ACORN provides a convenient excuse for diehard Republicans who cannot understand why the country can't stand them and is moving en masse away from their failed ideology, while at the same time providing an excuse for legal challenges to vote results.

ACORN released a rebuttal and observed that "these charges are outrageous, libelous, and often politically motivated:"

ACORN will not be intimidated, we will not be provoked, and in this important moment in history we will not allow anyone to distract us from these vital efforts to empower our constituencies and our communities to speak for themselves.

Andrew Burmon writes about the Right's voter fraud hysteria, and his interviewee (Barnard poli-sci professor Lorraine Minnite) has some choice words about "[t]he fact is that ACORN has been smeared by the Republican Party:"

I am struck by the ferocity of the attack on ACORN. I am not privy to the campaign strategy of the Republican Party, but I have to assume that it is the result of a coordinated disinformation campaign aimed not only at undermining ACORN's work, but also as a part of a far broader effort to corrode public confidence in the electoral process.

Minnite, also a Senior Fellow at Demos, authored the study "An Analysis of Voter Fraud in the United States" (h/t: Election Protection) and notes that "the disfranchisement of voters through antiquated voting systems, errors, mismanagement of registration bases, and intimidation or harassment is a far bigger problem today than traditional forms of election fraud." Among other cases, Minnite examined the Florida fiasco of 2000 and observed:

No number of allegations of voter fraud in 2000, let alone substantiated cases of such fraud in that election, came close to rivaling the number of eligible voters who wanted to vote but were unable to do so. This fact is due to a combination of deliberate actions on the part of partisan election officials and gross administrative error or incompetence (and that's in just one state).

Voter fraud is largely a figment of the Right's imagination, but for some reason it gets plenty of media attention while the real problem of voter suppression (which benefits the GOP) is largely unreported...it must be the "liberal media" at work again!


links:
ThinkProgress details the Right's "Nutty Attacks on ACORN" and explains "The Truth About Voter Fraud"

MediaMatters dissects the latest WSJ smear job.

The latest issue of The Nation contains a 24-page supplement called "Steal Back Your Vote" about various GOP dirty tricks. Beware!

Washington Monthly's Steve Benen calls the fraud allegations "a fairly transparent con job"

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Comments

Here in Florida (gasp), Crist and a few other GOP's are showing some sense and offer rebut to ACORN claims:

palm beach report

ABC report

Orlando Sentinel

Miami Herald

Thanks for the kind words; I'll be posting a debate commentary sometime tomorrow, when the debate transcript is available to help flesh out my notes.

Just found your blog when searching for "Obama + socialist + not". Read through a bunch of posts, and I really like your style.

Can't wait to read your thoughts on tonight's debate.

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