Friday, October 10, 2008

ACORN Rant - Damned if you Do, Damned if you Don't

ACORN is not my favorite organization. Early in their existence, they were extremely careless and hired morons who made up names to put on voter registration forms, because ACORN stupidly paid those morons by the registration. D'oh! They now pay people by the hour.

The organization has reformed and gotten better at what they do, which is register the poor and otherwise disenfranchised to vote. They only register them: they do NOT, as an organization, force people to vote or vote using the registrations they turn in. THIS IS IMPORTANT. THEY ONLY REGISTER PEOPLE TO VOTE.

Recently, there's been some buzz about ACORN being "dirty" and "cheating the system" because they have turned in false and duplicate registrations. But here's the problem with that charge. THEY HAVE TO TURN IN EVERY REGISTRATION, even if they know it's false.

Most states have laws for organizations that register people to vote that require those organizations to turn in every single registration form. This is to prevent, say, a Democratic organization from pulling out all the forms that the voter has registered as a Republican and dumping those forms while turning in the rest. That event has actually happened... only it was a Republican group that dumped any form that didn't register the voter as Republican.

As an aside: I think it should be illegal to require a party preference to register to vote. I live in Washington, where you don't have to put a party at all, which is the way it should be. If you didn't have to put a party, the registration dumping wouldn't be as serious a problem.

Ok, so, ACORN wants to register people to vote. They know they'll get some fake and duplicates. So when they spot fake and duplicate registrations, they flag them and send them separately to the voter registration office. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? The job of the voter registration office is to check that voters are legal and to finish the registration process, so if ACORN is legally obligated to turn in all registrations, it only makes sense to make the job of sorting them easier for the voter registration office.

HA! Not in Republican-world! In Republican-world, if you attempt to get out the vote by registering people, you apparently must be PERFECT at it. You must be able to magically determine when someone is lying about having already registered (or determine if they just forgot, as well). You must be able to magically determine if a registration is fake BEFORE IT'S WRITTEN. You must ONLY turn in perfectly valid registrations, despite being required by law to turn in EVERY SINGLE REGISTRATION FORM you collect. So, in Republican-world, unless you are a super-magical person, you shouldn't be registering people to vote.

Because ACORN is now being investigated for turning in false and duplicate forms.

Forms that they FLAGGED as being possibly false or duplicate.

Flags that the voter registration office IGNORED because it was too much effort for them to actually do their jobs and check the forms.

But apparently it's ACORN's fault for obeying the law. This is the logic Republicans are using. ACORN is damned if they do: they turned in the registrations as required by law and even flagged the possible fake ones. ACORN is damned if they don't: if they threw away the false registrations they would be breaking the law.

So what's the solution? Republicans would (and do) say that ACORN should just give up the effort. Only people who go to the voter registration office and register themselves should vote. Never mind that ACORN is fighting years of racism and ignorance to get people to understand that, yes, they can vote and they need to be registered if they want to vote. Apparently that effort should be abandoned because it's not perfect.

The whole ACORN story is being misreported and misrepresented by the media. And moronic people are buying into the "ACORN cheats" lie. I'd like to see the same people who are criticizing ACORN take the same amount of money and the same people and do a better job. My bet is that none of them would even do half as well. And most of them wouldn't even be able to do it at all.