Saturday, October 11, 2008

Conservatives keep on shrieking 'fraud'

Following the revelations that ACORN registered Tony Romo and a few other Dallas Cowboys to vote in Nevada, the knee-jerk Republick outcry shifted suddenly from "ILL EAGLES" to "FRAUD". Closer to home, the Local Twos found a few dead folks who voted in the Texas primary in March.

That led, predictably, to a little LBJ bashing. (Really though, what do the conservatives have left to complain about? Since John McCain has been forced to talk down the bigots showing up at his rallies, they can no longer claim even with a half-straight face that Barack Hussein Obama is a terrorist. Team Maverick sidekick Sarah Barracuda got gaffed by the Republican investigation in the Alaska legislature that found her guilty of abusing her authority, so her stock is going to keep plummeting. Republicans across the country from the White House to the statehouse to the courthouse are about to be washed out to sea under a blue tsunami, and the panic and desperation is palpable.)

Regarding ACORN:

ACORN registers lots of lower income and/or minority voters. They operate all across the country and do a lot of things beside voter registration. What's key to understand is their method. By and large they do not rely on volunteers to register voters. They hire people -- often people with low incomes or even the unemployed. This has the dual effect of not only registering people but also providing some work and income for people who are out of work. But because a lot of these people are doing it for the money, inevitably, a few of them cut corners or even cheat. So someone will end up filling out cards for nonexistent names and some of those slip through ACORN's own efforts to catch errors. (It's important to note that in many of the recent ACORN cases that have gotten the most attention it's ACORN itself that has turned the people in who did the fake registrations.) These reports start buzzing through the right-wing media every two years and every time the anecdotal reports of 'thousands' of fraudulent registrations turns out, on closer inspection, to be either totally bogus themselves or wildly exaggerated. So thousands of phony registrations ends up being, like, twelve.

And as for anybody voting with a deceased person's registration, they ought to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But the task of updating voter registrations falls to the county tax assessor-collector (Matt), and because Harris County maintains a vital records database that includes death certificates, there's really no excuse beyond bureaucratic incompetence that allows for 4,000 dead people to remain on the voter rolls.

Fortunately we have a great alternative to Paul Bettencourt on the ballot next month, and her name is Dr. Diane Trautman.

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