As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Fighting Back On Voter Suppression

This is welcome news from Jennifer Brunner, the Ohio Secretary of State.

Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner told the Huffington Post on Thursday that she is ready not only to fight the state's current election law battle in front of the Supreme Court, but is also willing to wage a new fight, if necessary, to make sure hundreds of thousands of new voters are not "forced" onto provisional ballots on election day.

Spurred by revelations that the community organizing group ACORN has submitted many thousands of ineligible voter registration cards in battleground states, Ohio Republicans have been calling for a wholesale comparison of the state's nearly 666,000 new active voters against data collected by the local DMV.

Brunner charged that Republican demands are meant to create confusion at the polls and keep all the ballots from being counted.

Brunner says that, according to the League of Women Voters, there were only four instances of "illegal voting," or the actual casting of an illegitimate ballot, between 2002 and 2006 -- when just under 8 million ballots were cast. As such, she said, ACORN's registration problems are being improperly lumped in with the casting of bad ballots, something she says is not likely to occur no matter how many fraudulent registrations are turned in. "Unfortunately, despite the messaging of certain political parties ... when they bring ACORN into it, they're talking about false voter registration. Seldom does that lead to illegal voting. Mickey Mouse and Jive Turkey don't vote."

ACORN itself has launched a truth-squad site and has released this statement on the news of the ridiculous FBI investigation:

ACORN has not been contacted by any federal law enforcement agencies. Should any investigation be forthcoming, we are confident that we would be exonerated. We have always, and will continue to, work with any inquiry.

It is well established and documented that in 2004 the Bush Administration was involved in a scandal where Bush Administration political appointees, working in concert with the Department of Justice, pressured some U.S. Attorneys, such as David Iglesias, to pursue partisan investigations of ACORN. Given that in the last forty-eight hours we have seen a coordinated attack by the Republican Party, including a conservative think tank in Ohio connected to the well-know voter suppresser and McCain supporter Ken Blackwell, file a frivolous lawsuit that is virtually identical to the lawsuit filed in 2004 that was dismissed for lack of evidence, followed by Senator Voinovich, a supporter of Senator McCain, calling for a Justice Department investigation, followed by Senator McCain's attack in the debate last night, we believe that dirty politics are at work.

ACORN is extremely proud of our work to register 1.3 million new voters this year. Through ACORN's voter registration drive, Americans of all political persuasions and all walks of life are participating in our democracy. Through the course of ACORN'S voter registration drive we hired over 13,000 canvassers most of who worked to the highest standards of accuracy. ACORN has a zero tolerance policy and works closely with local elections officials to get to the bottom of any problems, as we have in this case. But let us be clear - and this is a critical fact: issues related to voter registration are not voter fraud. These are not cases where people are able to vote multiple times. Let us repeat - these are not situations involving actual votes.

John Conyers is on this as well, as is David Iglesias, who you'll recall was fired for refusing to press bullshit investigations like this.

What ACORN needs, and the progressive movement needs, a coordinated media strategy. It's clear that the traditional media has no institutional memory and will continue to unquestioningly pass along these "voter fraud" charges without any meaningful evidence. The goal here is a legitimacy goal, not a law enforcement one. And the media are being willing dupes for this GOP strategy.

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