General Question

marinelife's avatar

How serious do you think the Acorn issue for the Obama campaign?

Asked by marinelife (58081 points ) October 15th, 2008

I am really concerned about the irresponsible response of Acorn management to the fraud that has been uncovered.

What if these dopes cause Obama to lose the election?

I am hoping his campaign comes up with a swift, sure, positive response, because I think this issue is one that makes regular people feel concerned—musch more than the Ayres issue.

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24 Answers

augustlan's avatar

Not a real issue! He’s addressed it, they’ve addressed it. That’s not to say that some people won’t be taken in by it, but I hope not enough. Otherwise, I will cry!

dalepetrie's avatar

It’s a non issue first of all. Second of all it’s easily explained away if you want the explanation and I thought the ACORN reps explained it well. Third, no one cares about this kind of crap when the economy is in the tank. I don’t think regular people really think a charitable organization is out there trying to steal the election. After all, the unwashed masses didn’t really care when Bush ACTUALLY stole the election, why should they care about trumped up accusations?

jvgr's avatar

I also don’t think this is a problem. No evidence that Obama or his staff had anything to do with the organization and voter fraud.

I’m more concerned with the talk I’m hearing of 000’s of voters who are getting dropped off the registries for invalid reasons.

augustlan's avatar

Here is a relevant video, it discusses both Ayres and Acorn.

aidje's avatar

I thought Obama gave a pretty good response to this in the debate. I’d bet that people who think this is an issue are already McCain supporters anyway (since people have a natural tendency to look for things that support what we already believe).

EmpressPixie's avatar

I’m not concerned. I wish Obama had given a better answer during the debate. Most importantly, I wish he had said something like, “And oh, by the way, if they don’t turn in all the forms the collect—no matter how fraudish they look—ACORN gets in trouble.”

Because I really think that one fact is being overlooked too much.

robmandu's avatar

Wondering: is it really fraud to register to vote “too many” times?

I mean what if, for example, I move three times between January and September. And I register to vote each time?

In that one year period, it would appear that I’m registered to vote in four different locations. Or, if you’re just tallying numbers, that there are three more registered voters in existence than is really true.

At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that I actually go & vote at the one place that corresponds to where I live. Vote once ==> No fraud.

That said, it could be argued that since I would be in possession of four different voter registration cards that I could feasibly go & vote at each of the different polling locations.

The fraud in that case would be mine and mine alone (not Acorn’s, not Obama’s, not McCain’s) unless someone official knowingly aided me.

Still, would it be a bad idea to require some form of official government id in order to vote? (Although, in Texas, we do get to keep our old driver’s licenses. So this argument could still go on & on.)

dalepetrie's avatar

I agree with EmpressPixie to a degree. While Obama’s response was good, essentially “I am not involved with ACORN”, to a degree it’s also not standing up for a good, valuable charitable organization…kind of like if you see a bully beating up on a smaller kid on the playground and don’t do anything about it because you don’t want to get hurt. But in this case, I understand that a bit more, Obama can’t aford to get hurt at this time either, and it’s not just about him…he may have to look at the greater good here and if he believes (which I’m sure he does…and I agree with him in this case) that it’s very important for the good of our nation that he, and not John McCain, becomes the next President, then he may have to view the beating of the smaller kid as a sacrifice for the greater good.

But ACORN is not exactly incapable of defending itself, so it’s also a little different there. Indeed, take a look at this press release regarding the voter issue. Now if I were Obama, I might have said, “John…you know as well as I do, that ACORN is a good, charitable orgnaization, having yourself once been their keynote speaker back in 2006. ACORN hires people to register voters, they have registered over 1.3 million new voters in this election cycle alone, and when you collect that many voter registration cards, some of them are not going to pass muster. Which is why ACORN spends time and money, time and money they are not required to spend I might add, to go through the process of verifying each registration they collect, and flagging the ones that are either doubtful or clearly bogus. But they are required by law to turn in every voter registration card they receive, and so even though they are actually the victims where they have paid an individual to collect voter registration cards, and some of those individuals don’t do what they’ve been paid by ACORN to do, they must still turn in those cards, but by reviewing them first, they are saving our elections boards a great deal of time and money. But we also must understand, that even if ACORN were to miss something, and the elections board were to miss that same critical piece of information, and somehow, Mickey Mouse were to become registered to vote, Mickey Mouse would actually have to show up, with an ID to cast his vote. And were this even possible, the assumption that Mickey Mouse would automatically vote for me, is baseless as well. So, John, when you say that ACORN may be on the verge of perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, and maybe destroying the fabric of Democracy, I have a hard time believing that you actually believe the words coming out of your own mouth. But even if we were to overlook the obvious reasons why this issue is nothing more than a distraction from your record of supporting George Bush on economic issues 90% of the time, the fact is that ACORN does not represent me and is not acting on behalf of my campaign, never has, never will.”

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

I think its a serious issue. The damn things are all over the place. You can’t take 3 steps without slipping on one, and the park service won’t do anything about them. I guess they expect the squirrels to take care of them all. I hope Obama will do something about the mess when he’s elected.

augustlan's avatar

lurve to you, Rex!

dalepetrie's avatar

Oh, and if as you put it “these dopes cause Obama to lose the election”, make no mistake about it, it won’t be ACORN’s doing. The Republicans have HATED ACORN for years because ACORN advocates for housing and such for people who have no money. To the right wing followers of trickle down economics, this is socialized welfare. The Republicans have a LONG history of accusing ACORN of wrongdoing in court, and LOSING.

What these efforts are all about though are not concerns that the starting lineup of the Dallas Cowboys (or people with fake IDs puporting to be them) are actually going to show up and vote for Obama as part of some concerted left wing conspiracy to tip the election to the Democrat. Indeed, I believe I read somewhere that only 26 people have “EVER” been prosecuted for trying to commit voter fraud! This is about Republicans and their efforts which have spanned DECADES to try to suppress voter turnout by any means possible. Republican activists are the first to admit that the higher the turnout, the less likely they are to win the election.

Indeed, it’s been alleged that some Republican operatives went as far as to take a job with ACORN so that they could turn in 1,000 faulty registration cards, which they KNEW Acorn would have to submit to the state boards anyway, so that they could then bring lawsuits against ACORN to allege voter fraud.

You’ll notice that a DAY after we started hearing about these ACORN issues, Republicans had already gotten a court decision in Ohio (a swing state) to require that voter registrations be checked against official government records. Now they are pushing to have the mismatches publicly displayed, so that they can challenge thousands of registrants and either intimidate them into not voting (or thinking their votes won’t count) by making them cast provisional ballots which are going to mean the government will be poking around in their business to make sure their votes are valid.

Republicans know that 1.3 million voter registration cards gathered by an organization which is committed to social and economic justice is not going to be pretty for their cause, and therefore they are pulling out all the stops to invalidate as many of these votes as they possibly can and to suppress as many of these registrants from voting as possible. That is what the ACORN flack is all about.

And again, I’m sure their 2006 Keynote Speaker John McCain is WELL aware of this. Say what you want about Senator McCain, but he’s clearly not stupid.

EmpressPixie's avatar

Oh, Rex, I hear that if you mill them they make a delicious, nutty tasting flour that make divine pancakes. I haven’t been tempted to try just yet.

marinelife's avatar

@dalepetrie and all who provided information Thank you. I feel much better now. I have to tell you though that I am not sure how much of the information you gave me is out in the mainstream. An undecided black voter in the CNN focus group said he was concerned about Obama’s answer on ACORN after the third debate so I am not the only one.

@ictheosaurusRex Great screen name, btw! My dog eats them.

dalepetrie's avatar

Oh, it will work on a small contingent, but these kinds of things have limited appeal…for the most part the base of the attacking party eats it up and the base of the defending party goes on the defense. It’s the uncommitteds that are still up for grabs, and there really just aren’t that many of them out there any more. But the ones who remain have shown a consistent pattern of being resistant to attacks. For the most part, they want to hear about issues that effect their pocketbooks, and don’t care about any of this other stuff. Some years when people feel more secure, this kind of thing does work, but it’s not working this year. But you’re right, there will be exceptions to prove the rule…there will be those who hear the allegation and worry about it and who may not have enough savvy to figure out where to turn to get the truth, and an even smaller subsection of those people may actually vote against Obama for it. But, you are also going to have those undecideds who ideologically lean to McCain but who are looking for something in HIS character that says he’s someone they can feel OK about voting for, and every time he attacks, it pushes them closer to flipping to Obama. I think the later has been the bigger factor this year, so I think as long as McCain wants to push baseless attacks, they seem to only backfire, because you’re only interested in taking a baseless attack at face value if you already have your mind made up and this fits your preconception. The exceptions to this cancel each other out or even work to Obama’s advantage. So, I don’t think you need to worry.

augustlan's avatar

I just finished a discussion w/ my husband on this very topic. As he listens to right-wing radio pretty much exclusively (haven’t won that battle, yet) he had a lot of misperceptions on ACORN. I gave him the facts, but I wish now that Obama had given a more thorough answer on this subject (during the debate)!

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

I think the fact that VOTING MACHINES CAN BE HACKED is a much bigger deal. Where is the “liberal” press on that issue?

EmpressPixie's avatar

Liberal press was all over that last election. You know when Ohio was totally sketchy? Bringing it up again doesn’t boost ratings well enough to bother.

jvgr's avatar

@robmandu: “Wondering: is it really fraud to register to vote “too many” times?”
No, registering to vote is not part of voter fraud. The fraud would be if you took your different registrations to 3 different polling stations and voted 3 times in the same election.

In a discussion on PBS there have been about 182 cases of voter fraud brought to court in the last 4 years. 80+ of these cases resulted in guilty verdicts, and many of the guilty were judges and election officials.

Irrespective of ACORN’s purported efforts, voter fraud isn’t even a valid claim against them.

@Marinairresponsible “response of Acorn management”.
I too have been disappointed in ACORN’s voice in this issue, on the other hand, if you’ve done no wrong, what else can you say?

A few months ago, I was arguing on a conservative blog and the issue of ACORN was brought up and I was directed to this site: ACORN-Las Vegas

I read the affadavit, the original newspaper report and got some additional information from the reporter. The summary of the presented facts are:

-ACORN, with clear guidelines in place began their registration efforts over one year before the 2008 elections.
-ACORN, in conformance with their guidelines, checked their employees submissions, identified known duplicate and suspect applications and terminated underperforming employees as well as those who submitted non-qualified.
-ACORN began submitting known bogus and suspect applications to Election Officials on 17 Nov 2007
-LV Election Officials chose to do nothing with the submitted applications, and had, apparently done nothing to organize their offices around the 2007 guidelines until July 2008.
-ACORN met with Election Officials mid-July and were asked to provide a 2nd copy of the materials previously submitted (as my profession involves working with various levels of government, the asking for a 2nd copy usually means: we can’t find the original submission; though it can also mean: we don’t have access to a copier)
-By mid-August 2008, the new task force is fully mobilized to enact the now year old revisions to the election guidelines.

Instead of simply contacting ACORN, who has evidently been proactive in this process, they chose to stage a raid on ACORN offices: seizing records, computers, etc…to further their investigation. In the raid they identified an additional 183 suspect applications.

BOTTOM LINE:
-An excellent example of ineffective, inefficient government at work.
-Instead of gearing up for a well-known election, they chose to do nothing and, in fact, seem to have ignored, then misplaced, information supplied by ACORN for the past 10 months.
-To advertise their vigilance one behalf of their taxpayer employers, they staged a high visibility raid.
-That they found an additional 183 suspect files in ACORN’s unoccupied offices suggests that these files were well identified, by ACORN, as suspect files. Given the Election Officials lack of response to and probable loss of previous submissions, it is easy to assume that ACORN was keeping these files separate until such time as the Election Officials seemed ready to actually carry out their duties.

-IF there is any wrong-doing here, the facts only show that the taxpayer paid emloyees in the Elections offices were, at the least, negligent of carrying out their duties in a timely and efficient manner.

I think the hard push against ACORN as an organization is similar to the question:
Can you clarify the stories of your wife beating?

If you aren’t guilty, what can you really say, but the onslaught continues.

marinelife's avatar

@jvgr Until it was said in this thread none of the responses I saw from Acorn inclided anything about their process including checks, their flagging the bogus ones or the fact that they are required to return the bogus ones. Thus my use of that term and my gratitude for the information provided herein.

jvgr's avatar

@Marina: Just on the news, ACORN (the official organization) spokesperson says that they have not been contacted. So that means the smear continues. This really sucks.

dalepetrie's avatar

Marina -

It does say this in ACORN’s official press release, the problem is it’s never reported. There was an article on Huffington Post yesterday that said that 52 out of 54 stories on CNN mentioned the allegations but not the main facts about their checking and flagging the faulty forms, or the fact that ACORN was paying people to do something a few people just plain weren’t doing (making ACORN the victim here). CNN for Chrissakes!

marinelife's avatar

@dalepetrie That’s what I’m talking about. I have seen the stories and never seen any of the exculpatory information. I am pretty well-versed in news. So, doesn’t that mean that most people are not hearing the exculpatory information either?

jvgr's avatar

Yes Marina your last sentence is correct.
Other than my own investigation into one incident, the only time I heard someone support what I found out was on Bill Moyers Journal, Friday night.
But this interview took place after “Washington Week” guest hosted by Gloria Borger (sp) in lieu of Gwen Ifill. A spokesperson from Time Magazine, just talked about the “organizational fraud”.
You’d think the “biased, liberal, mainstream, media” at least would bring it up.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@Pixie, I ate one once, and it tasted awful. Just awful. I lost respect for squirrels, whom I once held in high esteem for their industriousness, over that.

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