If we learned anything from the mess in Florida in 2000, it’s this: When elections don’t end on Election Day, things get ugly quickly. That is why today, and not the day after Election Day, is the day for Americans of all political stripes to aggressively press for more robust safeguards against vote fraud and for immediate action on the registration-fraud investigations targeting ACORN, the community-organizing enterprise that has been the sometime employer and full-time ally of Barack Obama.
ACORN’s voter-registration affiliate, Project Vote, was founded by leftist activist Sandy Newman. When Newman was looking to hire somebody to run Project Vote in Illinois, he turned to a local lawyer who had conducted training for ACORN: Barack Obama. Small world. (“He did one hell of a job,” Newman says. Undoubtedly.) ACORN’s political-action committee is supporting Obama, to nobody’s great surprise, and ACORN has hired Michelle Obama’s old Chicago law firm to help them out in a million-dollar embezzlement case. (National Review’s Stanley Kurtz documents the Obama-ACORN nexus here.) More significant, Obama represented ACORN in a lawsuit against Illinois, seeking to force the implementation of “motor voter” registrations, an initiative that has provided rich opportunity for voter-registration fraud. Senator Obama today disavows his connection to the leftist group in much the same way he describes his longtime associate and benefactor, the impenitent terrorist Bill Ayers, as “some guy who lived in my neighborhood.” Which is to say, he does so dishonestly.
ACORN’s Nevada offices were raided by federal law enforcement on Tuesday as part of a vote-fraud investigation. At least ten states have reported suspicions about ACORN’s new voters, who number at least three million since 2004. Among those the group was seeking to register to vote in Nevada were the starting lineup of the Dallas Cowboys. “Tony Romo is not registered to vote in the state of Nevada,” deadpanned Ross Miller, Nevada’s secretary of state. It is against the law to employ felons in voter-registration projects; ACORN seems to have employed at least 59 of them, inmates on work release.
Unsurprisingly, the team of vote-canvassers assembled by ACORN for the benefit of Senator Obama — a gang one disgruntled felon/inmate/activist described as “lazy crackheads” — has produced some colorful results: 21 separate voter-registration applications were filed for a single voter in Miami; activists have attempted to register untold numbers of dead, underage, imprisoned, imaginary, or otherwise ineligible voters in swing states; in Indiana, signatures were forged on registration cards for names apparently pulled out of the phone book at random, and Indianapolis/Marion County’s registration now stands at 105 percent of the voting-age population; in Nevada, registrations for Dallas Cowboys star Terrell Owens and other would-be voters were filed from nonexistent addresses, and there were no records of the existence of many of the people proffered as voters. In Albuquerque, at least 1,400 registration cards are in question. Missouri (53,500 new ACORN voters) and Ohio are finding forged signatures and registrations from nonexistent addresses. These are not isolated cases; they run into several thousands already, and the investigations have only begun.
In July of 2007, five ACORN activists pleaded guilty to fraud in Washington State for submitting nearly 2,000 phony voter applications. ACORN’s new team has facilitated at least 40,000 new voter registrations in the state of Washington for this election. The Wall Street Journal reports that a worker for an ACORN affiliate in Ohio in 2004 was “given crack cocaine in exchange for fraudulent registrations that included underage voters, dead voters and pillars of the community named Mary Poppins, Dick Tracy and Jive Turkey.” The Republican party in Ohio is asking the state this year to cross-reference driver’s-license numbers on registrations against the state’s motor-vehicles database, so that any mismatches can be examined. They are making their case in federal court, but Ohio’s Democratic secretary of state is resisting. Democratic officeholders across the country deny there is a problem.
There are millions of new ACORN-registered voters on the rolls for this election. It would be corrosive to our institutions if fraud were to force a close 2008 presidential race to be hashed out in court after the fact, or cast doubt on the result. Recall the gubernatorial election of Christine Gregoire of Washington State, where those ACORN activists were convicted of fraud. In Gregoire’s election, Democratic districts tallied up more mail-in ballots than there were mail-in voters, while Republican districts were found to have fewer votes than voters. Mail-in ballots are inherently problematic because there is no way of knowing who actually fills them out; their use should probably be restricted to overseas military and diplomatic personnel. Asking voters to go to the polls and show a valid photo ID would put an end to many of these questions, and doing so is not too much to ask to maintain the integrity of our democracy.