From tiny ACORNs…

…great big piles of bullshit one day stats

I don’t want to make this an all-Rachel-Maddow-all-the-time blog (although I can think of many worse things for a blog to be), but the GOP is using the ACORN thing to try to steal the election before it even takes place.  It’s an important story you will hear more of as the election moves forward, and you will find no better summary of the issues involved than this segment of Maddow’s show where she discusses the whole thing with Jonathan Alter.


13 Responses to “From tiny ACORNs…”
  1. prog says:

    This is good… I was looking for a source that summarized the ACORN thing that wasn’t coated in wingnut expectorate. Thanks.

    (I do like how she fumbled “protozoid” for “protege” at the beginning.)

  2. sailortweek says:

    Our most precious right is the right to vote? I would love to have asked him for an explanation on that. McCain comes across to me out of touch a little more each day.

    But this is exactly why I can’t make it through political news. It’s petty mudslinging and not enough “This is what I’m going to do”. It’s all about “look what that fucker has done!”

    I’m also sick of “our nation divided” by these political lables. Not all republicans are white men in suits praying to God that the Black Man doesn’t make it to the polls in time. Not all democrats are screaming the HOPE speeches of Obama outside coffee shops.

    I like this lady. Thank you for posting clips. Mind if I pass them on as well? I’m stealing your posts!

  3. richaje says:

    Because the Republicans raised concerns about ACORN during a political election (and otherwise tend to ignore such issues), I think there is a strong tendency to blow this off. As a former elections attorney who was in the middle of the 2004 Washington State Gubernatorial election (representing the state’s election office and putting me against both political parties – a fascinating insight into how little either political party cares about such issues except tactically), I personally believe that the issues are ACORN are very troubling.

    ACORN is the flip side of paid signature gathers for initiative campaigns – their incentive structure (I believe now they have quota incentives instead of payment per signature – an improvement but not much of one) is going to result in improper votes. Stuff like registering Mickey Mouse is usually something that get cured before the election (assuming the local elections department has the time and resources); the bigger problem is registration from people who are not allowed to vote (i.e. felons and noncitizens) or people voting from multiple jurisdictions (i.e. college kids voting in their home state and their current residence, or the classic case of New Yorkers voting in Florida as well).

    The biggest problem with improper votes is once they have been introduced into the count, you can’t cure the problem. You only know that a certain number of votes are illegal – you don’t who the illegal votes went to. So in Washington State we knew that the number of illegal votes were substantially greater than the difference between the two candidates, but there was no way to cure the problem.

    Now the Rs care about ACORN only because they fear the illegal votes resulting from their voter registration campaigns are likely to be D votes. And their focus is on inflammatory, but largely minor problems. But that doesn’t mean that voter registration campaigns done in the reckless manner as ACORNs isn’t a significant problem and one that needs to be addressed.

    • malsperanza says:

      The problems with potentially improper registrations would be resolved easily by funding the state election commissions adequately. It’s a disgrace that there are not enough voting machines in all precincts, that they don’t always work, and that voter reg is not completed in a timely way, including whatever checks are required by law. The federal govt (via the Justice Dept) has the responsibility to ensure free, complete, and accessible elections. This isn’t a huge problem; it’s a modest one. The stats on improper or illegal registrations, compared with the vast success of recent voter registration drives, are pitifully small.

      It is, of course, the GOP that aims to improve America and promote democracy by depressing voter registration numbers, encouraging people not to vote, and frightening them when they do. Not to mention the perennial GOP bright idea of restoring a poll tax, disenfranchising homeless people, and other repugnant ploys. Until that behavior stops, criticizing ACORN’s use of paid signature gatherers is at best dubious.

      Maybe now is the moment for us to recall that the current Republican administration fired 9 attorneys general because they would not pursue phony vote fraud charges, and is now under investigation for same. (Report here, for those who haven’t already read it: Though the underlying motive was to salt the AG system with Bush loyalists who would policiticize their prosecutions, the casus belli (especially for Iglesias) was the AG’s failure to pursue vote fraud cases on the grounds that there was no evidence of vote fraud.

      In other words, the false (or highly exaggerated) claim of vote fraud is an attested, longstanding weapon of the GOP to subvert elections. The report is enough to discredit the current GOP tactic against ACORN. None of this is new and it’s way more than merely “inflammatory.”

      If that game ever gets abandoned, and the GOP makes an honest commitment to ensuring large-scale voter registration and turnout and unobstructed access to the polls, then sure: Let’s go after ACORN for its sloppy registration protocols.

      • Yeah, I just can’t care at all about ACORN. The GOP voter-caged its way to stealing two elections in a row, and now I have to hear them bitch about voter fraud? What the fuck alternate reality are we in now? Any extra votes illegally picked up by Dems this go-round will be entirely superfluous anyway. I’m convinced Obama’s winning this by double digits. It’s going to be such a wide margin that all complaints about the results, no matter how legitimate, will be petty and futile. Whatever small sliver of effect ACORN has on the results just will not matter one way or the other.

        • Anonymous says:

          People have reminded me that the accusation of “vote fraud” is inaccurate. Vote fraud only occurs when someone votes. Until then, it’s just a paid gatherer ripping off ACORN by filling out a form with a false name (Mickey Mouse was the example given). Certainly it would be a good idea for ACORN to check address rolls where it can, but that’s actually the responsibility of state election commissions. ACORN should weed out the frivolous ones where it can, as a courtesy to overburdened, underfunded state commissions. More valuable would be for the federal govt to provide aid to states for the purposes of improving their electoral management. In NYC we still vote with machines that routinely jam, causing huge lines. (In 2004 there were still lines around the block when the polls closed at 9 pm, because there weren’t enough machines. Absurd.)

          In Ohio, where a glitch in the early-voting schedule this year allowed some people to register and vote on the same day, the state is being required to check those voters. I think that’s proper. The state can do so in the next 2 weeks, and meanwhile no voters were intimidated or prevented from voting by hostile “checkers.” The chances that any of those voters was fraudulent or voted twice is, I think, pretty low. More scary are the attempts to frighten inexperienced voters with flyers saying if they have an outstanding parking ticket, they’ll be arrested when they go to vote. I’ve seen those this year in Philly, in neighborhoods likely to vote Dem. Yep, real patriots, those GOPs.

    • Anonymous says:


      Is there a problem with ACORN, yes. Is trying to spin it to say that Democrats are stealing the election, and Obama is somehow responsible the STUPIDEST way to go about it? Yes.

      Also, for all those saying this was a nice summary of the issue, I disagree. I just hear too much bits of sniping at McCain, and properly “framing” the issue to think this would be something you could show to a strong Republican and have them sit through.

      ~ Ytoabn

  4. Thanks again for helping educate us on these issues. I’d never heard of the Acorn deal yet.

    It seems that McCain is grasping at any straw he can to gain some ground in this race.

  5. r_sikoryak says:

    I’d love to see Right Thinker on Rachel Maddow.

  6. I feel as though I must thank you for an introduction to Rachel Maddow. Much appreciated. Now I must return to tonight’s programme of her really big shew.