Friday, November 03, 2006

ACORN voter registration fraud

In Kansas City:

A federal grand jury handed up indictments Wednesday against four people after authorities said they submitted false voter registrations to the Kansas City election board.

The indictments — against Kwaim A. Stenson; Dale D. Franklin; Stephanie L. Davis, also known as Latisha Reed; and Brian Gardner — include two felony counts against each, the U.S. attorney’s office said.

All four defendants worked this year as voter registration recruiters for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, known as ACORN. They could not be reached for comment.

Conservative bloggers are trying to make political hay with this, and to a certain extent they're justified. Voter fraud, whomever commits it, should be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.

But it's not like anyone is defending this:

ACORN officials said they no longer work for the group. And, they emphasized, ACORN turned in the names of three of the defendants to authorities last month after learning of the problem....

Democratic party spokesman Jack Cardetti said, “We absolutely support the prosecution of anyone who turns in fraudulent registration cards.”

ACORN workers in other states have been similarly charged and in some cases convicted. And there have been some legitimate questions over whether paying registration workers per registration encourages them to turn in fraudulent applications. So the organization certainly deserves scrutiny. But it's a huge group: at least 200,000 members, never mind the people they hire to help with registration drives. So we should be careful about indicting the entire organization based on the actions of a handful of members.

But definitely investigate. People have enough things that make them worry about the integrity of the voting process; we don't need to give them more. And if it turns out the corruption is organizationwide, the entire organization should be held accountable.

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