Voting Early & Often

, Jesse Masai, Leave a comment

With Election Day nearing, the politics surrounding the Association of Community Organizations Reform Now (ACORN) cannot just go away.

Now Hans von Spakovsky, a fellow at Heritage Foundation, is warning that the nature and substance of ACORN’s activities could be more pervasive than previously thought.

At a recent briefing at Heritage, Spakovsky said ACORN might be even more emboldened by a Supreme Court ruling this month concerning the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) in Ohio, which he suggested makes voter verification difficult. The scholar says Democrats are not leveling with the electorate this year regarding HAVA, yet they sought protection from it in 2004 in Ohio.

“What is amusing is that this very issue came up in 2004, when the Democratic party filed the first lawsuits under HAVA—against then-Ohio secretary of state Ken Blackwell, a Republican. It was an effort to force the state to count provisional ballots from individuals who voted outside their assigned precincts. Of course, the Democratic party was arguing then what the Republican party is now—that a private right for HAVA exists,” he said in remarks also repeated on National Review’s October 21 online edition.

Speaking of Democrat Jennifer Brunner’s 200,000 “mismatched” ballots, voter fraud expert John Fund said on October 20 that: “I suspect a majority, although not all of those 200,000, are valid voters, but still even if its sixty thousand or forty thousand of those 200,000, that’s still very troubling in a state that was won by a 115,000 votes last time and those people, as we’ve found, some of those people did already vote.”

Spakovsky castigated the Department of Justice for not pursuing the case, saying the situation was setting a dangerous legal precedent.

At the briefing, he distributed three legal memoranda, outlining his concerns about this year’s electoral process in view of the voter-fraud allegations: Where there is smoke, there is fire: 100,000 stolen votes in Chicago; Absentee ballot fraud: A stolen election in Greene County, Alabama and The threat of non-citizen voting.

In the Chicago affair, Spakovsky says the city’s political machine directed an enormous, decades-long voting fraud effort responsible for at least 100,000 votes—one-tenth of all votes cast in the city—in the hotly contested 1982 Illinois gubernatorial election.

“This fraud was accomplished by stealing the votes of the disabled and elderly, impersonating absent voters, stuffing voter registration rolls with fake or ineligible voters, registering aliens, casting fraudulent absentee ballots, altering vote counts, and the outright purchasing of votes,” he said, adding that similar tactics have come to light in recent elections in Philadelphia and in the states of Wisconsin and Tennessee, among other locations.

And he added: “Chicago’s experience points toward viable solutions to the problem of voter fraud: careful vetting of voter registration lists to remove ineligible or false names, stronger voter identification measures such as an ID requirement, and bipartisan oversight of the election process.”

He argued that Democrats are out to destroy the electoral process, while at the same time presenting themselves as champions of democracy.

“The left has not had much power since 1965, and is currently salivating for it. It now views compliance with electoral law as optional, and not as one for which integrity is vital. We should not go the Zimbabwe way,” he said, even as he accused the Democrats of abusing the legal process to silence ACORN critics.

He cited recent correspondence from Democrat presidential nominee Barack Obama’s legal team to the Justice Department asking for prosecution against those questioning ACORN’s activities.

“As Election Day approaches—just as in 2004 and 2006—Republican Party officials and operatives nationwide, including the candidates themselves, are fomenting specious vote fraud allegations, and there are distorting indications of official involvement or collusion.…Accordingly, I call on you and Special Prosecutor Dannehy to expand her investigation to include these matters, all of them entirely consistent with the pattern of misconduct already within her charge,” Obama for America general counsel Bob Bauer is quoted as saying in a letter availed during the Heritage briefing.

In response, Spakovsky said: “The Obama campaign’s Stalinist-style demand that a special prosecutor at the Department of Justice criminally prosecute any candidates, party officials or congressmen who discussed their concerns over voter fraud is an outrageous attempt to use the power of the federal government to intimidate and persecute political opponents. It is almost as if Senator Obama wants to reinstitute the Alien and Sedition Acts and it brings into sharp focus the issue of whether he understands the protections of the First Amendment and the importance of fair and secure elections.”

Jesse Masai is an intern at the American Journalism Center, a training program run by Accuracy in Media and Accuracy in Academia.