ACORN: 1.3 million? Well, more like 450K…

The New York Times is reporting that ACORN’s previous claims of having registered 1.3 million new voters were “vastly overstated;” turns out such figures are roughly three times too high. (H/T Captain Ed.)

In a concession coming from no less than Michael Slater, the executive director of Vote Smart (the arm of ACORN responsible for registration drives), the actual number of legitimate new registrants is closer to 450,000:

The remainder are registered voters who were changing their address and roughly 400,000 that were rejected by election officials for a variety of reasons, including duplicate registrations, incomplete forms and fraudulent submissions from low-paid field workers trying to please their supervisors, Mr. Slater acknowledged.

450,000 new registrants, as opposed to 1.3 million previously claimed, with 400,000 rejected. So as much as one-third of ACORN’s entire registration haul for the year (and nearly one-half of their new registrants) were suspect. And that’s according to a statement by the head of Vote Smart himself, who has a vested interest in maximizing ACORN’s registration numbers for the media; heaven only knows what the actual share of questionable registration forms might be.

Another element of the story worthy of note is that the suspect forms were rejected by election officials; that means 400,000 fraudulent registrations that ACORN missed, and gave their stamp of approval. (I’m going on the admittedly starry-eyed assumption that ACORN checks these forms even half as earnestly as they say they do before dumping them on election boards.) This puts in a whole new light the 200,000 questionable forms Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner refuses to allow county election boards to check against state databases.

One of ACORN’s most oft-repeated defenses (if you can call it one) is one of semantics. Whenever accused of “voter fraud,” ACORN representatives bristle and say that these are, if anything, cases of “voter registration fraud.” I’ll grant that the law does make that distinction, and punishes outright voter fraud more severely. That having been said, such a defense is akin to a burglar saying he didn’t break into a man’s house and beat him into a coma; he simply broke in and made off with his new flat-screen TV, and how dare you even think he’d be capable of such a savage crime? The truth is that there is no appreciable voter fraud without voter registration fraud of the kind ACORN enables, and even encourages (implicitly or explicitly). And I’m not even going to mention that ACORN, as a tax-exempt organization, is forbidden from engaging in partisan activity, which includes their use of funds transferred from Vote Smart.

I’m still waiting for the RICO indictments.

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