Category Archives: Law

ACORN goes to prison…to register MN voters

No, ACORN has not been sent to prison; I guess that comes later. In fact, they’ve gone willingly, and they’ve brought their clipboards with them.

An investigative report in Minnesota has found that ACORN workers went to prisons in an effort to add the wards of the state therein to the voting rolls. (Link via Hot Air; click through for interesting video.) Needless to say, Minnesota law forbids voting by convicted felons, let alone by those still serving out their sentences.

How convinced do you have to be of your own safety from the reach of the law in order to send your voter-registration apparatus into a place where you are virtually guaranteed to find nothing but throngs of the ineligible?

(I’m waiting for an ACORN spokesman to explain that they weren’t actually targeting the felons in Minnesota’s prison system. I’m laying odds that ACORN comes out and accuses America’s right wing of actively seeking to disenfranchise Minnesota’s prison catering community. Let the Ladle Guys Vote!)

Kiss Alaska goodbye. Thank Ted Stevens.

Newly convicted Sen. Ted Stevens is digging in his heels, and this blogger sees no sign of any intent to resign, before or after the election. The man honestly thinks he won’t spend day one in jail; I don’t think he’s capable of envisioning a Senate without him.

National Republicans are abandoning him, the state party is clinging to him, his fellow senators (of both parties) are talking openly about expelling him, and local political experts are still saying he might eke out one final re-election victory.

News developments, analysis, and more wonkery below the break.

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Welcome to the bighouse, Ted. Now what?

The Congressional Indicted Caucus officially has one fewer member. Senator Ted Stevens has been convicted on all counts. To quote a certain played-out, over-the-hill cartoonist: “Guilty, guilty, guilty!” (More here, here, here, and here.) For his part, Stevens has announced he will appeal, maintaining his innocence and lacerating the prosecutors for what I admit was some pretty messed-up lawyering.

I can’t say I’ll be sorry to see Sen. Stevens go, which will come as no surprise to WitSnapper readers (who may have read my thoughts on the man here, here, here, here, and elsewhere). His Senate seat will likely go to his Democratic opponent, Anchorage mayor Mark Begich, now effectively running unopposed. Republicans now are scrambling to assess their very limited options.

Bunches of scenario-weaving below the break.

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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.

Are Murtha’s days numbered? Polls say maybe.

Rep. John Murtha, whose claims to fame include Abscam conspiracy, slandering Marines, smearing half his own state as racist, and serving up enough pork in Congress to supply Oktoberfest, may be watching his custom-gerrymandered seat slip away.

One poll recently released has Murtha’s Republican opponent, Bill Russell, pulling within the margin of error in the upcoming election, while another poll leaked to Miz Michelle by her Pennsylvania source shows Russell with a comfortable lead.

No need to remind me that I just tossed up the world’s longest freakin’ post on how I think the polls this year are about as useful for toilet paper as they are for predicting elections. However, given that Murtha is a guy who has held this seat since 1974, who typically considers a 2-to-1 victory margin on Election Night a squeaker, who lives in a district with a 63% Democratic registration roll, and who is running in a “we all hate Republicans worse than liver worse than root canals” year, it is absolutely unheard of that Russell, a Republican Iraq hawk who won a spot on the ballot with a write-in campaign, could be giving Murtha the race of his life.

I don’t think it’s petty of me to note how anxiously I am looking forward to seeing Murtha assuming long overdue civilian status, bringing with him little but his shredded dignity, his Abscam souvenirs, his various coffee mugs from his favorite defense contractors, and his pending slander suits.

UPDATE: Commenter MommaMT (see below) is kind enough to alert me that the “worse than liver” expression is not quite apt in significant parts of Pennsylvania. I hope my substitution is satisfactory.

The Fairness Doctrine, resurrected from the Pit

Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) has finally made public intentions toward a plan whose existence many Democrats have been trying to deny for years: bringing back that speech-suppressing abomination, the Fairness Doctrine. (Links here and here, and with audio here and here).

More on the Doctrine’s history, why it’s a dangerous assault on the Constitution, and why Democrats like Bingaman love it so much and want it back so badly, below the break.

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Could the polls be wrong? It’s happened, but…

A bunch of people, both live and over email, have asked me why I don’t blog more on poll results, especially given that I worked in the business for a number of years.

Admittedly, I’m blogging a lot less on poll-related topics than I did, say, a month or more ago, which is a bit counterintuitive in light of the avalanche of poll results that comes in the last couple of months before an approaching presidential Election Day. ┬áSince mid-September, pollblogging on WitSnapper has been especially rare, and even then I’ve typically done so only to comment on the misuse or shoddy execution of polls.

There’s a pretty simple reason: taken as a whole, the polls for this race have been entirely unreliable, and my estimation is that it’s because of pollster panic.

In addition, if McCain were to overtake Obama in the last couple of weeks in defiance of the polls, it wouldn’t be the first (or even second) time in modern election history.

Details and further links below the break.

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