We all know that the 2000 election was... how shall we put it... egregiously buttfucked. And we all suspect that the aught-four election was given some gentle massage with, for some, a Happy Ending. So what about 2008? Well, there's been a lot of talk going on about voter fraud recently, especially with ACORN, but they're not the ones we should be watching: The GOP are.
Of the two parties, the GOP has been far more active in creating roadblocks for voter registration and actual voting than the Democrats ever have. Check out the recent news about GOP operative Nathan Sproul, who received money from the McCain/Palin campaign, and is now under investigation for voter registration fraud.
So, much in the same way that tapping Sarah Palin for his VP defanged McCain's "inexperience" talking point, this should be crippling his accusations against ACORN and Obama's connection with same.
The career of Mr Sproul, a former leader of the Arizona Republican Party, is littered with accusations of foul play. In Minnesota in 2004, his firm was accused of sacking workers who submitted Democratic registration forms, while other canvassers were allegedly paid bonuses for registering Bush voters. There were similar charges in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Oregon and Nevada.
That year, Mr Sproul’s firm was paid $8,359,161 by the Republican Party, according to a 2005 article in the Baltimore Chronicle, which claimed that this was far more than what had been reported to the Federal Elections Commission.
Speaking of which, if we were to compare the two instances of registration fraud, I have to side with ACORN. Sproul is being accused of deliberately hindering the electoral process and conducting a campaign of intimidation and mendacity to further his political goals. He is trying to diminish voter rolls. Keep that in mind.
ACORN is accused of handing in blatantly fraudulent voter registrations forms from people who are do not, in fact, exist, a result of their policy of paying per registration. Here's the thing, though: they are required by law to hand in any registration they receive. This should be a no-brainer for anyone who wants the democratic process to run smoothly - don't let people pick and choose who will register and who won't. So, prior to handing in the forms they've collected, ACORN flags the suspicious ones so that the election officials can give them another look to determine their validity. Are they making more work for election officials? Absolutely. And frankly, our democracy is worth the overtime. Regardless, ACORN is attempting, clumsily, to expand the voter rolls.
So, given the choice between diminishing the pool of eligible voters and expanding it, which should you pick?
I'm not well-known for being a populist. Or an idealist. I have my doubts about the wisdom of the Electorate, but after the last eight years I think I can be forgiven them. But I love democracy, I really do. I love the idea of it, that each person has the same decision-making power of every other person. Your religion, your salary, your race, your origin, your background, your loves, your hates, your history - they're all irrelevant to the value of your vote. Your vote may not be worth much - it's not going to change the world, especially if you're not voting in a swing state - but it has value. It is a measure of your dedication to the ideals of the nation that you make a conscious choice as to who you want to lead you for the next four years.
Some people don't want you to have that power.
The next two weeks are only going to get more vicious - McCain is running low on funding, and it doesn't look like any more is on its way. Voter registration fraud isn't quite as sexy as palling around with terrorists, but while McCain is busy floundering around across the country, there are dedicated workers in Nevada, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Colorado and all the other swing states doing everything they can to prevent voters from going to the polls on November 4th. You should know by now if your registration is good and where you need to be two Tuesdays from now. If you don't, well, it might be too late. In the meantime, write letters and make phone calls. Not to the RNC, they'll just flush you down the memory hole. Call the press. Tell them that you're really interested in knowing how the voter suppression thing is going, and you'd really appreciate them doing their, y'know, jobs. Palast and Kennedy can't do all the heavy lifting, after all....