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Digging around ACORN
Does an FBI probe of the voter-registration group matter?
A

CORN, or the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, is becoming a presidential campaign issue, said Foon Rhee in The Boston Globe, and it could become a criminal one, too. The Associated Press reports that the FBI is examining raids on several state offices of the liberal advocacy group, to see if there is a “coordinated national scam,” as Republicans allege, to fraudulently register voters for Barack Obama.

Well, ACORN is “facing vote-fraud investigations in at least 13 states,” said Deroy Murdock in the New York Post, and Obama is concealing his links to the “scandal-plagued” group. It turns out “they’re old friends,” with Obama steering money to the group and leading their training sessions. These omissions reflect poorly on his “candor and forthrightness.”

ACORN should hire better canvassers, said The New York Times in an editorial, but it’s “wildly overblown” to say, as John McCain did, that the group is trying to destroy “the fabric of democracy” through “one of the greatest frauds in voter history.” ACORN pays people to register voters, and it flags the 1 percent of “tainted forms” turned in. That’s massive fraud?

“There’s no such thing as vote fraud,” said Dahlia Lithwick in Slate. And registration fraud, which does exist, happens on both sides. The true point of McCain’s accusations is to “deliberately undermine voter confidence”—which can lead to voter purges and “draconian” verification laws. But in the process, he is “encouraging his own supporters” to take hold of democracy “and start ripping.”

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