Sunday Sermon (October 19, 2008)

¡Hola! Everybody…
In case you haven’t hears retired U.S. general and former Secretary of State, Colin Powell, has endorsed Obama for president. I believe he as disgusted by the McCain campaign as are the majority of the people of this country.

* * *

-=[ Divide and Conquer ]=-

“Racism is man’s gravest threat to man — the maximum of hatred for a minimum of reason.”

— Abraham Joshua Heschel

It seems that very election, Republicans claim that there is voter fraud occurring that benefits Democrats. This a lot like the pot calling the kettle black, since both the 2000 and 2004 elections were stolen by the right-wingnuts (more about this below). This year, Republican rage is focused on ACORN. Republicans know that these claims are false and that the charges against ACORN make no sense, but there is a calculated purpose for this obfuscation.

First, let’s do away with the ludicrous voter fraud charges. Every election year, many organizations, of which ACORN is only one, hire people to register voters. Contrary to the propaganda, ACORN pays its workers by the hour, not by quota, as the MSM has falsely reported. Finding people who are not registered is difficult work and some of the hired want to be paid for not working so they forge applications and turn them in. By law in almost every state, organizations such as ACORN must submit every application they receive from their workers. The reasons for this are obvious. If your organization has a political agenda, you could decide to submit only those from voters who intend to register as a member of the party of your preference. The law is designed to prevent this from happening.

In fact, ACORN was the first entity to flag the suspicious registration forms.

In compliance with election laws, ACORN submitted back registration forms that were suspect — they had to. In every case in counties where ACORN was having registration efforts, ACORN told election officials which batch of voter registrations it suspected of being fraudulent

That should be the end of the story… Unfortunately, instead of a substantive discussions on real issues, we have this silliness instead.

For voter fraud to work, not only do the registrations have to be submitted, someone has to be at an address indicated by the forged application to receive the voter ID card and then use that card at an actual polling station and present some sort of identification showing the registered name and that address. The identification doesn’t have to be sophisticated, it can be a utility bill or something similar, but the chances of someone voting as Tony Romo or Mickey Mouse are slim to none.

The crime of voter fraud is a serious felony in every state and people who are caught spend time in jail. Those perpetrating this crime would be doing so without any financial compensation — in other words, little reward for serious risk. For Republicans to assert that this happens in numbers enough to influence an election is excessively outlandish. No one should accept that declaration without proof. This is where I would like to make two additional assertions of my own.

First, in the last two elections, if voter fraud had occurred, you would expect to see a “Democratic shift” in the counties and states. Specifically, there would be a noticeable difference between how those counties and states polled prior to the election and the actual result and this difference would benefit Democrats. However, in virtually every instance in swing states and their counties when there are differences between the pre-election polling and the results, you see Republican shifts, not Democratic shifts. Republicans seem to be those who benefit from any discrepancies, not Democrats.

My second point, looking at this logically (which most neocons don’t), can you imagine that in rural or suburban areas you would have enough fraudulently registered people show up and not seem out of place to the people who live there?

::blank stare::

More likely, you can imagine someone saying, “Hey you, I’ve never seen you before, where do you live again? I know where that is supposed to be and that isn’t a real address,” or, “I know who really lives there and you don’t.” Can you imagine busloads of inner city black and white voters on election lines line in Smallville, USA and no one lifting an eyebrow? Shite, last I heard black folk still get shot in some gated communities.

“He was walking around, so I shot him with my “Palin Model” moose gun, officer.”

I’m (mostly) kidding people, the risk would be too high to do this in rural or suburban areas, so we would have to assume that if this were happening, it would be happening in major cities. The problem is that in large cities we have been seeing issues with long lines of voters spending hours in line trying to vote. The implication of this should be obvious. For voter fraud to have an impact, one would have to vote more than once using multiple voter IDs. How many times, in a major city, could one do this if one has to wait in lines for hours to vote?

Two days ago, The New York Times released an article after having examined the claims McCain and the Republican Party were making against ACORN and found them to be completely unfounded (click here to read the article).

The more you look at the allegations of voter fraud, the more ridiculous they seem. Now let’s look at what these charges against ACORN are meant to hide or obfuscate. For that, let’s start back at the 2000 election:

A Salon article (click here) describes one instance of Republican Election Fraud. The article describes how Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris hired a company with strong ties to the Republican Party to provide a voter purge list from the list of felons from various states. The state then purged from the voter rolls anyone who had a name even remotely similar to that of a felon. The article goes on to quote Chuck Smith, a statistician for the Hillsborough county, “We did run some number stats and the number of blacks [on the list] was higher than expected for our population.” The then Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections acknowledged that African-Americans made up 54 percent of the people on the original felons list, though they constitute only 11.6 percent of Hillsborough’s voting population. (Felony disenfranchisement across the nation excludes millions of mostly black votes, by the way.)

And that folks is what the ACORN issue is all about. It’s about the 1.3 million poor and working class voters who have registered and who the Republicans fear. They’re playing the race and class cards. It seems to me that the McCainiacs want to put a black face on the ludicrous charges in that way scaring white middle class voters. The Post article that accompanied t a huge photo of a snarling, “street-lookin’” black dude who claims to “have signed 73 voter registration forms for ACORN,” according to the caption along with it. The problem with the article? ACORN had noting to do with it. The article (as you would know if you bothered to read close to the last paragraphs) itself states that state officials already knew about this and had resolved the issue.

And that, my friends, is how Republicans want to wage this election. Don’t drink the Kool-Aid.




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