The McCain Campaign, Looking For A Scapegoat In ACORNThis Is George Rhodes, a resident of the Pine Street Inn shelter in Boston, holding up the voter registration form that volunteers at the shelter helped him fill out so that he can vote in this election. Did you feel as proud as George looks when you registered to vote? George is one of the people helped by groups like ACORN exercise their right to vote — and one of the people ACORN won't be able to help if Republicans have their way. You know, because it's all about the integrity of the process!John McCain is now calling for a investigation into the "voter fraud going on" in battleground states, and he doesn't mean the tens of thousands of people thrown off the voter rolls this year already. He's talking about the registration fraud perpetrated by some ACORN employees more interested in their own bottom lines than the work they were hired to do. McCain's interest in prosecuting ACORN, naturally, has nothing to do with the 1.3 million perfectly legal voters ACORN has registered since the 2006 elections. Now, although the McCain campaign has been screaming "ACORN! Obama! Fraud! Look!" for more than a wee — charges repeated rather often by the media with little reflection — the LA Times and other sources have finally started reporting what everyone — including the McCain campaign — knows is true: ACORN is required by law to submit all the registration forms it receives, even if it suspects fraud. So they routinely flag registrations they think are fraudulent and turn them over as questionable to authorities, whose job it is to investigate these things. Some Republicans like to bitch that ACORN is costing them by turning over the fake registrations they're required to turn over, or by registering people without fixed addresses (who are, you know, allowed to fucking vote) and forcing poor election boards to investigate, which is, after all, the job of an election board or office. Well, you know what? Boo fucking hoo. Ben Franklin didn't think that property ownership should be the bar for franchise and, by 1850, there wasn't a state that disagreed with him. It is, however, pretty easy to find conservatives who'd like to go back to those supposedly halcyon days when the vast legions of unwashed renters and liberals were barred from civic participation based on their lack of property ownership. Oh, wait, I think my history class had a word for that... serfdom, right? Although, it is a little ironic that while some in the conservative movement are arguing that property ownership should be considered when talking about voting rights, others are arguing that groups like ACORN helped "too many" minority citizens get home loans and thus supposedly collapse the economy. Shoot, Alanis Morissette messed me up again. That's not irony so much as the point for too many conservatives. So, let's call this what it is. It's not just an effort to smear ACORN or get it prosecuted in the hopes that it won't be able to continue with its voter registration activities — though it is that. It is also, as other people have already noted, an effort to de-legitimize Obama's presumptive victory. Republicans are hoping it's a cost-free way of saying to their core constituency on November 5th, "It wasn't our fault! It was those people! They stole the election." I guess in some parts of this country, since they have to count every vote as a full person, they'd just prefer to count as few of them as possible. God damn ACORN for helping get people involved in the democratic process! Don't they know it works better when fewer people do? McCain Calls For 'Voter Fraud' Inquiry [LA Times] Acorn Replies to Questions About Role With Voters [NY Times] ACORN Exposed In Cleveland [Politico] Voting In America [Google Books] U.S. Voting Rights [infoplease] On Voting Rights and Requisites [Modern Conservative] How McCain Will Steal the Election from Obama (Sort Of) [Huffington Post] ACORN, McCain, Obama: Cracking The Politics Code [Marc Ambinder]