Saturday, September 27, 2008

GOP Issues Absurd Attack on Voter Registration Group

The RNC calls ACORN "quasi-criminal" after finding two questionable voter applications in rural Florida.

By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet

The Republican Party is increasingly attacking voter registration groups that are perceived by the GOP as enfranchising likely Democratic voters, calling one of those groups "a quasi-criminal" organization because two voter registration applications in a rural Florida county were discovered to be problematic.

The two questionable voter registration applications found in Seminole County, Florida, were submitted by ACORN, or the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, which has registered more than 1.15 million voters in two dozens states in 2008. ACORN is the nation’s largest non-profit voter registration organization.

In a Wednesday conference call, Republican National Committee chief counsel Sean Cairncross called ACORN a "quasi-criminal" organization that was trying to create chaos with voting. He said it was "disturbing" that the group has links to the Obama campaign, saying the Democratic nominee worked with ACORN more than a decade ago.

The RNC teleconference came two days after the McCain-Palin 2008 campaign held a similar press conference call with former Sen. John Danforth (R-MO) and former Sen. Warren Rudman (R-NH) that discussed "issues of voter fraud, state specific voter fraud accusations, and the McCain-Palin 2008 Honest and Open Election Committee."

"The big picture is this is a Republican and McCain strategy to go after voter groups," said Brian Kettenring, head organizer of Florida ACORN, who said he has spent the past several days dealing with members of the media who are reacting to the GOP charges. He noted that the Seminole County Supervisor of Elections, Mike Ertel, has said that only two voter applications out of thousands submitted in 2008 are questionable and that the county's process to review these forms is working.

In Florida, where ACORN has gathered 135,000 new voter registrations this year, Kettenring said one of the registrations in question appeared to be filled out by a young woman for a friend. In the second case, a man’s voter registration form appeared to be incomplete. Typically, these errors would prompt local officials to reject the forms.

"What's going on here is a right-wing radio station called the supervisor trying to drum up a story," Kettenring said.........

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