Wednesday, 18 March 2009

ACORN: charged with voter fraud but helping with the next US census!

John Lott Blog


"The U.S. Census is supposed to be free of politics, but one group with a history of voter fraud, ACORN, is participating in next year's count, raising concerns about the politicization of the decennial survey.

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now signed on as a national partner with the U.S. Census Bureau in February 2009 to assist with the recruitment of the 1.4 million temporary workers needed to go door-to-door to count every person in the United States -- currently believed to be more than 306 million people.

A U.S. Census "sell sheet," an advertisement used to recruit national partners, says partnerships with groups like ACORN "play an important role in making the 2010 Census successful," including by "help[ing] recruit census workers." . . .

ACORN = The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now

From the, "Who is ACORN," page on the ACORN web site:

Service delivery: ACORN and its allied organizations provide extensive services to our members and constituency. These include free tax preparation focusing on the Earned Income Tax Credit; screening for eligibility for federal and state benefit programs; and, through the ACORN Housing Corporation, first time homeowner mortgage counseling and foreclosure prevention assistance, and low income housing development.

Ballot initiatives: ACORN-backed ballot-initiative campaigns in 2006 helped raise the minimum wage in Ohio, Arizona, Missouri and Colorado, working with community-faith-labor coalitions on successful campaigns in each state.

Voter participation: Since 2004, ACORN has helped more than 1.7 million low- and moderate-income and minority citizens apply to register to vote."

It is this last item, Voter participation, which is under scrutiny. Across the USA, ACORN registered thousands upon thousands of new voters during the Obama election campaign. In the past, ACORN employees have been convicted of voter fraud. In the most recent presidential election campaign, ACORN has apparently registered dead people to vote, submitted thousands of obviously fraudulent registration forms, many with the same handwriting, and it seems that from the zip code, there are people living in take-away food places and even, somehow, in the middle of rivers.

So, that's what ACORN is. In addition to voter fraud, ACORN has also been accused of fraud and embezzlement. Yet, this organisation has been enlisted by the Federal government of the USA to help with the 2010 census.

This is a CNN video about ACORN from October 2008.

So, how come this organisation, which claims to be independent, receiving funding from donations and memberships, but which was actually receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars from the Obama campaign, and is accused of voter fraud, is now signed up as a partner organisation for the next census? The results of the census are very important in deciding on representation in Congress and on allocation of Federal funds. So, it seems like a rather risky business to enlist ACORN while it is under investigation for voter fraud. Should such an organisation be helping to recruit the workers who will be responsible for distributing and collecting census forms and for assisting some elements of the community to complete their forms?

In the UK, these census officers are called, "enumerators," and part of the job is to help people, who for one reason or another, have difficulty with the forms: language, literacy, sight problems and other disabilities. I think we can assume that the job is similar in the US, the intention being that no one is left out because of barriers to communication. However, this is, as is probably obvious, open to fraud and manipulation by those officers helping to complete the forms. Is this a risk worth taking and why has the Obama administration opted to enlist the help of ACORN, while ACORN is suspected of illegal activity?

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