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Posted by on Aug 3, 2005 in At TMV | 0 comments

Democrats Accused Of Suppressing Votes More Than GOPers (REVISED)

NOTE: We have REVISED THIS POST due to some info and links presented by a reader in our comments section. It turns out that there has been some controversy about this group itself perhaps being a GOP front group. The fact that this has been a controversy that goes back months certainly does CHANGE the context of its findings. We will put our additions in boldfaced.

The additional links we’ve added indicate our original report was NOT COMPLETE because it didn’t take into account the controversy about this group. That is OUR MISTAKE since we didn’t do a Google check and just ran and picked up the story below — which will be similarly run in full on many other blogs. We doubt many other blogs will add this additional info if they already touted this story flawed by any mention of the controversy over this group.

The American Center for Voting Rights Legislative Fund has issued a stinging report saying the Democrats were “far more involved” in voter intimidation, suppression in the 2004 elections than Republicans.

However, there has been an ongoing controversy about this group. As you can see by the long list of links here Democrats have long charged that it is a group set up by GOPers.

Our alert reader also sent us THIS LINK that shows the group’s counsel was National election counsel to Bush-Cheney ’04. There’s nothing wrong with a lawyer being tied to any party (Congress would shut down otherwise). But this info was NOT evident from the news report which suggested this was somehow a neutral group. More from our original post:

At the very least, this report will likely yank some of the high moral ground Democrats felt they had on the issue of allegations that the GOP tinkers with voters and voting to win some elections. And, just as many Republicans defend anything aimed at their party, expect these allegations to be discounted by many Democrats.

But WE WERE WRONG on that.

The fact that a controversy has raged for months on the group being loaded with people alleged to be GOP activists means the report’s allegations don’t have the credibility it would have had if it was truly a bipartisan group with no controversy going back months.

The allegations aren’t pretty:

WASHINGTON-The American Center for Voting Rights Legislative Fund today released the most comprehensive and authoritative review of the facts surrounding allegations of vote fraud, intimidation and suppression made during the 2004 presidential election.

The ACVR Legislative Fund report, “Vote Fraud, Intimidation & Suppression In The 2004 Presidential Election,” finds that while Democrats routinely accuse Republicans of voter intimidation and suppression, neither party has a clean record on the issue.

The report finds that paid Democrat operatives were far more involved in voter intimidation and suppression activities than were their Republican counterparts during the 2004 presidential election. Examples include paid Democrat operatives charged with slashing tires on GOP get-out-the-vote vans in Milwaukee and an Ohio court order stopping Democrat operatives from calling voters telling them the wrong date for the election and faulty polling place information.

When we read this we found this a bit curious and SHOULD have done an exhaustive Google search before putting it on this site. That is OUR FAILURE since we’re on the road — and that’s NO EXCUSE to our readers. We wondered when we read this why the GOP was not raked over the coals with similar vehemence in Ohio.

And what about “nonpartisan” groups? They didn’t fare much better:

The report further finds that thousands of Americans were disenfranchised by illegal votes cast and a coordinated effort by members of certain “nonpartisan” organizations to rig the election system through voter registration fraud in more than a dozen states. Examples include a law enforcement task force finding “clear evidence of fraud in the Nov. 2 election in Milwaukee,” including hundreds of felon and double voters and thousands more ballots cast than voters recorded as having voted in the city and multiple indictments and convictions of ACORN workers for voter registration fraud in several states.

The group has some specific recommendations to cut down on voter fraud and intimidation. And:

…..ACVR Legislative Fund identifies five cities as election fraud “hot spots” which require additional immediate attention prior to the 2006 elections. Philadelphia, Pa., Milwaukee, Wis., Seattle, Wash., St. Louis/East St. Louis, Mo./Ill. and Cleveland, Ohio were identified based on the findings of the report and the cities’ documented history of fraud and intimidation.

A letter delivered today to DNC and RNC chairmen Howard Dean and Ken Mehlman urged party leaders to formally adopt the zero-tolerance policy against fraud and intimidation. ACVR Legislative Fund further asked party leaders to identify issues of concern in each of the election fraud “hot spots” by Oct. 1, 2005.

When we read that, a warning flag did go up: if BOTH parties are guilty of suppressing the vote, then where are the paragraphs detailing problems in states or cities with Republicans and taking that party to task? MORE:

Perhaps that could happen. But it certainly seems that it’s within each party’s interest to use all of the tools it has for its side. Ideally, both parties will work with the ACVR. Realistically? It’s unlikely to happen. Holding your breath may be hazardous to your health..

Actually what could be hazardous to your health is taking a news report on good faith these days.

We were WRONG in not checking this out. We were WRONG in running the original post.

The NEWS VALUE in that original post was a neutral group saying the Democrats suppressed the vote more than the Republicans.

But it now turns out that (a)a controversy has raged about this group being a GOP front group (on liberal blogs and on Air America) for months, (b)its legal advisor worked for the Bush-Cheney campaign.

We have had readers on the left and right say that unless we come down totally on one side we’ll find our readership vanishes. Oh, well. If that happens, it happens and perhaps then blogging won’t be for us after all.

We’re not going to run reports of stories about groups tied to the GOP or the Democrats as news stories — and then tout their findings as if these stories deal with a neutral group.

We are sure this report will be big news on talk radio and cable radio — and we’re sure there will be no mention about the context of the controversy surrounding this group.

The controversy over this group SHOULD have been noted in our ORIGINAL post — which based on what we have learned from the new links suggests we shouldn’t have run it at all because it comes from a group that is not exactly the American League of Women Voters but seemingly a surrogate soldier in one partisan camp.

We ERRED in not checking it out.We ERRED in running the original post.

We APOLOGIZE to our readers about not being more diligent — because they expect a semblance of journalistic care when they read this site. Our readers deserve better. And we most certainly promise we won’t do a post about an unchecked group — or have to do this kind of mea culpa — again. LO SIENTO MUCHO…

UPDATE: Bradblog notes here that many in the news media have run this item unchecked — and that the Arizona Republic has removed the story from its website (our source story was from there). FOOTNOTE TO READERS: We got some emails from people who said the fact that Bradblog itself has a definsite political view and is writing about this somehow undermines our point about this “news” item. Not at all. The ISSUE is whether this group is indeed a bipartisan group as it was presented in the news story we unfortunately linked to.

If this truly was a bipartisan group and there had been no controversy about it, then that criticism would hold water. But there has in fact been a lot of controversy about this group if you just read the links on his site and the one dealing with the lawyer.

He also raises a valid point. Many blogs — including THIS one — took a hard stand about Dan Rather not checking out the materials he presented in the scandal endearingly nicknamed “Rathergate.” Dan Rather just ran with it because it seemed like a good story. He should have checked a bit more.

In this instance, bloggers and news services are just running with it. Which is OK — PROVIDING it is noted in these posts and stories that this group has been at the center of controversy now for several months as being a front group.

Do we have the resources to prove that to our readers? No. We don’t have the resources or the time to investigate this group.

But it is NOT accurate to give readers a report about a “bipartisan group” that seemingly makes it sound like it’s above the fray blasting basically just the Democrats — when there has been an ongoing controversy about whether it is actually a political front group. The fact of the controversy is NOT NEW. It’s just not noted in the stories and posts about this “news item.”

PSS: Two emails said we were excessive in our apologies. NOT AT ALL. We do have certain standards and we unknowingly violated them on this one.

UPDATE II: Captain Ed has done some research and finds some Democratic ties in this group as well and makes the case that although the report may not be unbiased, it still isn’t the fraud some say it is. Read his POST HERE and go to his updates for his findings.

OUR VIEW? It does not change our feelings one iota. If we had known about the controversy about this group we would not have touched that Arizona Republic story with a 10 foot pole. PERIOD.

We didn’t do our homework (and we had funny vibes about that story) and, even worse, the Arizona Republic editors who ran that story — which has since been PULLED from the AR website — did not do THEIRS. They were journalistically negligent in not running at least a line or two noting the ongoing controversy over this group. When a story is pulled from a website it is not a tiny matter. (And that’s our final word on this as we move onto other more important issues….)

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