GOP Conference Call on ACORN
Today I took part in a conference call with RNC Chief Counsel Sean Cairncross and RNC Communications Director Danny Diaz regarding questions about voter registration efforts and fraud accusations centering on ACORN. (I don’t have a link yet to a replay from www.gop.com but will update this post later when it becomes available.) Normally I would transcribe individual questions, but in this case I would just like to give a brief summary of topics and some of my general impressions. A number of prominent bloggers asked questions from both sides of the aisle, along with yours truly.
I posed the question of what we should do in the long run. Does ACORN represent a persistent problem which should spur us to outlaw third party voter registration on a national level? I found some portions of Mr. Diaz’s answer satisfying, but others lacking. Both parties engage in both voter registration efforts and GOTV activity across the nation, and personally I think this is a good thing. ACORN, I’m sorry to say, has simply brought up too many issues of fraud to ignore. But do we throw the baby out with the bath water? Or do we continue to prosecute individual workers who knowingly break the law but support the organization’s efforts in general?
Other bloggers questioned specific instances of alleged fraud on the part of ACORN in various states, as well as one Republican group in California accused of similar scurrilous activities. I’m left with more questions than answers, personally. ACORN has employed convicted criminals still serving their time in halfway houses and gotten predictable results. We can, in my opinion, treat this group like any other employer who takes insufficient care in their hiring practices. I admire the goals of ACORN in giving opportunities to the less-fortunate, but at the same time you can not always entrust such an important task to those with proven track records of mendacity.
What say you, readers? Should we ban all third party registration and leave it to voters to make the effort to register themselves? Or is the work of such groups too important to put aside and we are left needing more vigorous law enforcement efforts in monitoring them? Should registration be the default mode for all Americans and leave us to focus on rooting out those who are disqualified? Hard questions which require answers, to be sure.