ACORN might have disbanded, but the risk of vote fraud in the November 2010 elections is still real.
“Desperate men and women will do desperate things to maintain power when the public threatens to take that power away from them,” said David Keene, chairman of the American Conservative Union. “That means that, more so than in other years, [some candidates] are going to be relying on whatever kind of assistance they can get from whatever quarter that assistance might come.”
That assistance will come from ACORN-like groups, Keene explained at yesterday’s Bloggers Briefing at Heritage. Keene said the people who were a part of ACORN and who used that organization to mobilize on behalf of their favorite politicians “aren’t going away, haven’t gone away, and can’t really be expected to go away.”
To track and expose former ACORN leaders and the various reincarnations of ACORN, Keene and the ACU recently launched the ACU ACORN Action Center.
Anita MonCrief, a former ACORN employee who blew the whistle on illegal activity within the organization, has joined ACU on the project. Like Keene, MonCrief thinks it’s “business as usual for ACORN.”
“The voter registration arm of ACORN – Project Vote – is not going anywhere,” she said. “It will still be doing the same things it’s been doing since its inception in 1982.”
In 2007, ACORN registered 1.4 million people to vote. As it turned out, MonCrief said, half of those were either duplicate or fraudulent registrations. Since 2000, the organization has registered 6 million voters – the margin of victory for President Obama. All of those registrations were to support the Democratic Party.
Today, former ACORN activists work for organizations with different names – for example, “Communities Voting Together” or “America Votes” – but they’re still not above cheap tricks, MonCrief said.
“If we’re going to stop them, it’s going to take a massive effort,” she said.
That’s why the ACU ACORN Action Center site features photos and descriptions of former ACORN leaders, videos, an in-depth fact sheet and the Action Desk contact information so site visitors can deliver reports of suspicious activity to ACU.
Keene and MonCrief said they hope the site will serve as a clearinghouse for information about any irregular and illegal elections activity. That includes any actions intended to intimidate or keep eligible voters from casting their ballots.
Keene and MonCrief are realistic. They know a perfectly fair election is unlikely. But they said citizens have to at least try.
“We can’t stop all of it, but we can stop a lot of it,” Keene said. “And if we stop a lot of it, we can keep them from stealing the November elections – and that would be a real-world accomplishment for us and for the country.”