Monday, October 27, 2008

ACORN: 1.3 Million New Voters?

Y'know, when people are watching everything that you say, you really need to get your facts straight.

I've seen Bertha Lewis on several news programs bragging that ACORN has registered 1.3 million new voters. Those are the words she used: "1.3 million new voters."

Here's the problem, though. When you're registering people to vote, of course you're looking for that person who has never been registered before. Those folks are like gold. But a lot of the time, you're also going to find people who have moved and forgot to change over their registration. You'll find people who might want to become permanent absentee voters (like in Washington State). So what do you do? You hand them the registration form. You turn it in. And it gets counted as a voter registration, even if it's not a brand-new voter.

Bertha Lewis is making a simple, but critical, mistake. She has been telling people over and over that they registered over a million new voters. Wrong. ACORN turned in 1.3 million voter registration forms.

30% of them - about 400.000 - were rejected by officials, which leaves 900,000. So they registered 900,000 new voters?

Well, no. About half were actually changes in address. That leaves only 400,000 new voters. Sadly, they collected as many bad registrations as they did legitimate registrations.

Never a good idea to get your facts wrong when you're in the national spotlight, especially when you're getting your facts wrong on the very issue - voter registration - for which you're being vilified . 400,000 new voters is an impressive number, but it sounds a lot less impressive than 1.3 million.

And before this post gets picked up by the ACORN haters, so let me state this for the umpty-millionth time: I don't agree with the people attacking ACORN right now. I don't believe in any way that ACORN is organizing some sort of systematic voter fraud.

But I do think that they're a target right now, and when you're being targeted, it is imperative that you don't say a word in public that you're not able to back up. The more mistakes they make in their public statements, the more that haters will be able to say that everything ACORN does is fraudulent. When they're shooting at you, do not give them ammunition!

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