Wednesday, October 29, 2008

ACORN ad targets GOP voter suppression

The voter-rights group ACORN has a new advertisement accusing John McCain and Republicans of pursuing voter intimidation tactics aimed at keeping African American voters away from the polls.

Republicans have made attacking ACORN a focus of their talking points in recent days, accusing the group of perpetrating voter fraud and highlight examples of incorrect voter registration forms the group had gathered. In a new ad the group says will air on cable, it says the tactics will not work.

“Senator McCain needs to instruct his operatives and supporters to cease and desist. Nothing is more important to the fabric of our democracy than protecting the rights of American voters," said Steve Kest, Executive Director of ACORN. "Senator McCain should instead join us in trying to make it easier for voters to exercise their rights, by calling for measures such as extending early voting hours, to facilitate the greatest possible participation in this historic election."

The ad features a photo of a young black man morphing into an older face.

"It happened to him in 1960, in 1965 and again in 2000. He was intimidated so he wouldn’t vote," a narrator says. "This year, they’re at it again."

The group also has filed two lawsuits in New Mexico, charging local Republicans with attempting to intimidate legitimate voters, the group said in a press release, which highlighted allegations from across the country.

The Republican Party and its operatives have employed an astonishing variety of voter suppression and intimidation strategies in recent weeks:

· In Philadelphia, fliers were distributed in a predominantly African American neighborhood which suggested that people with legal troubles or unpaid traffic violations will be arrested by undercover cops when they show up to vote.

· In Hamilton County, Ohio, Prosecutor Joe Deters – who is also the local chair of the McCain-Palin campaign – requested via subpoena personal information for 40% of voters who participated in same-day registration.

· In California, a joint committee of the McCain-Palin campaign, the RNC and the California Republican Party, hired Lincoln Strategy in June for the purpose of ‘registering voters.’ The managing partner of Lincoln Strategy, Nathan Sproul, is a renowned GOP operative who has been investigated on multiple occasions for trying to suppress Democratic voter turnout.

· In Montgomery County, Virginia, a registrar issued a memo giving incorrect and intimidating information to students at Virginia Tech University about the consequences of registering to vote, including possible loss of financial aid and tax dependence status.

· In Ontario, California, the owner of a firm that the California Republican Party hired to register tens of thousands of voters was arrested on suspicion of voter registration fraud after dozens of voters reported that the firm tricked them into registering with the GOP by asking them to sign a petition they believed to be aimed at toughening penalties against child molesters.

The Republican National Committee dismissed the accusations, accusing ACORN of being a "quasi-criminal organization," according to the New York Times.

“Acorn’s most recent charges of voter suppression seem to be yet another attempt by this questionable organization to waste valuable taxpayer money and cloud their own record of voter registration fraud,” Mr. Cairncross said. “Just as a losing Kerry campaign election manual in 2004 urged activists to lodge a ‘pre-emptive strike’ claiming voter intimidation regardless of validity, Acorn is taking a page straight from the Democrats’ playbook.”

The group's 30-second ad was posted on YouTube in advance of its national television buy.

No comments: