People For the American Way President Kathryn Kolbert's Remarks on 2008 Election Integrity

People For is extremely concerned with the fairness of our elections. That's why we are a founding member of the Election Protection coalition. And that's why we're extremely concerned about the Right Wing's diversionary and desperate political attacks on ACORN. This ploy is designed to intimidate voters, cast doubt on the integrity of the elections, and make it harder for certain people to cast a ballot in the November election.

Unfortunately, this isn't the first time we've seen such tactics. They arise year after year, and, unsurprisingly, they increase during the Presidential Elections. There's more passion and interest surrounding this election than any in recent memory. And the intensity of the attacks has risen in kind.

On Election Day we'll certainly see some voting issues, but not the ones that the Right Wing is talking about. We'll see the organized voter disenfranchisement that the conservative movement has been deliberately planning for years. In fact, we're seeing it already.

  • 25 states have enacted voter ID requirements that end up disenfranchising 90-year old nuns, who — like 10% of the population — don't have driver's licenses
  • Other states have put in place so-called "ballot security" efforts aimed at knocking voters off the rolls, such as the recent efforts in Michigan to use home foreclosures to target voters
  • We've seen challenges to the legal rights of students to register in the location where they are going to school
  • Most recently, the New York Times reported on the illegal voter roll purges going on in a number of battleground states and disenfranchising tens of thousands of voters
  • And, in virtually every national election, we've seen flyers and robocalls spreading false information and threats to Hispanic and African-American communities. We fully expect to see those again.

It's no wonder that the right wing is attacking ACORN. ACORN works hard to register minorities and young people — exactly the same people whose votes the right wing has undertaken a decades long effort to suppress.

If we're talking about election abuses, then these are the real issues we need to focus on. But those who are stirring the "voter fraud" pot don't want to talk about voter suppression and intimidation. They want to use the code word of "voter fraud" as cover for their real objective of voter suppression. It's a sad day when a campaign's success strategy is dependent upon keeping voters away from the polls.

If the right wing wants to talk about voting integrity, we welcome the conversation — but they should be ready to disavow the organized effort that they have made to subvert the democratic process and undermine this election.

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