ACORN, a group with a track record of submitting fraudulent voter registration forms, says it is unjust to enact voter identification laws until it is proven that “voter impersonation fraud” is happening.
The Association of Community Organization for Reform Now (ACORN) submitted an amicus brief, also called a “friend of the court” document, to the Supreme Court on November 13 in opposition to Indiana’s new voter identification laws.
ACORN’s amicus brief disputes the existence of “voter impersonation fraud” in which a person would assume someone else’s identity in order to vote, but not “voter registration fraud” which ACORN employees have been found guilty of several times.
“In no instance has it been demonstrated that an incorrect registration form resulted in a vote being cast by someone impersonating a voter, or even was intended to make possible,” ACORN’s amicus brief states.
The Supreme Court is scheduled to settle disputes over the legality of voter identification laws when it hears Crawford v. Marion County Election Board in January.
“Voter ID law cannot be justified on the basis of the Indiana legislature’s empirical guess that voter impersonation fraud exists” ACORN says.
During the 2004 election cycle, news outlets across the country reported suspicious activity conducted by ACORN employees that aimed to increase the number of Democratic voter registration cards and suppress Republican ones. ACORN conducts voter registration activities through a sister organization, called Project Vote, which seeks to maximize voter turnout in low-income and minority communities.
At least two former Florida-based ACORN employees accused the group of illegal practices. Former Miami field operative Mac Stuart claimed that ACORN failed to deliver registration cards that were marked “Republican,” accepted applications from felons, and falsified information. Former ACORN consultant Joe Johnson told the St. Petersburg Times two weeks before the 2004 election that he quit working with the group because he was concerned ACORN was not turning in complete voter cards.
In Minnesota, an ACORN employee named Josh Reed was charged with a felony when voter registration cards were found in the trunk of his car after police stopped him for running stop sign. Similarly, voter registration forms were found in Albuquerque, New Mexico during a drug investigation targeted at an ACORN employee.
Most recklessly, Ohio-based ACORN employees registered a known illegal alien terrorist, Nuradin Abdi, who had plotted to detonate a Columbus mall.
In October 2007, three ACORN employees pled guilty to filing more than 1,800 fictitious voter registration cards.
ACORN President Maude Hurd wrote in an August 2007 letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal, a paper that had criticized ACORN’s methods in their opinion pages, that ACORN employees guilty of faking registration cards were not motivated by politics, but money. ACORN employees usually receive a baseline hourly pay with an added bonus based on the number of completed registration cards. For example, Colorado-based ACORN employees were paid $8 per hour with a bonus of $1 more per hour for those who registered five or more new voters.
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) introduced a Senate non-binding Senate resolution against voter identification laws in September 2005. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D.-N.Y.) and Sen. Chris Dodd (D.Conn.) are co-sponsors of the measure.
Other civil rights organizations have submitted amicus briefs to oppose the laws; for example, the NAACP likens it to a modern-day “poll tax” because of the costs associated with obtaining photo identification cards. The Congressional Black Caucus filed a brief that expressed similar sentiments.