2008-10-17 / Editorial/Opinion

Registering 250 People To Vote - Or Registering One Person 250 Times

We have heard of people in Rockaway achieving a Herculean task, registering hundreds of local people to vote in the upcoming election. We applaud a person who can register 250 or 300 new voters, as long as they are new voters and are qualified to vote. We applaud any person who sees his or her civic duty and gets to the polling place on time on November 4. There have been allegations, however, that community organizers, not in Rockaway, have been paying people to register under fraudulent names in order to get more voters, particularly minority voters for the Democratic ticket. That, we do not like. In fact, there is nothing that kills democracy quicker than voter fraud and "cooking" an election by packing the election with fraudulent voters. And, while none of those allegations have yet touched Rockaway, there have been reports of individuals registering hundreds of new voters in this area where a community action group, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, better known by the acronym ACORN, has been active. ACORN, in fact, has been charged in several states with cooking the voter registration process. Rockaway has been impacted by ACORN in the past, in terms of affordable housing and its push for loans for homeowners who had little qualifications to get a mortgage. The organization has also led a campaign against local schools that goes back more than 15 years. ACORN is not a friend of democracy. It has been charged with recent voter frauds in several states, including Connecticut (where it registered a seven-year-old to vote) and Ohio (where it allegedly paid a young man in cash and cigarettes to register 72 times, under names and addresses provided by the organization). Records show that the Democratic Party hired ACORN to register new voters. That is not the way to do it. We urge the Board of Elections to check the new registrations that have come in over the past few weeks from Rockaway and other nearby areas. We want everybody to vote, and we want every vote to count. What we don't want is somebody stealing the election through voter fraud, and it looks like that is what ACORN and other groups are attempting to do.

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