Nick Juliano - October 14, 2008
Barack Obama's campaign is pushing back at what's been a concerted effort from John McCain, the Republican Party and conservative media outlets to drum up outraged accusations of voter fraud on the part of an independent organization that has been spearheading efforts to register low-income voters.
Obama campaign manager David Plouffe accused the GOP of trumping up claims of voter registration fraud to create a "smokescreen" aimed at hiding the party's own concerted efforts to intimidate voters and suppress turnout.
"What they're doing right now is a form of intimidation," Plouffe told reporters on a conference call Tuesday. He was referring to the repeated smears and legal challenges Republican operatives and the McCain campaign were hurling at the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, saying their goal was to keep legitimate voters registered by ACORN away from the polls.
The Obama campaign has never relied on ACORN workers to register voters, despite GOP accusations to the contrary, Plouffe said, although he did acknowledge the campaign paid an affiliate of the organization to canvass voters earlier in the election cycle. The campaign has also conducted its own in-house registration drive.
[...] The GOP accusations rest on reports of fake or duplicate names being used on voter registration forms. What they don't say is that there's virtually no evidence of faulty registrations essentially leading to fraudulent votes being cast.
[...] Josh Marshall says the GOP's complaints are part of a broader effort of disenfranchisement.
The level of lying, bad faith or at best ignorance of the people making these claims is really beyond imagining. This isn't vote fraud. There's no evidence of vote fraud. Nothing. This is an effort of a losing political party to a) lay the groundwork for challenging their defeat at the polls b) lay the groundwork to pass laws to make it harder for poor people and minorities to vote.
On the conference call, Obama campaign lawyer Bob Bauer called the Republican efforts "fairly shameful," citing reports of caging schemes and attempts to disqualify voters in Montana, Michigan, Ohio and other states.
Bauer went on to point out McCain's own connection to ACORN, speaking to a benefit sponsored by the group two years ago, and accused the Republican candidate of smearing the group because he lacks any other campaign strategy.
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