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From Kersten to ACORN to Franken to no evidence whatsoever

My friend and former colleague Katherine Kersten connected a few non-existing dots in a Sunday Strib column to imply that the demonic ACORN may have stolen the 2008 MN Sen. election for Al Franken. She offers precisely zero particles of evidence that any improper act by ACORN resulted a single improper vote for Franken being counted, or even rejected. Of course, she didn't say that such a thing occurs, she merely puts together facts from other states, the current ACORN embarrassments in other states, notes that ACORN was active in voter registration in Minnesota, that ACORN supported both Franken and Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, and concludes with a question:

"Did ACORN folks pull some fast ones to help get their favorite son Franken elected — a win that handed Democrats the 60-vote, veto-proof majority that they needed to enact their liberal agenda?"

She does not note, as basic fairness might have required, that despite the enormous scrutiny given to the Minnesota election, neither Norm Coleman nor any of his attorneys ever alleged that such a thing had occurred and in fact specified to the Supreme Court that it was making no allegation of fraud in the election.

As I've written before, the lack of any evidence of fraud, or even attempted fraud, in this excruciatingly close, highly scrutinized election is something of which Minnesota should be proud.

Media Matters, the lefty media watch group, takes Kersten's piece to task and notes several others who picked up on it.

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Comments (29)

Dog bites man.

Kersten writes a column devoid of facts?

I'm shocked, SHOCKED, I tell you!

A "fact-free" rant, from Katherine Kersten....hmmm....hmmm.... why would she do that?

Perhaps it's because these days, GOP now stands for GreedOverPrinciples?

And, perhaps, it's setting the table for a Norm Coleman run for governor, under the "Normie wuz ROBBED!!!" meme?

Of course, both are distinct posibilities....

It's true that no evidence of the fraud found in a dozen other states was detected in Minnesota; but then again, our SOS declined to look.

If ACORN did it's thing in Minnesota last election, it's a moot point now anyway.

The election is over; Senator asterisk is seated; ACORN is thoroughly disgraced and won't be part of any more elections.

Call it whatever you want, community organizing and voter registration will continue. Except for a few admitted mistakes and the two clueless twits out east, ACORN has brought government to the poor and disenfranchised. Another group, with another name, will crop up. It will learn from the previous mistakes, and carry the torch forward. There is NO stopping it. There is no evidence of wrong doing because there was no wrong doing. Why do conservatives feel if the poor are allowed to vote, that will be bad? Oh, because the conservatives favor a system that screws the poor and riles them up with emotional issues such as God, guns and gays.

"Another group, with another name, will crop up. It will learn from the previous mistakes, and carry the torch forward."

You're right Jeremy. The folks that support corrupt leftist groups like ACORN have not gone away, and they will pick up right where ACORN left off.

The price of Democracy and Freedom in our new Hopey/Changey™ world is perpetual vigilance.

I'm on the fence on this one.

From the Albany Times-Union

It looks like absentee ballots were the main vehicle for the Working Families Party voter drive. Absentee ballots were center stage during the recount, pushed largely by the Franken campaign.

...and it looks like the Working Families Party is closely related to ACORN...

It all just seems a bit fishy...

Why does anyone with even two synapses firing bother to read Kersten? She has consistently demonstrated her incapacity for fact-based or rational thought. Her pathetic attempts at turning pocket gopher mounds into mountains would be laughable if they weren't so useless and sad.

She attempts to present her unsupported and unsupportable rumors and innuendos as some conservative brand of investigative journalism but is nothing more nor less than the STRIB's resident conservative political gossip columnist - a latter day Hedda Hopper aimed not at Hollywood, but at the judgmental, nasty, tongue wagging, tongue clicking crowd that passes for the GOP these days.

some posters ....

Senator asterisk? Please.

It all seems a bit fishy? Did you follow the election coverage, the election contest coverage, the appeal to the Supreme Court? Minnpost provided excellent information among many quality sources you could have tried.

You not recognize the legitimacy of Minnesota electoral processes, including reviews by the highest court in our state?

You not believe Republican candidate Coleman, who did not allege any election fraud took place when he appealed the election results? You not believe the politically balanced Minnesota Supreme Court, who declared the election fair, and Mr. Franken the winner?

If you don't trust the election under those conditions, don't tell me you trust them when your preferred candidates win either.

Mr. Black:
Sort of strange you take to task a polemicist for being polemical. Saying Kersten was unfair in that she didn't make the case for the other side of the argument is kind of like saying Joe Mauer sure tagged that guy awfully hard at home plate.
That sort of unfairness in N. Coleman doesn't appear to bother you.
Kersten's job is to make an argument, not to make sure all the kiddies got an equal size cookie.
All she does is marshal several incontrovertible facts about ACORN's malfeasance in exactly the sort of electioneering situation that surrounds ACORN's work in Minnesota. Then Kersten wonders if some of same hi-jinks, (shall we call it) went on here.
Wow, what a crime for a columnist: provoking argument and thought, raising questions.
It's passing strange, too, that you so far have spent your time bashing her, rather than wondering the same thing yourself and doing some reporting.
Seems sort of an easy call for journalists. Don't you call it localizing a story?
ACORN is in full meltdown, facing credible accusations of voter fraud all around the nation, not to mention facilitating child porn and prostitution.(What, maybe ACORNS all are great artists?) Minnesota just had an historically close Senate election. ACORN was actively involved in getting out votes for Franken.
Seems like a veteran journalist on the scene, who already has worked the story much, would sort of roll out of bed in the morning, scratch himself, read the papers, watch the news and wonder: hmmm, wonder if ACORN did anything fishy in Minnesota in the Senate election?
Why such a lack of curiousity, Mr. Black?
Your cheap "no evidence of any wrongdoing," is sort of begging the question, isn't it? Why don't you go find out if there's any evidence?
It's like saying, "Well, just cuz Al Capone spent several weekends in St. Paul every year, there's no reason to think he did anything wrong there, just cuz of that unpleasantness in Chicago."
Your complaint about Kersten sounds sort of Caponish: "Yah ain't got nuthin' on me, coppers!!"
So what's your reporting mantra? "Until someone comes and drops proof on my doorstep, I'm not pursuing that story."
Why don't you check it out, Mr. Black?
It would take a little more work, I grant you, than taking a weirdly inappropriate polemic shot at a polemicist.
Maybe it would have been only fair for Mencken to point out the positive points of boobs and yahoos, too. Right?
Seems to me Kersten laid down a pretty good assignment for some intrepid reporter, someone who, say, posts from Minn.

Mr. McConnell, interesting facts you've got there. In that particular district the WFP has historically been hijacked by Republican dirty tricksters trying to keep the WFP from doing what they usually do: listing the Democratic candidate on their ballot line (much as the NY Conservative party often does with Republican candidates, something you can only do in NY so far as I know).

TPM Muckraker some very interesting background on what's going on in Troy, NY:

Somehow ACORN doesn't seem to enter into the equation in Troy, and in fact they aren't even mentioned in the article you linked to.

Mr. Gisleson, interesting speculation you have there... the WFP was linked to ACORN by the video I linked to showing the now famous ACORN CEO Bertha Lewis talking up the WFP in front of a WFP banner.

But of course its those smarmy Republicans that have hijacked the local WFP party... of course that has to be the case, confirmation bias anyone?

"My friend and former colleague Katherine Kersten connected a few non-existing dots...."

Eric -- you're not implying that KK is dotty, are you? ;-)

The rally amazing thing about the Republican claim no one will look to see if there's evidence of voting fraud, by ACORN or anyone else, like Mr. Swift saying, 'but then again, our SOS declined to look," isn't just that no election in US history has been scrutinized more than our senate election. It's also that the Bush administration threw the full weight of the DOJ into seeking voting fraud, and found so little that, assuming all the fraud they found in the whole country over eight years was consolidated in one election, it wouldn't change many small town local elections.

One would think that would be pretty definitive proof voter fraud is barely beyond imaginary, but maybe then Republicans would have to admit they just lost. Maybe it's more comforting to think ACORN is a powerful conspiracy able to steal elections at a whim.

What you're missing here is the fact that Kersten spewed this garbage for almost TWO DECADES at the Strib. She is not a columnist, nor a reporter. She is and always has been a Movement Conservative, underwritten by conservative philanthropy. The horror of the Strib is 1) They gave her a columnist job for 10 years (while the publisher of this site, Joel Kramer, was publisher), then, even worse 2) Made here a NEWS columnist, even though she had never been a reporter in her life. When they still had an ombudsman there I called and asked why she was given a job as a news columnist when she had never been a reporter, and that person just lied right to me, insisting she had had jobs in journalism.

FYI: After an exhaustive investigation, taking at least 4.5 seconds on Google, "voter fraud" and acorn, edited for length:
2008 Election officials in Indiana have thrown out more than 4,000 ACORN-submitted voter registrations after finding they had identical handwriting and included the names of many deceased Indianans, and even the name of a fast food restaurant.
MI 2008 Clerks in Detroit found a "sizeable number of duplicate and fraudulent [voter] applications" from the Michigan branch of ACORN. Those applications have been turned over to the U.S. Attorney's office for investigation.
MO 2008 Nearly 400 ACORN-submitted registrations in Kansas City have been rejected due to duplication or fake information.
2007 Four ACORN employees were indicted in Kansas City for charges including identity theft and filing false registrations during the 2006 election.
2006 Eight ACORN employees in St. Louis were indicted on federal election fraud charges. Each of the eight faces up to five years in prison for forging signatures and submitting false information.
2003 Of 5,379 voter registration cards ACORN submitted in St. Louis, only 2,013 of those appeared to be valid. At least 1,000 are believed to be attempts to register voters illegally.
NC 2008 County elections officials have sent suspicious voter registration applications to the state Board of Elections. Many of the applications had similar or identical names, but with different addresses or dates of birth.
2004 North Carolina officials investigated ACORN for submitting fake voter registration cards.
NM 2008 Prosecutors are investigating more than 1,100 ACORN-submitted voter registration cards after a county clerk found them to be fraudulent. 2005 Four ACORN employees submitted as many as 3,000 potentially fraudulent signatures on the group’s Albuquerque ballot initiative. A local sheriff added: “It’s safe to say the forgery was widespread.”
NV 2009 Nevada authorities indicted ACORN on 26 counts of voter registration fraud and 13 counts of illegally compensating canvassers.
2008 Nevada state authorities raided ACORN's Las Vegas headquarters as part of a task force investigation of election fraud.
OH 2008 ACORN activists gave Ohio residents cash and cigarettes in exchange for filling out voter registration card, according to the New York Post. Some voters claim to have registered dozens of times, and one man says he signed up on 72 cards.
2004 A grand jury indicted a Columbus ACORN worker for submitting a false signature and false voter registration form.
PA 2009 Seven ACORN workers in the Pittsburgh area were indicted for submitting falsified voter registration forms.
2008 State election officials have thrown out 57,435 voter registrations, the majority of which were submitted by ACORN. The registrations were thrown out after officials found "clearly fraudulent" signatures, vacant lots listed as addresses, and other signs of fraud.
2008 An ACORN employee in West Reading, PA, was sentenced to up to 23 months in prison for identity theft and tampering with records.
TX 2008 In Harris County, nearly 10,000 ACORN-submitted registrations were found to be invalid, including many with clearly fraudulent addresses or other personal information.
VA 2005 In 2005, the Virginia State Board of Elections admonished Project Vote and ACORN for turning in a significant number of faulty voter registrations. An audit revealed that 83% of sampled registrations that were rejected for carrying false or questionable information were submitted by Project Vote.
WA 2007 Three ACORN employees pleaded guilty, and four more were charged, in the worst case of voter registration fraud in Washington state history.
WI 2008 At least 33,000 ACORN-submitted registrations in Milwaukee have been called into question after it was found that the organizations had been using felons as registration workers, in violation of state election rules. Two people involved in the ongoing Wisconsin voter fraud investigation have been charged with felonies.

Hey Timmy, look what I found in my "research":

Yesterday's MLB scores
-Cleveland won
-White Sox won
-KC won
-TB won
-Toronto won
-Angels won
-Seattle won

Therefore the Twins must have won....woo hoo only a game out of first!!!

By law, Acorn had to turn in to election officials every voter registration card -- including those that some of their employees knew were phony. The employees were paid by the piece and were seeking extra income, which is stupid, and were fired by Acorn and reported to the cops.

Why did our Kathryn write a column against Acorn? Because the right wing hates an organization that registers poor people and people of color to vote. These newly registered voters do not generally vote for Republicans; therefore the Right must kill Acorn.

Let's hope a BUNCH of organizations, including Acorn, continue to foster democracy by doing this valuable work.

Mr. Johnson, I'm wondering if you are aware of the difference between voter registration fraud, and actual voting fraud. Or are you just being disingenuous? Because, as it turns out, voter registration fraud of the type you exhaustively listed happens all the time, and not just because of Acorn. People often end up filling out or refiling registration forms in various incorrect or illegal ways, and all by accident. As for the actual number of illegally cast votes that result from these activities? As other posters have pointed out, it is almost entirely negligible.

Oh, OK. It happens all the time.
Glad to get that cleared up.
Guess there's nothing to worry about then.
Sorry I mentioned it.
Carry on, all.
Mum's the word.
That drunk driving phobia, too.
Don't worry about it so much.
Remember, 98 percent of all cases of drunk driving result in negligable traffic incidents, or none at all.
Your logic is impenetrable.

Roman Polanski: "It happens all the time. Get off my back."

Come to think of it, those ACORN videos do sort of have the feel of a Polanski film, no?

For as long as I can remember, a favorite technique of dems to swing a vote has been to register and sometimes vote for, by absentee ballot, people who don't exist or are otherwise ineligible to vote.

In Chicago, they even put the address of the cemetery on the names of deceased voters. In Minnesota, a similar effect can be achieved by simply neglecting to remove from the lists persons who have died since the last election, allowing cheaters to just check the lists and vote for the deceased.

The repubs, on the other hand, have tried to make voting places hard to get to, have made registration unduly difficult for certain groups known to likely favor the dems, and in other ways discourage voting in areas not favorable to them.

Each side protests its presumed innocence by demanding "proof" after doing all it can to hide the smoking gun facts. "We lost the ballots for which we have no paper." "We forgot to mark the duplicates." "We did not check for current registration or valid witnesses as required - it would have been too much work." "We applied the laws strictly." And so on.

Even in our metro area, stories -- without "proof" -- are told about each side doing its thing. But for those of us with the benefit of long years of experience, we know these things go on here as elsewhere.

If we assume human nature is pretty constant, and that if cheating can occur someone will figure out how to do it, whether for oneself or for the sake of the cause, we should not be surprised.

The thing is to keep it at a low enough level that it usually will not swing an election, an effort that becomes more difficult the more politically lopsided an area is. This works unless the vote turns out so close that a few votes can swing it.

No-one I know claims that Franken got more legitimate votes CAST, only legitimate or illegitimate votes COUNTED in a drawn out contest where one side made more legal mistakes than the other. Why? because in the fog of war only God knows the actual facts. In the legal proceedings that followed the election, process, as is common in the legal system, was served. Whether justice was served no-one can say for sure.

For those who have come to terms with the flaws of humanity, and perhaps imbibed a bit of cynicism along the way, the comment here might be: "So they may have stolen it? Chin up. Your turn next time."

There are some folks here that if you handed them a banana and said that it was "Yellow", they would strongly disagree and call that banana "white black and brown"...

With regard to ACORN; those on here who even when presented with recorded video evidence of guilt by ACORN members; would still insist they are blameless and faultless??? All I have to say is; WOW. I hope you aren't sitting on someones Jury right now. WOW. When the Feds get through rifling through all the organizations bookwork, I bet we might find some interesting paper trails. Indeed.

Spot on, Jeff.

For many of today's leftists, most actually, there is no "right and wrong". We see it on continuous display, right here, every day.

MinnPost's non-stop coverage of all things Michele Bachmann today features her discussing the possibility that ObamaCare will include abortion services for public school kids.

I pointed out that they already dispense contraceptives of all types right in the schools, for which I was mocked.

After I provided links proving my assertion, the usual suspects, without pause, went into "well, yeah, but" mode.

In my opinion, there really never has been a bigger divide between left and right...we can't even agree on what constitutes decent human behavior anymore.

Thomas, nobody mocked you for claiming some public schools dispense contraceptives.

Nobody even denied that fact.

They disputed your claim that the school clinics provided abortions, which is exactly what you did when you suggested that the clinics might be supplying mifepristone. Your link contains nothing that supports that claim.

I actually agree with Thomas on something, "In my opinion, there really never has been a bigger divide between left and right...we can't even agree on what constitutes decent human behavior anymore." I'll nitpick and say there have been times in US history when divides might have been bigger. It would take a more thorough look to know. But in my adult lifetime, the divide has never been like this, even on some things like what constitutes decent behavior.

It certainly seems rare for any political debate to be about how to interpret a common set of facts or how to address an agreed upon problem. Instead almost all debate is over what the basic facts are, even when they seem easily proved or disproved, and this thread is certainly an example.

Apparently the reasoning of the right goes something like this:

Some individual public schools make birth control indirectly available to their students, which is approved on a school-by-school basis by the parents of the students; therefore, Acorn stole the election for Franken.

It all makes sense now.

Thomas and Eric,

While not having done exhaustive historical research but nevertheless having done extensive research on the matter of how to interpret a common set of facts, it seems to me that:

>At the time of the Revolutionary War it was often a flip of the coin as to whether the Loyalists or the Revolutionaries held sway in the colonies.

>At the time of the voting to accept the Constitution the divide was at least equally as wide -- we often forget how close the vote was;

>At the time of the Civil War, in the North, opinion was so divided that until Grant gave him a victory Lincoln expected to lose his bid for re-election.

>At the time of World War I Wilson's decision to enter the war was extremely hotly debated by a divided public.

>Prior to our entry into World War II, it would have been political suicide for FDR to declare for war, and he knew it. Only Pearl Harbor gave him the freedom to enter the war two full years after Hitler invaded Poland, and some have even claimed he knew beforehand of the attack and let it happen in order to go there.

>Those who remember the nationwide tension over the civil rights issues of the 1960's and over our involvement in VietNam would likely agree that we have experienced periods of like political division before.

I take comfort that this period of stress in our society will pass, as have others before it, and a new, altered, consensus will emerge.

I have no clue what it will look like, and how long it will last, but I am confident that we as a society will emerge stronger than ever, current fears of imminent breakup or catastrophe notwithstanding.

I wish someone on the conservative side would spend their energy investigating how Wall Street accountants and lawyers gave financial advice that almost destroyed the world's economy. I know that this does not compare the the impact of the ACORN staffers advice, who were most certainly MBAs and CPAs, to the fake prostitute and pimp.

And instead of registering voters, these same Wall Street types were making huge donations to politicians election campaigns. We all know that these contributions have no impact on the elections. These are the same folks who think corporations are people and that money is speech.

If they would pay attention to what matters, their rantings would deserve notice.