Home | Features | Politics | In Montana

In Montana

Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font

Despite mischaracterization of ACORN, it's Republicans behind most attempts at vote suppression

Of all the states in America, it was Montana alone that dramatically, quickly and effectively killed efforts to inappropriately challenge the right of we Montanans to vote. In early October the state’s Republican Party challenged the voter registrations of many thousands of Montanans who reside in historically Democratic counties. Montanans immediately objected and a federal district judge quickly blasted the vote suppression effort by labeling it “…a tawdry political ploy.”

Such shenanigans went on quietly in state after state. The United States Supreme Court recently stopped a similar Republican effort designed to prevent same-day registration. In Ohio alone there are eight court challenges to efforts to suppress voter turnout. At least ten other states were in court prior to the election trying to resolve similar challenges to people’s right to vote, including Colorado where 16 percent of newly registered individuals will have their right to vote questioned at their polling place. That vote suppression effort is being abetted by Colorado’s Republican Secretary of State.

In that time of long-awaited renewal of political advocacy, record-breaking voter registrants and what was believed would be the highest voter turnout in many decades, sinister forces were at work to once again complicate our ease of voting, jigger the results, and render the election outcome as inconclusive. It is organized fraud, and the brutal truth is that almost every single effort to stifle our voting privileges is coming from the political right.

But... what about the supposed scandals that surround the community-based voter registration group Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), which is generally considered as a group on the left? Frankly, the spotlight that has been focused on ACORN is a head fake by national Republican operatives who want to divert attention from their own actions. Accusations against ACORN surfaced a few weeks ago and were fed to the press by Republicans. Those charges, although covered daily by television news, were actually confined to one small area in northwest Indiana.

In fact, almost every one of the faulty, unintentional registrations gathered by ACORN’s part-time staff were exposed by the organization itself. Indiana, as other states, requires each new voter registration form be submitted to the proper authorities—usually the County Clerk and Recorder. ACORN has always followed its own careful protocol of reviewing each of the registration cards prior to submitting them. It was in that process that ACORN discovered and identified as fraudulent thousands of its own registration cards. In other words, ACORN, as it has always done, labeled the bad applications prior to submitting them as required by law. ACORN blew the whistle on itself. It is ACORN, not the public being defrauded. ACORN paid for each and every registration, assuming none would be fraudulent.

One of our greatest freedoms is our right to vote, and we should guard it with vigilance.

Subscribe to comments feed Comments (0 posted)

total: | displaying:

Post your comment

  • Bold
  • Italic
  • Underline
  • Quote

Please enter the code you see in the image:

  • Email to a friend Email to a friend
  • Print version Print version
  • Plain text Plain text

Author info

Rep. Pat Williams Rep. Pat Williams served nine terms as a U.S. Representative from Montana. After his retirement, he returned to Montana and is teaching at the University of Montana where he also serves as a Senior Fellow at the Center for the Rocky Mountain West and is Northern Director of Western Progress.

Tagged as:

No tags for this article

Rate this article