Yesterday, ABC News published an article on the various election-related controversies brewing in Lake County, IN. Unlike the awful CNN segment we debunked yesterday, ABC included the battle over early voting sites in their report and did a decent job of explaining the ...
Yesterday, ABC News published an article on the various election-related controversies brewing in Lake County, IN. Unlike the awful CNN segment we debunked yesterday, ABC included the battle over early voting sites in their report and did a decent job of explaining the issues at play. However, the second half of the piece was devoted to questions surrounding faulty voter registration forms submitted to the county board of elections by the group ACORN. And like CNN, ABC failed to include two integral bits of context: 1) according to ACORN, they are required by Indiana law to submit all registration forms they receive, and 2) before submitting those problematic forms, the organization itself flagged them as incomplete or "suspicious." This context matters because it undercuts the suggestion from those on the right that ACORN was attempting to dupe election officials into believing the registrations were legitimate.
Furthermore, ABC -- like so many of the news outlets covering this story -- never makes the crucial distinction between registration fraud and voter fraud. The American Prospect's Adam Serwer explains:
As I've said before, the former is really easy to do, even by accident, and the latter is extremely difficult and rarely occurs. The sheer volume of ACORN registration forms found in Indiana suggests the forms were deliberately filled out wrong, but they do not in any sense prove that there is a widespread liberal conspiracy to steal the election. More likely, ACORN workers were stealing time and trying to get paid without actually doing their jobs. Given how easily the forms were discovered, it would have to be the most inept scheme in the history of the United States.
The article's subheadline read: "Democrats, Republicans Set to Spar in Federal Court Over Early Voting, Voter Fraud Claims." Meanwhile, the section of the report devoted to the ACORN issue was titled "Voter Fraud." And this terminology pervaded the report itself [emphasis added]:
Republicans say they believe the [early voting] hearing camouflages the real problem: voter fraud. [...]
[Lake Co. GOP chairman John] Curley believes the federal litigation distracts from the issue of voter fraud that has plagued his county before.
He points to hundreds of voter registration forms that have arrived in the mail, which he claims are "mostly fraudulent."
One application was delivered in August and signed by a Jimmy Johns of 10839 Broadway. The application is signed and dated, but calls to the phone number listed on the application reveal that it is for a Jimmy Johns restaurant in Crown Point.
Oh, and that Jimmy Johns registration -- it was flagged as suspicious by ACORN before arriving at the board of elections. But you wouldn't know that from this report.