PI Original Angela Caputo Thursday October 16th, 2008, 2:09pm

GOP Warns Of More ACORN Problems ... In Illinois?

It appears that the GOP believe so strongly in their false claims
that the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN)
is out to commit "election fraud" that they're now issuing warnings in
places where the group isn't even registering voters...

It appears that the GOP believe so strongly in their false claims that the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) is out to commit "election fraud" that they're now issuing warnings in places where the group isn't even registering voters.

Illinois GOP attorney Brien Sheahan sent a letter to Chicago-area election officials yesterday cautioning them to be on the lookout for the activities of "so-called community groups" such as ACORN.

But according to officials in two of the state's largest election authorities -- Chicago and Cook County -- it's been years since ACORN registered voters in the area. In fact, ACORN headquarters told us that the group hasn't participated in voter registration drives anywhere in Illinois during the 2008 election season.

With ACORN adding a record number of voters to the rolls in swing states this fall, it's no wonder the GOP is fearful of 1.3 million low-income and minority voters heading to the polls on November 4.  But their fearmongering about the group -- John McCain said during a debate last night that they may be "perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country" -- just doesn't add up.

Indeed, McClatchy ran a roundup of the Republican challenges to ACORN's registrations and concluded that "mounting evidence of Acorn's sloppy management and poor supervision ... so far doesn't support the explosive charges that the group is trying to rig the presidential election."

Cook County Clerk David Orr agreed that the "voter fraud" charges, particularly in Northwest Indiana, are probably a stretch. Orr correctly noted that it was ACORN officials who initially flagged the questionable registrations there.

Orr also emphasized that Cook County has safeguards in place to ensure problematic registrations don't make their way through. For instance, he said that the county tosses out an estimated five to ten percent of the forms they receive because people file twice.

"I don't want this to become a game of political football," he said in response to the GOP's warning. "We scrutinize very carefully."

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