The furor over ACORN‘s national voter registration drive exploded with new controversies Friday, including a call by Barack Obama for an independent prosecutor, a Supreme Court ruling over voter access and the disclosure of a death threat against an ACORN worker.
By Greg Gordon, McClatchy Newspapers
What remains unclear is whether the campaigns of Obama and John McCain will reach a truce over voter access to the polls by Election Day or whether their legal and rhetorical battles will persist to the finish line — or beyond.
Republicans allege that the Association for Community Organizations for Reform Now is engaged in rampant voter fraud, but they’ve offered no proof of such a systematic effort. The GOP does have evidence that some of the group’s 13,000 canvassers submitted fraudulent applications, but ACORN says it alerted authorities to most of the phony forms.
Democrats counter that the GOP is trying to whip up fears of voter fraud so it can knock students and low-income minorities off the voter rolls to enhance McCain’s chances of victory.
On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court overruled an attempt by Republicans to challenge the validity of 200,000 voter registrations in Ohio , saying that the party lacked the standing to sue.
The Republicans had sued to force Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner , a Democrat, to provide county election officials with lists of registrants whose personal information did not exactly match Social Security or driver’s license data, a step that would leave those voters vulnerable to eligibility challenges.
Tensions began to escalate Thursday with disclosures that the FBI is investigating ACORN and the possibility that it’s engaged in a vote-fraud scheme.
On Friday, Obama’s legal counsel, Robert Bauer , wrote Attorney General Michael Mukasey , charging that the inquiry is politically motivated and that it risks repeating the 2007 scandal over the Bush administration‘s politicization of the Justice Department.