Jul 16, 2009
Brown tries to rescue SOS campaign with unnecessary bills
LANSING – Sen. Cameron Brown, R-Sturgis, introduced a package of bills Wednesday to address a problem that doesn’t exist and could decrease voter turnout, but more importunately it was a feeble attempt to jump starts his flagging campaign for Michigan Secretary of State.
Legislation usually does not single out one group or individual, but Senate Bills 690-694 targets the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, better known as ACORN. ACORN is nation’s largest grassroots community organization of low- and moderate-income people dedicated to building community organizations that are committed to social and economic justice, and ACORN it accomplishes that important mission through negotiation, legislative advocacy and voter participation. “ACORN helps those who have historically been locked out become powerful players in our democratic system.” Hence, they are hated by the Republican Party and a convenient whipping boy and scapegoat for the Republicans.
Brown’s bills law are unnecessary because penalties already exist for turning in fraudulent registration forms. In fact, in 2008 Attorney General Mike Cox brought charges against a single member of ACORN for basically padding his paycheck.
Brown’s bills would prohibit groups conducting voter registration drives from establishing quotas or paying bonuses to employees based on the number of registrations collected. Brown said voters registration forms were turned in around the country for “Mickey Mouse, Jimmy Johns, and the entire starting lineup of the Dallas Cowboys.” ACORN provides jobs to people and many state chapters pay them for each registration form turned in.
Brown and the Republicans conveniently ignore the fact that most state laws require the organization to submit all registration forms filled out despite being flagged as fraudulent, and in fact ACORN flagged the forms with the names Brown points out. Plus, Mickey Mouse and Jimmy John never cast a vote in 2008.
Brown and the Senate Republicans need to stop playing politics and playing to the base in order to win the GOP SOS nomination and pass real election reform they are sitting on that was approved in the House, such as no reason absentee voting, early voting, allowing 16-year-olds to pre-register to vote and allowing any clerk to verify the identity of a voter who registers by mail.