Jack Tapper at ABCNews wrote the blog post that I was planning on doing on the ACORN controversy and the NY Times report of voter suppression tactics by various states, and he has done a better job than I would have done. So I’ll just link to it.
Ben Smith at Politico also does a nice job of differentiating voter fraud and voter registration fraud:
The key distinction here is between voter fraud and voter registration fraud, one of which is truly dangerous, the other a petty crime.
The former would be, say, voting the cemeteries or stuffing the ballot boxes. This has happened occasionally in American history, though I can think of recent instances only in rare local races. Practically speaking, this can most easily be done by whoever is actually administering the election, which is why partisan observers carefully oversee the vote-counting process.
The latter is putting the names of fake voters on the rolls, something that happens primarily when organizations, like Acorn, pay contractors for new voter registrations. That can be a crime, and it messes up the voter files, but there’s virtually no evidence these imaginary people then vote in November. The current stories about Acorn don’t even allege a plan to affect the November vote.
The distinction is important because conservative McCain supporters are already alleging that the Obama campaign is trying to steal the election. The Obama-ACORN connection has been a favorite meme at FOXNews. If Obama wins, expect the Right to cling to this rationalization to the extent that the Left has nurtured its belief that Bush stole at least one if not both of the last two presidential elections — without, of course, anywhere near the justification
If Obama wins, he will do so despite voter suppression, not because of it.