Promoted by Erick. Yeah, yeah, this isn’t about what Blue Collar Muse is doing on the ground, but it is absolutely about what is happening on the ground right now. This is quite important stuff we all need to pay attention to.

Tuesday, my post ‘ACORN’s 15 State Strategy for Voter Fraud’ provoked a great deal of response across the Interwebz. I don’t believe it alone was responsible for the Left’s development of talking points but said points were clearly in evidence. Discussion at The Next Right was most brisk with Leftist memes posted in abundance.

The short version? ACORN is the victim, not the criminal, so it can’t be involved in vote fraud! ACORN has never been convicted of vote fraud so it can’t be involved! ACORN reported its own fraudulent registrations so it can’t be involved! ACORN cooperated with the investigations so it can’t be involved! Real vote fraud only happens while casting a vote at the polls so ACORN can’t be involved. Statements to the contrary are based on isolated incidents so ACORN can’t be involved! ACORN isn’t responsible for the actions of a few bad eggs who make them look bad so it can’t be involved. It’s the start of a multi-state victim strategy.

Of course this only works if the protests are legitimate. Let’s take a look. . .

“Vote fraud can only happen at the polls!” would seem the most exonerating objection. But this is a straw man. After all, ACORN is an organization, not a person, so it cannot vote at all, fraudulently or otherwise. Yet ACORN is being investigated for vote fraud. How can that be? Because the law does not confine vote fraud to merely voting behavior.

While I’ve not spoken with all of them, I called election officials for the 13 states from Tuesday’s post asking about vote fraud definitions. Those I spoke with agreed “vote fraud” was best seen as a single, general term covering several, specific crimes. Actually voting fraudulently is vote fraud as are any number of actions, including fraudulently registering voters, fraudulently registering to vote and more. Investigations of such behavior by ACORN, its employees or agents are vote fraud investigations.

Ditto for convictions. One ACORN apologist, Timothy, has continually asked me to produce a single conviction of ACORN for vote fraud. The Wall Street Journal says it happened in Wisconsin and Colorado. Timothy says he followed my links. Perhaps he missed the one for Washington state. Rotten Acorn notes in this case, “Three ACORN employees pleaded guilty, and four more were charged, in the worst case of voter registration fraud in Washington state history.” ACORN settled the case. The settlement agreement is here. It’s all about what ACORN agrees to in order to avoid getting hammered.

ACORN’s agreement addresses the next objection: ACORN isn’t the bad guy; their self-policing makes them a good guy!. As with any such claim, the devil’s in the details. King County gave ACORN a pass if they self-reported problem registrations within 14 days. Self-reporting from 15-30 days earned them a $250 fine per incident. Over 30 days brought a $1,000 per incident fine. The question isn’t so much does ACORN self police as when. The WSJ’s John Fund has some insight into the answer out of Kansas City.

Finally, in the King County settlement ACORN agreed (as did all the election officials I asked about this) they can be held liable for the actions of their employees. No longer can they hide, as they have before, behind the excuse a few bad eggs ruined their reputation. Prosecutors may, for reasons of their own, choose not to prosecute the organization, but it’s a real option.

Washington state found ACORN’s personnel oversight to be “virtually nonexistant.” Their training seemed little better. King County demanded the same solution to the problem I suggested; change your business practices! Train and supervise your employees well. Tell them what breaking election law can mean. The King County case was last year, 2007. Why, then, is ACORN still having problems if all they are really committed to is, as Timothy says, conducting “… a very successful effort to register voters.”

There are major elections every two years and scores of lesser ones every year. With all that’s at stake, there will always be charges of fraud. But when one group routinely attracts accusations of wrongdoing, perhaps it’s time to look at them. Regarding ACORN, I say, “Democrats, perhaps it’s time to wash your hands of them.” No voter registration organization has a track record even remotely close to ACORN’s. And a rotten acorn can’t produce a healthy tree.

It really is as serious as I make it out to be. Including the 13 states with ACORN problems this year, since 1998, the following states have had problems with ACORN. Beyond their 15 state vote fraud strategy, ACORN now has a 19 state victim strategy. And ACORN only operates in 38 states. This is big and getting bigger. If mighty oaks truly grow from little acorns, there’s no surer proof than this. I think a call to the arborist is in order!

Arkansas / Colorado / Connecticut / Florida / Indiana / Louisiana / Michigan / Minnesota / Missouri / Nevada / New Mexico / North Carolina / Ohio / Pennsylvania / Texas / Virginia / Washington / Wisconsin.