As those who remember our series exposing this phony Republican front-group will recall, the ACVR calls themselves a "non-partisan" group and claims a tax-exempt status in exchange for it.
They are, however, comprised of two key high-level GOP operatives: Mark F. "Thor" Hearne, the General Counsel for Bush/Cheney '04, Inc., and Jim Dyke, the Communications Director for the RNC.
ACVR has yet to produce their legal 501(c)3 paperwork --- which allows them tax-exempt status --- to us as they had promised, and when Thor Hearne testified at a Congressional hearing just three days after the creation of his phony organization in March, he identified himself only as a "long time voting rights advocate". Apparently he forgot to mention his or Dyke's direct connection with Bush/Cheney and the RNC.
In response to today's long-await report, "Democracy at Risk: The 2004 Election in Ohio", from the DNC on the problems, including massive voter disenfranchisement and other chicanery in Ohio during the 2004 Presidential Election, the ACVR has just released another smokescreen in favor of Voter Disenfranchisement, this time in the form of a Press Release in response to the DNC report.
Get a load (and we do mean load) of this:
It must be made clear that these guys are snake-oil salesman of the highest order. Note how they disingenously make the point to appear as if they are in general agreement with the DNC report, but quickly slide the focus elsewhere, away from Ohio where the disenfranchisement and electoral chicanery was at maximum impact courtesy of a crooked Secretary of State and Ohio Bush/Cheney Co-Chair (both in the name of J. Kenneth Blackwell). In Ohio, Blackwell still refuses any real investigations of the machinery or of the criminal allegations.
From there, the press release slithers predictably over to the notion of voter fraud which, by our count, has resulted in two --- that's two --- cases in the entire state of Ohio of anyone fraudulently casting a vote last November. Contrast that to the thousands of documented cases of provisional ballots discarded, electronic votes flipped from Kerry to Bush, hours-long lines and too few machines in Democratic precincts only, and legitimate voters surprised to find they'd been purged entirely from the voting rolls.
(CORRECTION: It was not two cases of voter fraud in the state of Ohio as we originally suggested above. We've found the information we had recalled, but couldn't find at the time we filed this report originally. According to a June 15, 2005 story headlined "Rampant Voter Fraud a Myth" from Cleveland Plain Dealer, the actual number of fraudulent votes in the state of Ohio was not two. It was four. The article begins: "Of 9,078,728 votes cast in Ohio in 2002 and 2004, only four were fraudulent, according to a new review by a pair of voter advocacy groups." The BRAD BLOG regrets the error.)
Nonetheless, as these operatives move to encourage the enactment of Voter ID laws which will disproportionately disenfranchise millions of minority, elderly and urban Americans (read: Democratic voters), through backchannel political manipulation, they continue to misrepresent their phony "non-partisan" creds. More from Dyke's release...
In this 40th Anniversary year of the Voting Rights Act, there are few Americans as despicable as those who use the cynical veneer of presenting themselves as "Voting Rights Advocates" when they are anything but. The are, in fact, the complete antithesis of those brave advocates and activists who have given so much --- including their lives --- in the fight for a right to vote in America. Not to mention those Americans who have been sent to fight and die right now around the globe under the premise of "spreading democracy" by the paymasters of Hearne and Dyke of the ACVR.
The ACVR clearly has both the money and political pull, however, to make great strides in this area. Real Voting Rights groups were not called as witnesses by Rep. Bob Ney's (R-OH) trumped up Congressional Hearing on the Ohio Irregularities, but Hearne was. That, just three days after his organization appeared on the World Wide Web with a snailmail address at a P.O. Box in a UPS Mailbox Etc. store in Houston, TX, which nobody for the organization has yet to claim as their own. (Hearne is from St. Louis, MO, Dyke now lives in North Carolina).
As well, the cooked Baker/Carter Commission on Election Reform --- headed appallingly by Bush Family crony, James Baker, who successfully ensured that American citizens would not be allowed to have their votes counted in 2000 --- has Thor Hearne sitting as a member of their "Advisory Panel". No real Voting Rights groups have been invited to sit on that commission or its advisory panel.
It pays to have unscrupulous friends in high places.
And, just in case you have any further questions about the sort of unrepentant, un-American, opportunistic phonies these guys really are, take a look at this short video clip --- from ACVR's own website --- of Hearne testifying to Ney's committee last March wherein he avers that it was John Kerry's team that systematically attempted to misinform voters about when Election Day actually was.
Perhaps this is one of the letters (courtesy of FreePress.org's book "Did George W. Bush Steal America's 2004 Election: Essential Documents") that Hearne suggests, in his video testimony, that the Kerry campaign was sending out to trick voters into not voting:
These guys --- both the sort who would send the letter above and those who make up the ACVR --- are vermin. And it all serves as a good reminder of why it's so important to continue everything that we're doing here. There is a special place in hell waiting for these creeps. May God save America from cretins like these.