When even very left-leaning people who support most of the same agenda say there is a problem, there's a problem. A group known as ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) is generating another wave of complaints about the non-existent people it keeps registering to vote. The complaints are coming from across the country and even dedicated left-wingers acknowledge it.
In Philadelphia, the city's voter registration office has rejected about 3,000 cards submitted by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now since April because of missing information or invalid addresses.
Election officials in three of Ohio's largest counties have cited problems with hundreds of voter registration cards. ACORN is accused of submitting cards with nonexistent addresses, forged signatures and, in one case, for someone who died seven years ago.
"In my opinion, there's a lot of words but little action in terms of fixing the problem," said Matt Damschroder, elections board director in Franklin County in Ohio.
County election officials in Denver forwarded about 200 cards to the secretary of state's office after discovering identical handwriting on signatures. Colorado officials investigated similar problems two years ago.
Prosecution is rare, and federal lawsuits against the group were dismissed in Florida. ACORN says it's working to reduce problems, and officials promise to fire any workers found committing fraud.
"We'll continue to personally encourage people to register to vote and exercise their franchise, and we're going to continue to stand up for people's voter rights," said Kevin Whelan, a spokesman for the New Orleans-based group.
Such statements do little to appease critics. Even groups supporting the organization's efforts question why fraud allegations keep cropping up.
"They're sort of their own worst enemy," said Bill Faith, who directs Ohio's largest homeless advocacy group and shares many of ACORN's goals.
"They want low-income people to register to vote but because of the kind of problems that come from their program, it provokes a reaction from the Legislature that actually makes it harder to run such programs," Faith said.
The Denver Election Commission says it's been unsuccessful in working with ACORN to reduce problems with voter registration cards.
So there's the reason voter IDs are necessary.