New voters coming out in drovesNo, Chris McNulty. And it's not just MoveOn, pal. It's Republicans and Independents who are also fed up with Bush and his path of destruction. Deal with it.
A sweeping voter-registration campaign in heavily Democratic areas has added tens of thousands of new voters to the rolls in the swing states of Ohio and Florida, a surge that has far exceeded Republican efforts in both states, a review of registration data shows.
The analysis of county-by-county data shows that in Democratic areas of Ohio - primarily low-income and minority neighborhoods - new registrations since January have increased 250 percent over the same period in 2000. In comparison, new registrations have increased 25 percent in Republican areas.
A similar pattern is apparent in Florida: In the strongest Democratic areas, the pace of new registration is 60 percent higher than in 2000, while it has risen 12 percent in the heaviest Republican areas.
Republican officials say they think the paid workers who are registering low-income voters are sloppy. Matt Damschroder, director of Ohio's Board of Elections, said he had to throw out many of the cards he received because the voters already were registered. "One woman had signed a card three different times," with three groups, he said.
Prosecutors in Columbus have filed criminal charges against an Acorn registrar, saying he filed a false registration form and forged a signature. Officials for the group say they fired the worker and instituted a quality checking system before prosecutors acted.
Nevertheless, an examination of county registration records shows that the groups have added thousands of new Democrats to the rolls and have far outnumbered new registrations in Republican areas.
In rock-ribbed Republican areas - 103 ZIP codes, many of them rural and suburban areas, that voted by 2 to 1 or better for President Bush in 2000 - 35,000 new voters have registered, a substantial increase over the 28,000 that registered in those areas in the first seven months of 2000.
"It's not easy work, but we go door-to-door in strong Republican precincts, making sure everyone is registered," said Chris McNulty, the state party chairman.
But in heavily Democratic areas - 60 ZIP codes mostly in the core of big cities such as Cleveland, Dayton, Columbus and Youngstown that voted 2 to 1 or better against Bush - new registrations have more than tripled.
"If every Democrat showed up at the polls, you'd win, no question," said James Koehler, a precinct organizer in Columbus working for MoveOn.org, another soft-money group. Koehler said MoveOn hoped to have a volunteer in every precinct to call neighbors Nov. 2.
Republicans in Ohio, as well as nationwide, have accused the independent groups of essentially flouting campaign-finance law. But they clearly are concerned about their impact. "I would say we are in the unfortunate position of having to fight a two-front war," said McNulty, the Ohio party chairman. "I'd be a lot less concerned if it was just us against the Democrats and the Kerry campaign, but unfortunately it's not."
So - accusations of multiple registrations and those big bad old 527s. The GOP is pulling out its book of alibis. Why don't you pull out the Swift Boat liars again, if you're screaming "foul"? We're not buying it.