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October 31, 2004
CQ Flashback: Kerry's Dukakis Moment? (6/23/04)

The Kerry campaign will scramble this afternoon with this AP report that one of their critical support groups has hired convicted felons -- in some cases, sex offenders -- to conduct door-to-door voter registration drives:

A Democratic group crucial to John Kerry's presidential campaign has paid felons some convicted of sex offenses, assault and burglary to conduct door-to-door voter registration drives in at least three election swing states.

America Coming Together, contending that convicted criminals deserve a second chance in society, employs felons as voter canvassers in major metropolitan areas in Missouri, Florida, Ohio and perhaps in other states among the 17 it is targeting in its drive. Some of the felons lived in halfway houses, and at least four returned to prison. ...

Although it works against the re-election of President Bush, ACT is an independent group not affiliated with the Kerry campaign federal law forbids such coordination. Yet ACT is stocked with veteran Democratic political operatives, many with past ties to Kerry and his advisers.

ACT responded by expressing its belief that convicted felons deserve a second chance in society and that former armed robbers and sex offenders present no extraordinary risk if they show up at your door:

ACT does not believe the felons it sends door to door pose a threat to the public, said Mo Elleithee, a Washington-based spokesman for the group. "We believe it's important to give people a second chance," Elleithee said. "The fact that they are willing to do this work is a fairly serious indication that they want to become productive members of society."

I want to believe that I'm writing this as a satire, but I'm not. Apparently, the Democrats feel very comfortable sending sex offenders, burglars, and drug dealers to the door of your house to get such information from you as your telephone number, Social Security number, and driver's license number. I agree that someone who has served their time deserves another chance, but that doesn't mean I want my kids or my granddaughter meeting them at the door, nor do I want my private information in their hands.

What could ACT be thinking? They have $100 million in funding -- apparently they must be a 527 -- which means they can afford to hire people who haven't been convicted of violent crimes to approach houses looking to register new voters. ACT instead acts with callous disregard for the safety of the public, offering us as a sacrifice on the altar of political correctness. The Kerry campaign has to answer for this breach of common sense. Is this how Kerry plans on "protecting America"? Next he'll be hiring Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to run the Department of Homeland Security.

Now that I know this, I plan on bolting my door whenever anyone knocks on my door and identifies themselves as working to register Democrats. I suggest that you do the same. Your safety and your family's safety may be at risk.

UPDATE: Longtime reader Pennywit, who often provides intelligent counterpoint in the comments section, agrees with me in principle but feels I am being a bit of an alarmist. I don't think so, but then again, I'm telling y'all to bolt the doors, so ... Pennywit has sent an e-mail to ACT asking them seven questions to clarify the issue, and has promised to let me know if/when they respond.

Here's my problem with ACT. First, they act as though this presents no problem whatsoever, and uses as proof the desire of the felons to do the work to demonstrate their rehabilitation. No one at ACT seems to realize the attraction a legitimate excuse to approach peoples' homes holds for those who later may want to burglarize them (gives them a great opportunity to case the place, doesn't it?), or for sexual offenders to identify potential future victims. The personal data given for voter registrations can easily be used for identity theft as well, a non-violent but highly destructive crime, as its victims can attest.

The AP article makes clear that ACT hires these former felons to do the actual canvassing and to handle the information gleaned from the effort. To what extent felons do the actual work is anyone's guess; ACT wouldn't answer that question for the AP reporter. In the absence of such hard data, and with the $100 million in funding that ACT plans on using this year, it's a safe guess that their efforts will drive most of the voter registration efforts of the Democrats, and I suppose it's up to us to guess the danger.

In other words, since I live in Minnesota, and since my wife is visually impaired and home alone for parts of the day, I'd say locking the door and putting up the NO SOLICITORS sign is hardly being alarmist. In fact, it's good policy.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 31, 2004 5:52 PM

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