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Opinion on ACORN Is “Uncritical Drivel”

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Thad Williamson is a professor? Really? From his Back Page piece (“Defrauding the Voters,” Oct. 22), you'd never guess.
Republicans allege widespread illegal and duplicative voter registration, in Ohio and other Midwestern states, under the auspices of ACORN. To rebut these charges, Williamson asks, “What do community organizers do, and how do voter-registration campaigns actually work?”


For answers, he calls a single community organizer, Cathy Woodson — not from ACORN, not from the Midwest — but from an entirely different, Virginia-based organization. He then proceeds to accept everything she tells him at face value, and as reflective of the entire spectrum of community organizers engaged in voter registration efforts.


Having introduced this rather specious evidence, Professor Williamson concludes his essay with a serious of assertions — one would hardly call them arguments — to the effect that registering people to vote somehow “empowers” them.


I should think a scholar might at least think to inquire whether people who can't figure out how to register to vote might not also need help figuring out whom to vote for. Or that, when such help is provided, whether the folks being empowered aren't the community organizers and the politicians they favor — rather than the voters they shepherd to the polls.


I am neither a Republican nor a conservative, and I can claim some modest credit for helping disenfranchised voters gain access to the polls. Some years ago, as secretary of the commonwealth, I incurred the displeasure of my governor by launching an initiative which simplified the process by which ex-felons had their voting rights restored.


I am, however, concerned when an educated man — one charged with educating future leaders — publishes such poorly researched, poorly reasoned and entirely uncritical drivel in an obvious attempt to score political points for the party and candidate he clearly prefers.
Frederick T. “Rick” Gray Jr.
Chester

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