Fraudulent forms

Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto on Monday announced voter registration charges against activist group ACORN -- the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. Ms. Cortez Masto said the group broke state law by instituting registration quotas, which in turn encouraged fraud.

In their voter registration drive last year, the group illegally required paid canvassers to meet quotas to keep their jobs, resulting in thousands of "garbage" registrations gumming up Clark County voter rolls, officials said.

Larry Lomax, the Clark County registrar of voters, said his office reviewed the 91,002 voter registration forms turned in by ACORN. There were 28,097 forms that were duplicates or changes of name, party or address, leaving 62,905 new voters. But almost 40,000 of the new voters registered by ACORN did not vote, and of those, almost 19,000 had information on file that did not match what was turned in on the forms.

"That's 48 percent of those forms that I believe are clearly fraudulent," Mr. Lomax said.

Lisa Rasmussen, a local attorney representing ACORN, called the allegations against the group "patently false."

At Monday's announcement, state and local officials insisted the false voter registrations did not translate to people being able to vote fraudulently. "This is a case of voter registration fraud," said Secretary of State Ross Miller. "There is absolutely no evidence that there was any voter fraud in the last election."

Well, maybe.

But let's not pretend to have all fallen off the same turnip truck.

No arbitrary obstacles -- which tend to make the process harder for the poor, or for members of racial or other minorities -- should be placed in the path of U.S. citizens who want to go to the minimal trouble now involved in registering. But if ACORN -- President Barack Obama's former outfit, on the federal dole for ever more millions of dollars -- failed to get any unqualified electors to the polls to cast illegal ballots, it wasn't for lack of trying.

The public deserves to be confident that only those who are qualified to vote are doing so. The default setting should not be, "Well, if someone signed them up and they're here, what the heck."