There simply is too much "smoke" involving voter registration drives by ACORN - the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now - for there not to be some fire in the form of fraud.
The question is how much. Substantial proof of fraud in some areas has been obtained by law enforcement authorities.
Election officials in Cleveland have asked a prosecutor to investigate four people who reportedly registered to vote multiple times through ACORN. One man said he signed 73 voter registration forms.
In Pennsylvania, potentially fraudulent voter registration forms have been turned over to prosecutors in Allegheny, Delaware and Philadelphia counties, according to published reports.
Similar troubles are being seen in other key battleground states.
ACORN largely has defended its project in which it reportedly signed up 1.3 million Americans to vote.
ACORN says it fired employees who turned in incomplete or fraudulent cards and flagged those with questions.
Still, it's clear the group should have done more to ensure that its registration efforts were legitimate.
ACORN, which receives a substantial amount of taxpayer funds, makes no secret of its liberal agenda. And its claims that accusations of fraud are politically motivated don't ring true. In Nevada, for example, the secretary of state who launched the investigation is a Democrat.
Other ACORN supporters claim that Republicans are trying to suppress voters by focusing on the fraudulent voter registration forms. That's also a distraction that ignores the key point: It's not a matter of keeping legitimate Americans from voting. It's a matter of ensuring the integrity of our elections by making sure that individuals or groups are not casting ballots illegally. If that doesn't happen, how can there be fair elections?
Officials should closely check out suspicious voter registrations and aggressively prosecute cases of deliberate fraud, whether it involves ACORN or any other individual or organization.
Free, fair elections are important, and any attempt to undermine or defraud the system cannot be tolerated.