October 10th, 2008
07:00 PM ET
6 years ago

Embattled ACORN defends its voter registration drive

ACORN'S Las Vegas office was recently searched by Nevada state officials as part of an investigation into alleged voter fraud.
ACORN'S Las Vegas office was recently searched by Nevada state officials as part of an investigation into alleged voter fraud.

(CNN) – In the midst of a fusillade of attacks from Republicans on Capitol Hill and from the McCain-Palin campaign, the Association of Community Organization for Reform Now, often called “ACORN,” is not backing down and is, instead, defending its voter registration activities as attention turns to the integrity of the election system on the eve of an historic presidential election.

Citing a long history of voter suppression in the country, ACORN spokesman Brian Kettenring said recent charges against the organization are just partisan attacks intended to undermine the group’s voter registration efforts. “The current strategy seems to be, from the right, to create, to manufacture a so-called crisis of voter fraud . . . and then to solve that crisis through measures that are about constricting the electorate, narrowing the electorate, keeping people from being able to vote,” he said.

Listen: ACORN, Project Vote explain their voter registration drive


On a conference call with reporters, ACORN and Project Vote, its partner in voter registration programs, explained their process for training and overseeing individuals who canvass for new registrations in the field.

Listen: ACORN, Project Vote answer reporters' questions


Canvassers are paid on an hourly basis and not, as some critics have charged, per registration submitted, Project Vote’s Executive Director Michael Slater said Friday. He also said there are no incentives for meeting or exceeding any quota, and that each application is reviewed and if potentially fraudulent or otherwise problematic registration cards are identified, they are flagged and turned into election officials. “In many states we are obligated to turn in all applications by law, regardless of whether we believe that there are problems are not,” Slater added. Asked for more details about which states have such a requirement, Brian Mellor, an attorney for ACORN, pointed to Ohio, New Mexico, Colorado, Florida, Nevada, and California.

ACORN was subject to an out-all attack Friday from the McCain campaign, the Republican National Committee, and some Republicans in Congress. The McCain camp held a conference call where it sought to highlight ties between ACORN and Sen. Barack Obama and released a web video that sought to dramatize those ties. At virtually the same time, the RNC launched a new Web site about Obama’s ties to ACORN.

Six Republicans in the House of Representatives who have all previously been Secretaries of States also wrote a letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey Friday asking that the Department of Justice investigate whether ACORN is engaged in voter fraud. The Department of Justice does not comment on its investigations, and refused to confirm whether it has opened an investigation into ACORN’s activities. The request echoed Sen. John McCain’s suggestion at a campaign event Thursday that an investigation into ACORN should take place.

Also on Thursday, several Republicans in Congress called for an end to any federal funding to ACORN. Friday, Kettenring and Slater said neither ACORN nor Project Vote seeks or accepts federal funding and that no federal money was used in the voter registration drive the groups just wrapped up roughly a week ago. Kettenring said, however, that some groups affiliated with ACORN may receive federal funding.

Related: Thousands of voter registration forms faked, officials say

Related: ACORN's Las Vegas office raided


Filed under: ACORN • Voter Problems
soundoff (250 Responses)
  1. democrats for CA

    It seems as if the Republicans are trying there best to steal this election. My friends, it won't happen this time!!!!!!!!!

    October 10, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  2. Myra McIver

    I can't believe that you Ann Romero actually believe that Obama is out to make money off this ACORN business. Apparently you are living under a rock and think that McCain and his "good ol' boy" attitude will save us from this economic breakdown along with his "lipstick pig" Palin. Get a grip girlfriend and step into reality. McCain is a crook out to get another 8 more homes that he and his wife already have.

    October 10, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  3. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    ok let me get this straight...ACORN has been registering voters for months, no investigation of their actions have been done, yet now with McCain behind in the polls, his campaign floundering, all of a sudden a big pile of fake voter applications turn up? If this is true I think we all know that just because a person may register to vote doesn't mean that they will vote. If that was the case then if all the registered Democrats would always vote and vote with their party, then the GOP would hardly ever win. Plus I don't see how fake voter applications in any way would help the Obama campaign. Were all these fake applications Democrats? Is this the "October surprise" that the GOP has been talking about? I don't know but for this to turn up right now at this point in the campaign smells like POOH to me and I'm talking ELEPHANT POOH!

    October 10, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  4. Me

    How can registering voters be wrong unless they were refusing to register some people? How UNAMERICAN can you get to actually be coming out against people who are trying to register new voters? What has the Republican party become?

    October 10, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  5. John

    How's that for liberal media, right-wingers?

    I don't believe for one minute that Barack Obama would endorse filing false voter registration. Need I remind everyone that there was plenty of voter fraud in the 2000 election? People at the ground level might have wanted to put more registration in, and that's their own fault, but as has been said, the organization is required by law to file all of the registration forms. This HAPPENS. And it's good for the people doing the filing to filter out the illegit forms. All this being said...

    OBAMA/BIDEN '08!

    ...or we can have John McShame and Caribou Barbie.

    October 10, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  6. Emily

    This is something we should investigate.

    But I do not understand what "tie" Obama has? It is outrageous to say Obama requested ACORN to commit fraud? It is as outrageous as the Michael Moore's accusation that Bush is linked to Bin Ladin.

    We should stop this personality attacks.

    By the way, Bill Ayers is such a bad guy, why is he hanging around free? Why is he a distinguished prof in such a prestigious University? Why did Republican give money to this guy to run educational funds? I want to know first of all, what is so wrong about this guy today? Of course, he was a terrorist long time ago, and are we saying whole society should overhaul him and avoid him? Are we saying we should not greet if we meet these guys on the street in the neighborhood?

    October 10, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  7. mark

    Well...the Repugs will try to suppress everyone"s vote! Send the Repugs back to HELL!

    NO WAY! NO HOW! NO WAY MCCAIN! NO WAY PALIN!

    October 10, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  8. Barb

    Now we know how Obama beat Hillary Clinton, and it only cost him 800,000 dollars of tax people's money

    October 10, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  9. Speider

    Didn't they note that many signatures from different voters were the same handwriting?

    October 10, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  10. S. Boatman

    IN OTHER NEWS . . . SARAH PALIN HAS BEEN FOUND GUILTY OF ABUSING HER POWER!

    October 10, 2008 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  11. A Concerned DOD worker

    I am not certain about the trust thing or cheating but what I like the idea of the states reviewing all applicants. ACORN does not seem to be an out of the norm organization after reviewing what I could find on line. There are dozens of organizations just like this doing about the same thing. If you regulate this process you must enforce. Regulation seems to be problem with a lot of industries, governement entities, etc, these days.

    October 10, 2008 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  12. Accountant Guy

    Awesome to see that Palin has been exposed for a cheater, liar, and lacking morals. She was found guilty of abusing her power, and we don't need someone like that in the white house!!

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 10, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  13. Ray, Calif

    OK people ACORN has said itself that it could not prevent voter fraud? If they can't prevent voter fraud than they don't need to be registering voters.What is more deafening is the silence form Senator Obama. There are several topics Bill Ayers, ACORN etc.. that Senator Obama has been silent on. This begs the question: Senator Obama spurs anger and division? There appears to be a lot of unfounded anger from the Democrats? John McCain has encouraged his supporters to keep their comments clean and to respect Senator Obama. The next time an Obama supporter (on Twitter or anywhere) calls President Bush a murderer, racist..etc...What will Senator Obama say? The next time an Obama supporter says appalling things about Sarah Palin , John McCain what will Obama say? Silence often means tacit approval? Senator Obama is running for President and needs to be a leader for unity not silence.

    October 10, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  14. mitch

    this is bs. the apps dont have to be accepted do they? someone just trying to get a quota or something.

    October 10, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  15. R.

    Something stinks about this.. the mccain camp was calling community groups like this a bunch of dead beats just a couple of weeks ago, now there are cries of voter fraud about ACORN. and alot seem to be coming from indiana, i live in indiana and you have to show a photo ID to vote anyway, so it wouldnt be in the best interest of ACORN to make up fake registrations, because it changes nothing unless someone were to fake ID's and try and vote as wel. AND they have to turn in every one they get if they think its fake or not, BY LAW. sounds more like operation chaos to me...

    October 10, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  16. TATANKA

    HOW CAN YOU DEFEND SOMETHING LIKE REGISTERING THE WHOLE DALLAS COWBY FOOTBALL TEAM. I GUESS YOU ARE INNOCENT TILL PROVEN GUILTY. WHAT COULD BE YOUR DEFENSE NO PUN INTENDED. YOU GUYS HAVE PROBLEM.

    October 10, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  17. Beaz

    The Typical Obama Supporter

    October 10, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  18. E in NC

    Mike, you can wake up any time now.

    October 10, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  19. Brandon

    WOW! I guess there is no way that ACORN could have received money from Obama and as a result, committed voter fraud? Say it is not true that "The One" would be part of something dirty. Obama learned his tricks from Chicago. Dead people have been voting for Democrats since I can remember. So are you all saying only Republicans cheat? Don't twist the facts. I would hang on to your opinions until after the investigations are over. I don't think this is the last we have heard of this. And I can't wait to see the reaction.

    October 10, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  20. Tamara

    Acorn should be held accountable. I would not call Lou Dobbs a Republican and he is all over this story. Media better wake up and have all politicans answer questions even their precious OBAMA.

    I have been a democrat all my life and as an Black American woman I am still upset with the way the Democratics anointed Obama. I am so sick of the far left dems just as I am sick of the far right. Here we go! 4 more years of BS. God help us.

    October 10, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  21. Alex, USMC

    Ann....wow. Just wow.

    I'm almost ashamed to be fighting overseas for people like you.

    October 10, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  22. Proof

    As I read these blogs, this example clearly illustrates that Obama supporters like Obama regardless. They are simply too clueless and I'm sure all have been followers all their lives. They wouldn't know leadership if it hit them in the face.

    October 10, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  23. Jerry in Missouri

    Another link to a questionable group for Obama? When are you people going to wake up and realize this guy is about nothing but himself? He makes one good speech in 2004 and has been running for President ever since. He has no experience and will send this country down the tubes. Look what happened in MA with their "Messiah"
    Obama is a Socialist with good speaking skills. I doubt that you'll see much about this on the Liberal networks. Obama has direct ties to ACORN, but the press will play it down. Be afraid America.

    NObama...No Way...No How

    October 10, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  24. DAVE IN CA

    MIKE YOUR A TOOL WHO PROBABLY USED TO WORK FOR ACORN SUBMITTED MILLIONS IN FALSE REGISTRATION CARDS AND WENT OFF TO STUDY THE KORAN...... DID YOU HEAR THE NEWS FROM MR. FERROKAN? OBAMA IS THE MESSIAH OF THE ISLAM NATION GOING TO BRING SUCH RADICAL CHANGE TO THE U.S GOVT. HMMMMM COULD HE BE LYING TO ALL OF YOU MORONS AND THE ONLY AGENDA HE HAS IS TO PAY BACK ALL OF THE TERRORISTS, EXTREMISTS, AND SOCIALIST BACKERS THAT HAVE PAVED HIS WAY TO THE SENATE IN GOLD AND OH YEAH FREE EDUCATION AT SOME OF THE BEST UNIVERSITIES IN THE U.S. THAT HE DIDN'T PAY A DIME FOR AND DIDN'T HAVE THE GRADES TO EVEN GET INTO HARVARD WITH ALL OF THE YOUTHFUL DRUG USE..... WISH I COULD SEE HIS THESIS PAPER ON THE DISMANTLING OF THE U.S. NUCLEAR PROGRAM SO THAT WE ARE MORE VULNERABLE TO MIDDLE EASTERN COUNTRIES WHEN IRAN AND PAKISTAN DECIDE TO STRIKE US.... DOUCHE BAG

    October 10, 2008 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  25. Freddie Mac

    Obama = ACORN, Wright, Ayers, Racism, Islam, Atheism, Terrorism, Rezko, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac. Wow, good qualities.

    October 10, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
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