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

Embattled ACORN defends its voter registration drive

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/10/09/acorn.fraud.claims/art.acorn.jpg caption="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. ron

    republicans are laying the ground work for the legal battle for the presidency

    October 10, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  2. Time for obama to go back to Chicago

    Chicago poliitcs is as DIRTY as it comes.

    ACORN is again caught red handed in WHOLESALE FRAUD and you crazies want to appologize for them. Even CNN tried to investigate ACORN in Ohio and the ACORN offices were emptied out and its high level (multiple states) managers running for cover like rats.


    October 10, 2008 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  3. Enzo - Canada

    If U.S. citizens were automatically registered like ours in Canada, I honestly don't think you would have these kinds of problems. Here we automatically receive a voting card that confirms our information, then we simply go with our I.D. to vote on election day.

    Note to my American friends: Your citizens shouldn't have to register to vote! They're already citizens and known by the government!

    Oh, and by the way, we vote with pencil and paper and members of each party are present to count the votes. Nobody's hijacking the elections. I pray for a fair election on Nov. 4.

    October 10, 2008 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  4. register this

    Palin, behind the red tape!

    October 10, 2008 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  5. park more

    Nooooooooooooooooooooo Obama, by the way I heard that Obama is very smart and went to harvard....... Well do you know that he and his wife went to harvard under minority program...... Do you konw what does mean....

    October 10, 2008 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  6. Jon in Northern Califia

    Ooh, scary.
    People who care and are engaged helping other people get registered.

    What is this world coming to?

    October 10, 2008 11:30 pm at 11:30 pm |
  7. Wayne

    well i'm sure the GOP would like yo revive the poll tax and the grandfather clauses in the voting system too..i'm just sayin'

    October 10, 2008 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  8. A Thinker In Our Midst

    People who believe ACORN is corrupt is drinking the RNC Kool-Aide; Republicans is involved in voter "caging" and trying to suppress voter turnout but I hear nothing in the National news channels. In Georgia over 200,000 thousand people voted early already but many refuse to vote because they are afraid their ballots will be lost. The hate for Obama in this state is palpable, you can't talk about politics without getting dirty looks if you're not in favor of McCain.

    October 10, 2008 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  9. Desmond Sequeira

    Obama/Biden = INTEGRITY, INTELLIGENCE, HIGH COMPETENCE, HOPE ALL THE WAY. The USA and the world needs this ticket to govern from the White House. The alternative is unmitigated dishonest, nasty disaster. CLEAR AS CRYSTAL

    October 10, 2008 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  10. Go home McCain

    Republican bloggers here always statet: " Watch out for october surprise "

    Now we are having 2 surprises in one day, they were right,

    This ACORN deal was a republican stunt.

    Palin the liar and her abuse of power as a governor.

    That should be enough to keep them out of the white house.

    Obama / Bidern 08

    October 10, 2008 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  11. Gary

    @ Nia

    Are you serious? You blame the G.O.P. of voter suppression but it's okay for ACORN to register thousands of new voters that are either dead or don't exist? ACORN has a history of registering more Democrats than Republicans! They are suppose to be non-partisan but they endorsed Obama! How is that non-partisan?

    October 10, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  12. sela

    It's hard to believe that any individual or organization would be so stupid as to hand in 5000 bogus registrations. So I hope there is some real investigation on this to get to the truth of it all – and then punish whoever is responsible. It's not Barack Obama. He doesn't really need voter fraud since he's winning in every poll. So I say, look at the losing campaign first.

    October 10, 2008 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  13. Tim

    It is interesting how you investigate Sarah Palin and make a story of a non crime while running to the defense of ACORN. There is proven voter fraud in Ohio but you suddenly don't care. I seem to remember the media running to Florida to count and recount and recount and recount wanting to get to the bottom of Democrat incompetence. Why don't you do a story about the highest ranking election official not being able to weed out fraudulent registrants. It seems she cross checked them then ignored them and then lost them. Now she says Republicans are out of line asking her to do her job.
    As to Louvene: Where have I seen that used before? Wummm!

    October 10, 2008 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  14. Mike

    My; such twisting and turning. I haven't seen such gymnastics since the heyday of the Soviet Union's legions of apologists.
    Still, it gives one such warm fuzzy feelings. While the Left accuses the Right of such high-tech hijinks as tampering with electronic voting machines, the Left itself goes back to its own tried-and-true methods.
    Voting the graveyards. Boss Tweed would be proud.
    Yep; good-old, Chicago-style politics. Puts a lump in your throat now, doesn't it now?


    October 10, 2008 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  15. lil

    Issue Voter,
    They are in bulk because when the people who are registering voters
    go through the registration and find that they are questionable they try
    to verify the registration if they cant be verified they have to put them all
    together and contact the proper aurthorities and report them and turn
    them in to the proper aurthoritied. Thats why they are all together and at the voter registration office.

    October 10, 2008 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  16. Larry

    Obama Democrats paid Acorn $800,000.,for voters,now we have 105% registered voters where ever Acorn has been involved,Obama got what he paid for.VOTER FRAUD

    October 10, 2008 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  17. Johnson in St. Louis

    wow all of a sudden when John Mccain is trailing in the polls and his campaign is a mess all these fake voter applications appear. ACORN has been in a voter registration drive for months but now near the end of the race somebody has found fraud in some of the applications and of course Obama is at fault. Sorry but if THIS is the October surprise the GOP has been hoping for they will need something better than this.

    October 10, 2008 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  18. m c

    Acorn is a left-wing group that has always been anti-establishment. This thing will blow up big against the Democrats. Oh, by the way, I know for a fact that people are lying to pollsters and saying they will vote for O when they will be voting for McCain. This will be the November surprise!!!

    October 10, 2008 11:57 pm at 11:57 pm |
  19. MS4BO

    Come on people! Just think if you set up a voter registration camp and the only way you could operate is turn in every application you receive. What other choice do you have if you want to make sure that those that are legitimate are accepted and hope that those that are not are caught. And that is what is happening. If they are finding fraudulent application then that's a sign that they may be on their job at the polls. But to be upset with ACORN for following the rules is not fair. On another note, these same states are making error in entering new voter information and for every 2 that are added to the system someone is purged from the system. However, it is against the law for names to be purge within 90 days of the election. Why are we not focusing on that problems and trying to fix this before Nov. 4 instead of going back and forth with no real solution. I am sick of this mess with these polls. NO EXCUSES... lets stay on the issues and everyone go out and vote for who you think is the best candidate.

    October 11, 2008 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  20. Adrian

    We have had cases where postmen have thrown mail into rivers, hide mail in "paid" storage facilities and even confiscated mail.
    So here is the case. Workers, who are being paid to do a job simply found it easier to fill in all the info, make up these forms and submit them to the registration offices, thus comitting fraud. Just seems strange how all these forms were signed by the same person.
    Another factor, and one which can be looked into is this. Conspiracy could be considered. Doing this and implicating the other party is something that have to be looked at. Quite strange that the Obama campaign who donated over $800,000 to this group and they have endorsed Obama as their candidate is the party that the news media seem to implicate in this.

    In this day and age, after observing voting fraud conducted by so many third world countries, it is appalling how in developed countries such as America voter registration is such a problem.

    The question is who is eligible to vote and when a person reaches the age of eligibility should'nt they be on the registration list?
    On the day of election they would simply turn up at the voting station with proper (picture) identification. Is this too simply to impliment?
    Much more to say about this but it will need more time. End.

    October 11, 2008 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  21. BM

    It's apparent that the McCain/Palin hatemongers are still at it. Despite what Palin has been accused of,Obama is still being labeled untrustworthy. How sad! Palin and her husband need to be exposed over the media about all their illegal connections. I'm sure you will find that she has no business near the White House

    October 11, 2008 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  22. Wayne D. PA


    October 11, 2008 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  23. BM

    It is also apparent how racially bias the media is for not exposing the Palin's for their desire to separate themselves from the US and you question Obama's patriotism? What a joke!

    October 11, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  24. BM

    Slavery still exist! I was amazed to see a Jim Crow, African American at a Clan rally! I wonder how much he was paid to be planted there.

    October 11, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  25. Michael

    OK, over 2,000 voter resistrations were submitted with fradulent names and addresses. All of these were written in the same person's hand writing and dropped off in a stack along with 2,500 ligitamate ones. I say check to see if it was Karl Rove's or Tom Delay's handwritting. If anyone in ACORN was going to commit voter fraud do you think he or she would be so blatantly stupid. Wake up America, the republican's are trying to steal another one. Here is their playbook: When you get caught, 1. deny it, 2. lie about it 3. blame someone else.

    October 12, 2008 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
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