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. No Hillary = No Obama

    ACORN – another Obama stooge.

    October 10, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  2. Matt in Texas

    So is ACORN denying any voter registration fraud? Are they willing to put their agency on the line for it? ACORD is a fraud and will be found out sooner or later.

    October 10, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  3. Citizens_can

    There should be no excuse in the most advanced and democratic nation, something wrong, very wrong, and extremly wrong. Is it human nature, sinful and ambitious, selfishly?

    October 10, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  4. Carmen

    I cannot believe that the republicans are doing this to acorn!! Especially since their organization uplifts underrepresented communities. I am sure that in some of these states these peoples registrations will not be counted because of some republican conspiracy so that they can continue to suppress low income people and underrepresented communites. I expect nothing less of the grand ole party

    October 10, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  5. Jerry Ohio

    Another McCain and Palin smear tactics I wish both them just leave American People along doing these struggling time for all of us we trust in Obama/Biden

    October 10, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  6. SDunn

    If people actually think that the Republicans are not involved in voter suppression of the minority vote in this election and past elections then you're crazy. If ACORN is guilty then they're guilty, but so is the Republican party for what they've done in Ohio and Florida to prevent minority voters from voting. All I can say is that the Repugs are reaping what they sowed and bottom line is they can try to prevent minorities from voting in this election and it won't happen this time. Their time for payback is here.

    October 10, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  7. EBJ

    ah it's nothing like an old witch hunt to get a campaign really going. If the members of ACORN are guilty as charged then they should be hung out to dry. If a few bad apples are trying to spoil the whole bunch I hope they are exposed for what they are. But i just can't see how dead people that are registered to vote will actually show up at the polls. If they do then we know that it's the end of the world.

    October 10, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  8. docrock,tx

    The Supreme Court is preparing a sequel to 2000.Ain't politics grand?Hoo Hah!!

    October 10, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  9. OH

    We need a fair and transparent election and all stakeholders must be very sensitive to that. Election fraud is a criminal offense and must be investigated.

    October 10, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  10. Carolina on Obamas Mind

    Something tells me the Republicans filled out the registrations...Country 1st!

    October 10, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  11. Candy West Virginia

    Have people honestly forgotten how the repugs stole the 2004 election??? You've got to be kidding me. And there were so many levels of cheating in that election all the way up to the Supreme Court so I don't want to hear nothing about a few hundred 'supposed' fraudulent voters. Give me a break! The repugs are disgusting, they lie, cheat and steal and then have a nerve to call someone else out on it.

    October 10, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  12. New Day

    Investigate and prosecute! Why do people need help to register?

    October 10, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  13. John S

    You notice they didn't put up a comment section for this;

    Some are calling it a Freudian slip. Everyone’s calling it a big mistake.

    Hundreds of absentee ballots sent to voters in New York State’s Rensselaer County, near Albany, were printed with Barack Obama’s last name spelled as “Osama," the Albany Times Union reports.

    County elections officials tell the newspaper that it was a typo that made it by three rounds of proof-readers.

    Three rounds of prrof readers and this error got by them all. That is the biggest line of bull I have ever heard. Why are people in America trying to incye racial violence. Is this what the republican party have become. Trying to divide your country with this garbage. This Presidential Race will go down in history as the dirtiest run election ever. The Republican Party will be so hated that it will take 20 years for it to ever regain power again. I have seen desperartion in my life but John McCain and Sarah Palin take the cake. When Obama takes the Oval Office I hope that these two people are investigated to the full extent of the law and charged with inciting hate and criminal activities.
    These two people are the real terrorist of America and should be expelled from your country like any othercriminal radicals who try and destroy your great nation.

    October 10, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  14. Brian from Canada

    Just lke obama is scum and is a crony that worked and represented for Acorn as their lawyer at one time.

    Acorn is scum and a fradaulent left wing organization we pay for but they only work on registering the democrats. Do it but don't make the conservatives have to pay for it, or at least be fair about it and register Republicans as well.

    Good luck being led by a Socialist that will drive your healthcare cost and your government cost to the brink of bankruptcy. Taxes and spending will be out of control with your new universal healthcare and Barack's messiah cure for all of the world's failings by spending your money.

    America you are about to be royally screwed and put into a Depression ala Barack style.

    Don't be idiots, don't elect a Socialist. You will regret it. Just ask Canadians what they think of their plus 50% tax rates here. They hate, and I mean hate their government.

    October 10, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  15. Enlightened Voter

    Rethuglicans are desperate and its' showing. Did you guys forget that you stole the 2004 election. Now you see how the others feel, doesn't feel nice does it. I hope ACORN fights you to the bitter end, all the way to Barack's swearing in!
    mccain/palin = pathological liars! Correction – clueless pathological liars!

    October 10, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  16. ellington7

    All I can say is that I hate republicans, and if they never win a thing again, it will be too soon....

    October 10, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  17. Schneider (I) - CA

    Do the Republicans not see the hypocracy in their partisan attacks of ACORN? The GOP stealing of Florida in both 2000 and 2004, as well as Ohio are well documented and undeniable.

    October 10, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  18. BJGT

    "ACORN, along with Project Vote, just announced that they had successfully registered 1.3 million poor people this year.

    Get that? 1.3 million, including 148,000 in Pennsylvania, 152,000 in Florida, 217,000 in Michigan, and 238,000 in Ohio. No wonder the GOP is up in arms. They're scared of too many poor people preparing to vote this year."

    October 10, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  19. thank you acorn!

    you guys and girls are the true patriots! and very smart!

    we the people got your back!

    October 10, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  20. Lifelong Republican for Obama, Columbia, TN

    McCain ought to be ashamed of himself for stoking fear, hate, and reinforcing ignorance among an already ignorant electorate.

    October 10, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  21. David, Silver Spring, MD

    This is another attempt to stir the base, which has clearly been the Republican strategy over the last two weeks. With the prospect of Republicans staying home rather than vote for a weak candidate, the Republican party was staring at huge "down-ticket" losses in Congressional seats.

    Getting the base riled with shadowy whispers that terrorists and African Americans were threatening the established order, Republican strategists are doing everything they can to get people to the polls in spite of McCain and his weak platform, not because of it.

    October 10, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  22. Kiah

    Voter fraud only happens at the polls so some frauduelant registration forms is HARDLY cause for all of this attention. Especially after what we've seen first hand as Americans. Republicans have alot of nerve calling out an organization that has registered 1.3 million poor voters. But I guess I would be scared too if the very same people my party has kicked continuously while they were down could help swing this election right out of their control.

    Republicans as evidenced this week are the root of all that is evil in this country. They are racist biggots who would rather let their own corrupt people continue to take this country down the drain then to allow a new fresh face and voice of the OTHERS they've ignored for 8 years to shine through.

    This is why the sane minded conservatives are jumping ship to cleanse themselves of the filth and disgust that McCain and Pain have been dishing on Americans. The thought of McCain and
    Palin anywhere near the wheel of American lives is much more scary than anything they can drum up against Obama. They are disgusting examples of American leadership. Look at what they are showing the world we represent, racist biggotry by the same ole usual suspects!

    October 10, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  23. nelson

    ACORN canvasers could be anybody really...GOP Operatives to
    to create voter registration for the poor and minorities. something
    like those "plants" from the audience at McSame's rallys. You don't
    really think these people believe that we are that naive do they?

    October 10, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  24. Amy

    It wouldn't surprise me to find out later – after the election – that there were also Republicans involved in this scandal.

    Voter suppression is more important to me. If election workers do their job correctly one person should equal one ballot.

    October 10, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  25. Janice

    This is gonna be a nightmare, If you don't have proper ID you should not be allowed to vote period. These machines that they are so proud of are junk and are very likely to be rigged. Remember the stolen elections in the past.

    October 10, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
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