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. Ima

    i don't get what the big deal is all about because when you go to vote, you would need to show your ID, so i dont get why the republicans are trying to twist things, when it is obvious, you can register as a snake but when it is time to vote your ID better show you are a snake or it dont matter.

    OBAMA 08'

    October 10, 2008 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  2. Trina

    I agree that many of these false registration applications have been planted by republicans. The case in Indiana was so blatant and so easily detected, it was as though someone wanted it to be caught.

    I thought to myself, 'what kind of dolt would try to commit fraud in such an obvious manner?'

    Turns out it was most likely one of those god-fearing, gun-toting, maintain-the-status-quo, republican dolts.

    October 10, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  3. Mike

    Sounds like ACORN is practicing what we call "democracy"!

    October 10, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  4. keith Franklin, Tn

    There is probably some truth to ACORN. BUT there is also a lot more truth to the GOP trying to prevent voting....what's next GOP...reinstituting the "poll tax"?

    Remember nothing will stop the GOP from trying to win the election.

    McSame and Insane Palin...I am not afraid to say it...it IS lipstick on a pig!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 10, 2008 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  5. PJ

    McCain cares so much about the people of American (Country First, remember) that he is willing to throw out this red herring at the last moment to try to save people in elections offices from having to look through new voter registrations. These faulty applications were flagged and caught. This is just ridiculous. There is NO story here except that the Republican spin machine in flailing to try to save their sinking ship. McCain a leader? He is proving he is NOT George W. Bush. He is WORSE. It is truly sad for a man who used to have some integrity an dignity.

    October 10, 2008 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  6. Ons

    In million of job application people try to use other people’s identity it happens it’s up to the electro commission to ensure the votes are valid and those involved should be persecuted period, people know the law and if they break the law it’s not McCain or Obama. So that’s up to the authority to ensure that there is integrity and honest in the whole process, and above all I don’t see why someone might want to do that
    Go Obama and Joe

    October 10, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  7. Daphine L. Johnson

    Watching Larry King Live tonight and his panel of guests on the subject of Acorn voter's registation drive, one of the guest outright call the African American offical from Acorn a liar. How dare him used that word, to describe a woman that he does not anything and have the audacity to call her Bertha, does it know this lady well enought to call her by first name, or is that his way to put her in place! The real issue is white Americans do not want a black President, some how they feel they may lose their favor son status! Racism has finally reared his ugly head up! The news media needs to call a spade a spade and stop dancing around the issue.

    October 10, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  8. Karen

    I have to admit, this seems too convenient for the Republican party. I think you will find the "skunk" in the Republican party. It's a non issue.

    Isn't it funny that when McCain/Palin got negative feedback from their own party, the press and the public, John McCain "defended Obama". Yet, prior to this, he allowed the anger and rage. If this tactic had worked, I'd be willing to bet McCain/Palin would still be encouraging this behavior from their crowd. Only when it didn't work is when they acted.

    Wonder what they are going to try next?

    Everyone needs to focus on what's important–the Economic 9/11. I can't believe that Republican guy actually stated on TV that he just got a car loan, wasn't having any financial problems and it was only a small percentage of the country that is having problems–guy was on Larry King Live–where has that guy been? Mars? Boy, the Republican party is really out of touch with Main Street America.

    October 10, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  9. MrWright - Atlanta

    This story seems so suspicious to me. Is it not hard to believe that this could be part of some plan to discredit all of the HUGE numbers of newly registered democrats?

    This is set up. It is too much of a coincidence that this is happening in only battleground states and with a democratic-leaning voter registration group. In criminal investigations, evidence becomes suspected of being planted or tampered with when it overwhelming points to one suspect which the McCain campaign has made Obama.

    I hope this is fully investigated, and I am willing to bet that an anti-Obama group – that strongly opposes his policies or race – is behind this.

    October 10, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  10. Bulldog

    While there is no doublt some shady characters who have turned in a few thousand fraudulent registrations the overall mission of ACORN is without a doubt noble and honorable. Out of hundreds of thousands of valid registrations a few thousand is being blown way out of proportion for political reasons.

    October 10, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  11. Texas Trail Dog!


    October 10, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  12. St. Paul Mom

    I think the Republicans are seeing more here than really exists. At the same time, I'm always surprised when I go to vote and no one asks for any identification. I think every state should have voting laws that are easy to comply with and allow the most people possible to vote – once.

    October 10, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  13. petena

    When we have the huge numbers in voter registrations that we just had, we are likely to get registrations that are not valid. I doubt that this is a huge fraud as it is being pointed out to be. I am sure there are errors as some people are voting for the first time. We need to Welcome new voters and help them thourgh the process and not try to discourage them.

    October 10, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  14. Olivia

    Acorn will have to go into the far reaches of its subliminal mind to come up with a good reason why they did what they did.
    Their repeated criminal action was funded by taxpayers too.
    How many more witnesses will have to come forward with their stories of pressure from Acorn before you folks believe it happened?

    October 10, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  15. Bald ex-warrior

    Honestly people, what did you expect? Not EVERYONE is as clean and pure as McCain and Palin. Oh, wait. I suppose I should have said that not everyone is perfect and has faults just like McCain /Palin or Obama/Biden.

    Look hard enough and you will find SOMETHING wrong with any campaign. Because humans are not perfect. The question is not if it happened, but who knew what and for how long.

    That said, I truly doubt Obama had any idea of the individual actions of ACORN personal. And I know he would not have approved of such activities if he did.

    Now... enough with minor distractions (and Yes, this is minor)

    Back to your regularly scheduled needs........ ..... the issues?

    October 10, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  16. James

    This is just NUTS.

    October 10, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  17. Amah

    This tells you how Macain supporters are followers with no thinking faculty.
    Why will the one ahead make such move.
    How can some with common sense complicate every attack they try to pull.
    A friend of Rev. Wright is a muslim. A christian and Moslem at a time? These followers do not even understand why Macain will not mention the 2 conflicting things at the debate.
    Palin belongs to independent group who wants to immancipate out of USA and "-- has no respect for American. That is the height of Patriotism. And Macain has really put Country first.
    And O he is a Teriorist and at the same time a liberal?
    I really want Macain/Palin to continue their hate attack because their Obama attack are everything we have had before and I want Obama to bring out their own affilates, bad judgements and liers. Bring it on Macain.

    October 10, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  18. mama4obama

    The whole ACORN thing is frustrating. Look...everyone out there has worked with one person or another that has managed to screw up the job they were hired to do. While I do think that ACORN should implement some sort of quality control so that they are actually getting the completed product from their employee, I dont think that they have intentionally committed fraud. I also do not believe that Obama did anything wrong in hiring a company to go out there and register new voters. Its actually a shame that we have to hire people to go out and roost up the people who have failed to do their civil duty.

    October 10, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  19. Issues Voter

    I just have to question "why are these so-called fraudulant registration forms suddenly showing up in bulk, when this organization has been registering potential voters for almost 2 yrs?" It also doesn't make sense to me that anyone would be so stupid as to put easily disputible information on the forms and even have it be obvious that all were filled out by the same individual. Sooo....something smells Rove-ish to me. Afterall, the law now requires that these prospective voters show adequate ID prior to receiving a ballot............. so what would be the potential gain for them to commit fraud? It just makes no sense!

    October 10, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  20. Borignal

    I just have to question "why are these so-called fraudulant registration forms suddenly showing up in bulk, when this organization has been registering potential voters for almost 2 yrs?" It also doesn't make sense to me that anyone would be so stupid as to put easily disputible information on the forms and even have it be obvious that all were filled out by the same individual. Sooo....something smells Rove-ish to me. Afterall, the law now requires that these prospective voters show adequate ID prior to receiving a ballot............. so what would be the potential gain for them to commit fraud.....it just makes no sense!

    October 10, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  21. LT for Obama

    Ann Romero:

    You may as well just give up this argument. This has been fact checked by more than one non-partisan organization.

    Now, how about that abuse of power by Palin. Do you really want to push an agenda of honesty here?

    October 10, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  22. catmom

    Perhaps Sarah Palin should also tell the truth. Here we go again, six degrees of seperation.

    October 10, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  23. eric

    Another stupid distraction.

    October 10, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  24. Farrell, Houston, Tx


    October 10, 2008 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  25. BAW

    The Clintons, Clinton Democrats, moderate Democrats, independent thinking Democrats, need to realize that once the Obama people win this election, they will have absolute dominion over not just the Democratic party but the nation for the foreseeable future.

    Their ideology allows them to do anything, use anyone to achieve their goals. The have no shame because they are simply right. Morally superior to all others. If you are one of them, I'm sure you have no problem with ACORN, Ayers, Wright, Soros, Raines, Franks, Dodd, et.al. but if not, you might want to give serious thought to a world run by these people. At this point, we may still have a choice.

    October 10, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
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