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. Common Sense in TX

    I keep hearing about the hate and the lies from the republican side.
    Nothing about the hate and devisiveness from such greats as: Reverend Wright, William Ayers and the unifying effect that if you say anything about Obama you're obviously a racist.
    Which reminds me- I must just be a bitter gun totin, Bible readin' religion clinging old man! Let's hear it for Obama unifying the country.

    October 10, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  2. ayo

    Isn't it a bit suspicious that an entire pile or registrations should be fraudulent? And in a Democratic stronghold in Ohio of all places. Did all of the workers get bitten by the same bug at the same time? Or did someone collect individual smelly forms into one pile. This smells of a setup to smear Acorn at a time when the McCain camp is desperate to smear Obama with anything – Acorn, Ayers, Wright, Rezko – throw mud and some might stick. I am sure each Acorn form can be traced back to a registered worker and to the time it was turned in. Any worker guilty of misconduct can and will be punished. Any untraceable forms or registrations already negated should be investigated as to how they got into the pile. Besides what is the purpose of false registrations if there is noone out there to present a matching ID or SS#?

    October 10, 2008 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  3. mtrought

    This suggest a new strategy for a GOP win

    October 10, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  4. Allen

    Yup. acorn are punks. But Obama has no fault in this so do not even try to go there witch Sarah. Lets talk about the Republicans across America who are removing African Americans from the voter roles because their homes were forclosed on. Not McBush's fault? I agree. The difference is that Obama is not trying to spin lies and false attacks like McBush and Palin are.

    October 10, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  5. MikeWall

    Gosh is there no limit to how low the Republicans and McBush Palin witll sink – get over yourselves – ACORN is simply excercising something you know very little about – it's called "Constitutional Rights"!

    October 10, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  6. Old Guy

    Scary Sarah should resign from the republican ticket and go take care of her family.

    This lady is a power hungry egotist that describes exactly what she says about Senator Obama.

    She is a unAmerican loser.

    October 10, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  7. Emily

    Why is no one questioning the voting during the primaries..?
    Obama has said that he gave Acorn the money to help register voters during the primaries and not the general election.

    Does this mean that all of his primary votes weren't legitimate and Clinton probably had the nomination stolen from her....

    October 10, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  8. Jim

    Rove, you magnificent bastard, I READ YOUR BOOK!!

    October 10, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  9. mtrought

    Dont you republicans have enough money to buy the election has you have done before. Remember watergate and 2000. Do not come telling me about acorn. I cannot believe you republicans do not have enough money to buy this one

    October 10, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  10. Kim J

    Why are the forms showing up in bulk now? Because if you dump them off at the deadline date, there's less time to verify and the staff is busy, so more chance for human error in the verification process. Use your brain people. This isn't a conspiracy, it's an ACORN strategy.

    October 10, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  11. proud army navy mom

    Palin takes the cake for sleaze and sham.

    She plants her vile rhetoric like roadside bombs, when in reality her own life is filled with domestic terrorists.

    This woman is dangerous and criminal. How could anyone be so blind as to support her?

    October 10, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  12. Doc

    I would love to find out more about this. Cause tell you the truth everything they have been throwing at OB1 has fallen off him. I really want to be able to say "I knew this dude couldn't be so clean".

    October 10, 2008 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  13. Independent in NY

    Gee, you don't suppose a less than well meaning operatives from a right wing group could come up with overly idiotic names in order to slander a group representing the greater public good.

    Republicans have shamed this country, and we are wise to you, so no dirty tricks will keep your dirty hands on the reins of power.

    Neo-cons are goin down on November 4th, and then you're next Leiberman!!!

    October 10, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  14. Kim J

    We should all be concerned about any type of voter fraud. The right to vote is our most sacred right in this country. Don't shrug it off because your candidate might get a little backlash.

    October 10, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  15. Obama Now More Than Ever

    Just more from the slander mill of the McCain campaign -this coming from the Party who has committed voter fraud for as long as I can remember. They are disgusting and McCain has lowered himself and disgraced himself in a desperate attempt to grab at votes. He is a sad and pathetic old man who should have retired already. He is not fit for office and Palin is not only incompetent but now a proven liar and criminal in abusing her power in Alaska. She needs to leave the ticket and go home and clean up her messes – from her corrupt governorship down to her own family.

    October 10, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  16. BJ


    Need I say more?

    October 10, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  17. susie

    Farrankhan calls Obama "Messiah". That is scary!

    October 10, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  18. Lee

    Weird how all the facts are not even out yet, but the McCain campaign already has a website up about this.

    I wish McCain had been this responsive while our economy was going down the drain!

    October 10, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  19. Ray

    There is more to Obama than meets the eye. He is crooked, and a lier!

    October 10, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  20. Lourdes

    This is obviously an attempt to discredit ACORN, which is really sad. I can't believe our country is coming to this. We need change more than ever.

    CNN please post me

    October 10, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  21. Willow, Iowa

    I'm still trying to figure out why ACORN would be putting out obviously bad voter registrations, when there are thousands of people willing to sign up to vote. and the Democrats have a good lead right now, this is something that the party behind in the polls might try. Hm, mighty curious.

    October 10, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  22. Mike Weston

    obama was the laywer for acorn acorn is abuse of common sense FBI are rading their offices

    October 10, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  23. Common sense in TX

    I thought the comments were closed

    October 10, 2008 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  24. Julie from Washington

    It only takes a few bad ACORNS to spoil things!!!!

    October 10, 2008 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  25. IMO

    Just like the 2004 election, the republicans will try to find anything to stop the momentum of the democrats. The republicans are known for the aggressive tactics in getting out all kinds of votes during presidential elections, now they're seeing the democrats getting aggressive and they call foul. Won't work, not this time.

    October 10, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
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