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. linda from South Dakota

    if you did wronf(acorn) then bite the bullet and let go,, like let go completely,, if not,,, then fight for your honor,,,,, seems fishy tho,, ummm

    October 10, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  2. chevy58

    Here is a thought for eveybody out there. Bill Ayers hates the US. He was trampling all over the flag only 7 years ago, he has publicly stated, on of all days 9-11-01, that he had thought that the bombings of our government buildings did not go far enough. He has tried to kill poeple who served the United States, teaches how evil and unfair the United States is to any body who will listen including stutents at our universities. OK so this is all public knowledge we have all hashed thia over again and agian, but my question here is this.

    Why does Bill Ayers like Senetor Obama so much?

    Now this is thought provoking !

    October 10, 2008 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  3. MAJ-Dallas,TX

    This does not suprise me at all. The Republicans are so desperate to win this election they will try anything. First they put this woman as a Vice Presidential canidate to get the women vote. That backfired because the majority of the women voters are not STUPID. Then they try the fear factor and that is not working and have bacfired. Now, they want to try the voter registration fraud. What next? Obama single-handedly caused the market to go crazy, caused all the hurricanes and the damage in Texas, caused global warming?
    Republicans, face the facts!!! You had your chance, you took your best shot and you gambled on the stupidity of the American citizens and guess what? Your best shot was a dud, your Vice Presidential candidate is an "air-head" and the American public is far from stupid.
    Get real and accept the facts, the Democrats have a better choice, the American publiuc want to know what you are going to do for us not who can slimg mud better.
    Obama 08

    October 10, 2008 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  4. Muffet

    The repulse-blicans are at it again. Its called "voter ID." Can't vote without it.

    October 10, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  5. chevy58

    Issues voter,
    Do you think that a group could actually fool all ot the poeple and plant all of these bogus voting documents? Like a conspiricy possibly, but more likely denile on your part. Yes "The chosen one" may be corrupt.

    October 10, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  6. Andy - Atlanta, GA

    Come on McCain/Rove. If you're trying to frame someone, don't make it so obvious.

    October 10, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  7. Jen

    I am an independent voter, just looking at some of these comments. This is a legitimate concern..... It also seems to be factual. So why are people accusing McCain of "desperation" tactics? And some of your theories are so far-fetched that I don't think even y'all believe them. And from what I hear, some these people are being bribed and paid to register to vote several times. If you people REALLY want your vote to count, as you say you do, ACORN needs to stop doing this.

    October 10, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  8. Candy Wilson

    something smells fishy

    October 10, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  9. mike

    Give me a break!!! Sarah Palin is not at fault for not controlling what her husbands actions were. How many women can control what their husbands do? I would like to thank Todd for trying to stop an abusive man from hurting an innocent child. I would do anything to protect my child or any of my nieces or nephews and I am glad to see he feels the same way.

    October 10, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  10. PL

    I'm sitting her watching CNN and cannot believe my ears. John McCain is scum. There are people at his rally, calling Obama and Arab, Using the N word on cameramen, Unamerican and every vile name under the sun. John McCain has lost all hope of being remember as a decent respectable human. This Campaign has incited the racist nuts from all over the country. How could he look Americans and world leaders in the face after dividing this nation for his own gain. John McCain know what he's doing he sends his small idiots to do his dirty work and he stands back and says he don't condone this behavior.John McCain is in the process of sending this nation back 40 years. It would be a very sad day in America if this half man take the office as president of the United States.

    October 10, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  11. Tim

    Republicans never admit their mistakes or their failures. Instead they blame someone else.

    McCain is loosing the race, so Republicans have to blame someone other than themselves!

    October 10, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  12. Sylvia

    Why isn't CNN reporting the voter suppression, but is all over this ACORN story? McLiar is not going to win Campbell, Candy and John King!

    October 10, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  13. Jason

    Voter fraud? In a campaign involving a Chicago politician?!? What a surprise! Too bad, the other side seems to be doing nothing more than feeding hatred. The lesser of two evils has never been this hard to discern.

    October 10, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  14. nate

    ACORN??? ACORN??? Im losing my life savings every day!!!!

    October 10, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  15. Floridian

    This is definitely news, regardless of what party you support. Voter fraud needs to stop from both sides. The link between ACORN and Obama is purely a political ploy, though. If there are hard facts that support that Obama is performing, or encouraging, voter fraud...present them. I don't think there are.

    October 10, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  16. Maureen / Newman, California

    I agree with the first blogger. It's not like voter fraud was committed. Any political party could be responsible for these faux applications.

    October 10, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  17. ot


    October 10, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  18. John

    Do democrats see someone hiding behind every tree. Just admit the truth...Obama is a cheater. The democrat party and its girlfriend Acorn are trying to cheat in the election. You know, there has been 8 years of crying over unproven, untrue voter fraud about Bush. Now that there is real evidence that Obama and the democrats are cheating, all the die hard democrats stuff thier fingers in their ears and stick their heads in the sand. It is still illegal and unethical, even if you refuse to look dems...even your lady fainter god can't deny it. PS...check out Obama's fainting ladies on you tube. It is a reality check of who Obama the liar really is. You have been deceived.

    October 10, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  19. Kate Fergus

    Abraham Lincoln said "that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom - and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth". The more I watch what is happening in this election campaign, the more I fear that this democracy is being abused.

    I think I smell a rat!! A Rovean rat! The idea that there is voter fraud just sickens me. However, for the Republicans to bring it up now – so close to the election – makes me believe that they will stoop to anything to win, even submitting false registrations.

    It sounds as though the country may need someone from the UN to monitor this election to ensure that it is all above board.

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 10, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  20. Ron was a REP now a DEM

    Lets here from McCains pitbull on ethics

    October 10, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  21. Leroy

    Isn't it amazing how the so called "Democrats" are the one's who undermine free and fair elections which happen to be the cornerstone of democracys?

    October 10, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  22. Sam White

    UNder Federal Law, ACORN cannot tear up voter registrations, even ones they know to be fraudulent (In the name of "Ronald McDonald" for example).

    ACORN has flagged such registration cards in advance of submission to voter registration authorities. There was no "big discovery" by the government of "voter fraud", rather, only an ackknowlegement of ACORNS own flagging of questional voter registration cards, which by law they are REQUIRED to submit.

    This false message of "voter fraud" is being used to suppress votes.


    The Republicans act like this is a rampant problem when in fact, it does not exist.


    October 10, 2008 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  23. John

    And I wonder if congress and special prosecutor might look into this with the fervor that they are looking to dig up anything on Sarah Palin?

    October 10, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  24. ready for change

    with all the lies and deception that have come from mccain and palin, it wouldn't surprise me if they were not behind this as well. VOTE OBAMA- BIDEN

    October 10, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  25. sabuc for Obama

    They have over 1 million registrations and are required to turn over ALL of them. Republicans are desperate and jumping on the 2100 in question. Tally all of them and void the bad ones. Remember it is now a requirement to show ID to vote so this is a non issue.

    October 10, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
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