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. Simmy

    I don't believe a word of it! This is another organized plot to discredit democratic votes and voters. The Republican party will stoop lower than this before Nov 4, but Obama will win in the end. Just like that confused African American male that begged McCain to throw more dirt at Obama, this ploy will only drive more Independents and Republicans to his side. What a great time to be alive!

    October 10, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  2. Denise

    McLiars evil ententions prevail none nice try cant wait for the recount or more cheating tactics with the balllots. Every voter who rgistered know you have to show your ID so give me a Break!

    October 10, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  3. Joe in MN

    Acorn and other people committing fraud. STOP!

    Obama will win, and should win righteously.

    We do not want to stoop to McCain/Bush levels.

    October 10, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  4. Brenda C

    Just curious why the headlines don't include Obama donated money to ACORN? If it were Sarah Palin it woud be front page news as it is tonight on CNN. God help us with this stinking media bias.

    October 10, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  5. Dba

    Come on CNN, why are you continuing to run the footage on ACORN without looking into the obvious underside of the story – yes, these are 'bogus' registrations, but only a moron would draw the conclusion that ACORN produced them! Using the names of restaurants, office phone numbers that are disconnected, and vacant office buildings listed as legitimate ACORN offices – CNN can do better reporting than this...here's a hint – check out the possible link to the Republican campaign operatives...

    October 10, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  6. Sheila

    Today I decided to listen to one of those Foolish Republican Radio Channels. I listened to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity for nearly 3 hours. Those guys are freakin crazy! They sound like Paranoid Nutcases!

    Over and over Limbaugh and Hannity did nothing but trying to convince people that Obama is a Muslim, Obama is a Terrorist, and Obama is a Communist. They pounded it in so much, that it sounded like brainwashing! It was ridiculous! It's so scary that people actually listen to that NAZI PROPAGANDA on a daily basis!

    Republicans act as if they are the only ones that are right. As if they are the only ones that matter. As if they are the only ones that should be in our Government. Then they attack anyone that disagrees with them. A 80 year old woman called his show and said she was a Republican that supported Obama, and Limbaugh called the lady a FOOL, and that no TRUE CONSERVATIVE would ever vote for a Democrat.

    There's no doubt about it! The Republican Party is becoming more and more like Nazis everyday! Luckily some Republicans now see them for what they truely are!

    October 10, 2008 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  7. SCOTT


    October 10, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  8. Obama is for UNITING of the PEOPLE

    CNN WILL you please POST my comment.........................Sarah Palin CALLED Obama a TERRIST, that is WHAT she was told to say from McCain and CAMP. NOW he wants us to beleive he WILL not except that type of nonsense. What happen McCain, you didn't know showing the REAL McCain would cause it to BACKFIRE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It was so strange seeing McCain use another LADY to MAKE himself look like he is sincere for Obama. His wife, his VP pick and his Keating friend has called Obama all KINDS of names and TOLD lies while McCain stood beside, behind and in front of them and ALL he did was SMILE. This use of another WOMAN will not work McCain, Stop using OUR woman in this WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    McCain we are not FOOLS. I am sick of you thinking WE are.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 10, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  9. Karl

    I can't stop laughing! Isn't that the height of hypocrisy! The America first, patriot crowd now wants to attack voter registration so we can't perform our patriotic public duty and VOTE. Jeez! What will these desperate, shameless McSame airheads think of next? And in the meantime, Palin continues the Republican tradition by abusing her power. And of course, she's being persecuted by the sons of the devil liberals. Go home to Alaska, bimbo, and gather up your pieces of shame.

    October 10, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  10. jonny

    NO ONE would submit hundreds of registrations in the same batch with the same name with the same signature unless they WANTED to get caught. This was either an individual trying to cause trouble, or the repugs are at it again doing anything they can to prevent a fair election.

    WHEN Obama is president, I hope he fixes the problems with fraud in elections. It should be EASY to have fair elections. The only reason we dont is because many politicians dont want it to be fair!

    October 10, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  11. ready for change


    October 10, 2008 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  12. CindyN--PA

    I like how when Republicans stole the last election.
    Katherin Harris anyone? It was all ok. We shouldnt have even questioned it.
    But now I'm supposed to care?
    Well, see- the difference between a Dem like me, and most Republicans-- I do care. Why? Because I believe in truth, and justice and honesty. I dont believe that Obama had anything to do with it, if there was voter fraud going on. But it's wrong if that is true what ACORN is doing. A true waste of the peoples time.

    October 10, 2008 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  13. Jay

    I am a supporter of Senator Obama and an Independent. I believe in fair Elections. Those responsible for these rediculous actions should pay through the justice system. Examples should be made as a deterrent. It is sad that this modern society has such greed, bitterness, close-mindedness and selfishness. It is no surprise that we are near a depression. This is the same mentality where a patient will smoke, drink, eat horribly for years then come to a hospital and want to sue the 'system' for not healing them. The chickens are definitely roosting!

    October 10, 2008 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  14. Jay

    Wow! Several of you appear to have taken the word right out of my mouth! Yesterday I saw a piece on CNN about a large bundle of voter registration with the same handwriting and obviously fake names (Jimmy John, for example, with the address of a nearby Jimmy John's sandwich store) at the county voter registration office in NW Indiana, the office for Gary, Indiana (heavily African-American). My immediate thought was this: ACORN is being targeted by Republicans and Rep party supporters so much lately that ACORN could not so stupid as to be so obvious about how they fill out the so-called 'fake' registration forms! If they are such a devious organization that has gotten experience at cheating as the Reps claim, then they would not be quite so obvious! So I thought could it be that people who wish to committ and legitimize voter suppression and voter intimidation are laying the groundwork to justify their actions later during the election. While it is possible ACORN is doing this, to me for reasons stated above, it is as likley or more so that this is the handiwork of the people who have to gain by voter intimidation. Hope that I am wrong and that if it is ACORN they would be brought to justice as would anyone else who might be doing this and blaming it on ACORN.

    October 10, 2008 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  15. Nia Hussein - Phoenix, AZ

    FYI – ACORN is REQUIRED by law to turn in every registration form they receive. They go through them and if they can't verify the person they flag it and let the election officials know. Also, just because they receive a fraudulent registration form doesn't mean it turns into a fraudulent vote. Voter fraud has been investigated and is extremely low. One report shows only 18 cases. This is a tactic used by the G.O.P. to distract voters while they engage in voter caging and voter suppression.

    October 10, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  16. alvino

    I have read in Wisconsin that the RNC sent out absentee ballots to registered democrats that would be returned to an address where they are not registered to vote which negates their vote. In Michigan, the RNC challenged votes by people who lost their homes. The crap that McCain/Palin and the RNC have been involved in is sickening. Well, maybe not as sickening as trying to incite a right wing nut bag to eliminate their competition.

    Is Sarah Palin still worthy of being a VP?

    October 10, 2008 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  17. cm

    I smell Recount from the Republicans, that is why they are doing all this in preparation.
    Too much for Country First "my friends", we don't need this right now.

    October 10, 2008 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  18. Freda

    *LOL* Oh come on, it's not BALLOT COUNTING for voting, it's only bogus voters registrations.

    Accusing Obama/democrats of cheating is simply not making any sense.

    October 10, 2008 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  19. Midway

    It is not "voter fraud" unless they actually attempt to vote on election day.

    October 10, 2008 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  20. J. B.

    That's just how we do it in Chicago baby, That's how we roll!!!! ha.

    October 10, 2008 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  21. gerri

    Ever hear the term FALSE FLAG?Google it.

    October 10, 2008 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  22. Leo Hussein Smith - TX

    You only need to rig an election if you are behind. Repubs should be held acountable for those vicious lies. We will be sending those clowns home on permenent vacation.

    October 10, 2008 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  23. Linda Nelson

    Four words: Dirty Tricks....Set Up.....

    Clearly, the people working for Acorn need to be scrutinized....were they being paid beyong their Acorn checks?

    Fishy....especially when we're also hearing about neighborhoods in Philadelpia where flyers are being distributed in poor, minority and college student neighborhoods claiming that people with outstanding tickets/warrants will be arrested if they show up at the polls...

    ....this is too much like Republican tactics from at least the Nixon era to current Rove tricks.

    October 10, 2008 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  24. PUMA 4 HILL

    ACORN is everything America does NOT stand for. It's a method of cheating in disguise to help steal and manipulate the actual outcome of an election.

    Disgraceful... to think my money went to this organization. It's a crime.

    Down with ACORN, Down with the Obama thugs starting with Obama himself.

    October 10, 2008 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  25. Uh...

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but Ann, "false lies?" Do you not recognize a double negative? Why is it that the Republicans who write to CNN seem to be unable to use the English language? If you are going to cry fowl about immigrants and demand that everybody speak English first and foremost, if you are going to constantly see America as under threat, hadn't you bloody well better learn to write your own "national language?" Frankly, I think all of you should have your votes taken away. Simpletons probably should not be allowed to vote. You haven't a brain cell among you. [Obviously this won't be posted, but hey, at least I've not called for anybody to be killed, maimed, or otherwise harmed–the now normal Republican refrain. You should all be ashamed of yourselves. Country first my arse.]

    October 10, 2008 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
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