ACORN's Registration Practices Draw RNC Criticism

The Republican National Committee is ratcheting up its attacks on the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. ACORN, as the group is known, is a nonprofit — representing low-income and minority communities — that's been registering hundreds of thousands of new voters this year. But ACORN keeps getting into trouble because some of its registrations turn out to be fraudulent — with fake names or addresses.

In a conference call with reporters this morning (Wednesday), RNC chief counsel Sean Cairncross didn't mince words. He called ACORN a "quasi-criminal" organization that's trying to create chaos at polling sites in November. He said it was especially "disturbing" that the group has links to the Obama campaign (the Democratic nominee did some work with ACORN in the 1990s). This is the second time in a week that the RNC has held a conference call blasting the group, which focuses on communities that are more likely to vote Democratic.

Mike Slater is the executive director of Project Vote, which helps ACORN with its voter registration drives. He says it's the Republicans who are causing confusion and misleading voters. He says the RNC has distorted the group's record, and that actually ACORN is the one pointing out registration problems to local election officials. Slater says ACORN is the victim of a few bad workers (it hires people at $8.00 an hour) who are trying to defraud them. He adds: "It's like the RNC having a news conference every time a Wal-Mart employee is fired for theft."

In fact, several local election officials contacted by NPR say that ACORN is trying to clean up its act — there still are problems with false registrations, but they make up a small percentage of those turned in by the group. At the very least, there's a lot of sloppiness with the registration forms. And sorting through them eats up election officials' time as they try to prepare for what's expected to be an extraordinarily busy election.



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Wow, a news story that's, like, news. These guys say this. Those guys say that. These other people say some other stuff.

Thanks, Pam.

Sent by Frymaster | 2:41 PM | 9-24-2008

Since the government doesn't do much to encourage/register people to vote, it falls on the shoulders of community groups like this. I'm quite confident that the Republican party wouldn't be so hostile towards ACORN if it were targeting voter reg'n drives in upscale, suburban conservative neighborhoods. I'm just really glad we have the RNC stating publicly that it wants fewer people to vote, as that clearly designates its official objective: win at all costs, even if it means destroying the very tenets of our Constitution and our democracy.

Sent by Charles D in Cincinnati | 2:44 PM | 9-24-2008

It's strange to criticize an organization that registers voters as being partisan. Most people don't wear big signs on their faces proclaiming their party affiliation.

Sent by Jessica Renfro | 2:45 PM | 9-24-2008

I wonder if some of these election supervisors are republican backers using the "small percentage" as an excuse to hold up a large number of registrations. Some thoughts:

1) The WESH article didn't say that the Seminole county questionable forms *were* fraudulent, just that they may have had errors and *some* may have been fraudulent.

2) The article didn't say that James Stanley's registration came through ACORN. Nor, was there a potential motive stated. Nor, did it say that his address was wrong - just DOB and SSN - and address determines your voting location and districts.

3) Why is SSN needed to vote? I didn't have to provide that info in Nevada. Along with DOB, name, and address that form would enable an ID thief to ruin your life. That's especially disconcerting when you remember that many voter registrations are done in supermarkets, door-to-door, by unofficial, unaccountable people.

Sent by George | 3:40 PM | 9-24-2008

This obviously highlights the fact that the federal government needs an umbrella elections cabinet or organization that remains in place regardless of which of teh Hatfields or McCoys are in office. As of now...NOTHING.

Why should all this be left to us to do and figure out and why is the "Best and Freest Country on Earth" so pathetic as to have no more than 38% turnout as of 2004?

ACORN does not get a pass from me because it tends toward registering poor people (face it...wealthy people are already registered and vote in their all rich, all white districts). If they have problems, they should be addressed and corrected.

But the real problem isn't a bunch of voters trying to sneak in and vote for their candidate 10 times - its the Party of God (you got GOP backward) claiming "voter fraud" meanwhile suing and fighting to dump 1000's of voters in key locations and rig voting machines (which a 10 year old can hack anyway) - this is "Election Fraud" and its way, way, way more a problem or issue than 'voter fraud.'

Amazing isn't it - the richest country on earth (OK - so its all a fake we now know) and it can't even hold a national election with any real degree of certainty like any other modern nation on earth (many of whom are truly freer that we're always yelling we are).

Come on - this is unacceptable. We needd a national election organization that oversees this. If you have an ATM card or drivers licence and you can be tracked with those, CERTAINLY there's an easier way to hold elections than this state by state medieval crap we have going now. Its a cruel joke.

Sent by Kevin Caldwell | 5:08 PM | 9-24-2008

ACORN has been in the news alot over the last few years. Just do a google search for "acorn fraud" and read the dozens of stories.

Do you people find it so hard to believe that they might actually be guilty?

Sent by PJH | 5:44 PM | 9-24-2008

How is it that a handful of voter registration cards with mistakes turn into a plot to conduct fraud? If the GOP spent its time attracting new voters with a platform that reflected the needs of the American people, they could stop focusing on tearing down groups like ACORN. The McCain campaign has also submitted forms with mistakes. In Ohio, McCain sent in 750 bad forms that were rejected. Is McCain committing voter fraud?

Sent by Sarah M | 8:16 AM | 9-25-2008


Sent by Jim Savlen | 9:47 AM | 9-25-2008

Have to agree with Frymaster, above. Lots upfront in terms of tendentious accusations by a clearly interested party; very little and unclear discussion of the actual merit of those charges. Not very helpful at all, Ms. Fessler.

Sent by Charley on the MTA | 9:12 PM | 9-28-2008