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ACORN Voting Drives Come Under Scrutiny

POSTED: 02:47 PM ET, 10/13/2008 by Derek Kravitz

State and federal investigators are questioning the validity of some voting drives performed by the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or ACORN, the group whose registration tactics are largely aimed at low-income citizens.

Such voting drives tend to favor Democratic candidates, according to an Associated Press analysis of voting data.

ACORN, which claims to have registered 1.3 million people nationwide since 2007, says that any fraudulent voting registrations have more to do with canvassers making up fake applications to get better commissions than a concerted effort to influence the outcome of the election.

Last Tuesday, Nevada authorities seized records from the group's Las Vegas offices, saying they submitted fake voter-registration forms, including applications purportedly from the starting lineup of the Dallas Cowboys.

Two Nevada state agencies had started the probe in July after complaints over voter registration practices, potential voter fraud and enforcement of laws regarding voter intimidation.

Voter drives conducted by ACORN in several other places, including the bellwether state of Missouri, are under scrutiny by local elections officials for the accuracy of cards gathered by its workers.

Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) campaign has criticized the group, questioned the organizations' ties to his opponent, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), and chants of "No More ACORN" can be heard at some of the Republican senator's rallies.

"It is very difficult to ascribe any other motive to the activities of ACORN other than to swamp the system with registration cards" that range from illegible to being drawn from names from telephone listings or other public directories, said Republican National Committee Chief Counsel Sean Cairncross.

In response, Obama's campaign has said he only represented the group as a lawyer and never worked on its behalf as a community organizer.

Appearing on Fox News's "On The Record With Greta Van Susteren" for an exclusive interview, ACORN'S national spokesman, Scott Levenson, called the timing of the investigations "curious."

"What ACORN did, along with Project Vote, is as American as apple pie," Levenson said. "What we're doing is out there encouraging people to participate in the process. That work should be applauded."

By Derek Kravitz |  October 13, 2008; 2:47 PM ET
Previous: Global Financial Crisis, Stevens' Trial, Report Slams TSA | Next: The AIG Executive Under the Spotlight


Please email us to report offensive comments.

Two things. First, ACORN claims above that "any fraudulent voting registrations have more to do with canvassers making up fake applications to get better commissions". Yet on their website they claim that "Our canvassers are paid by the hour, not by the card."

Those two statements can't both be true - so which is it?

Second, the Obama campaign paid $832,598 to Citizens Services Inc., a consulting firm affiliated with ACORN; ACORN ended up with $80,000 for its get-out-the-vote campaign.

Perhaps Derek Kravitz might be interested in finding out the whole truth about these matters.

Posted by: Paul in NJ | October 13, 2008 4:39 PM

See the best Sarah Palin impersonations, short clip. Very Funny.

See What they didnt show during the debate
What the media didnt cover, the debate outtakes. A tense moment between tom brokaw and John McCain.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 13, 2008 5:30 PM

The fraudalent voter registrations could as well have been inserted there to vote for McCain.

A voter registration DOES NOT establish WHO they want to vote for.

Posted by: El Mugroso | October 13, 2008 8:01 PM

Are you kidding me? This is a huge push on the liberal side to push the vote to the Obama side. You must be an uneducated idiot not to understand what it happening with ACORN. The people that were allowed to register more than once need to be arrested for a FEDERAL crime and put in prison. ACORN needs to be shut down and the people that run it need to be put in prison also. This is the most ridiculous thing I have seen in this country in a long time.

Posted by: zzesty | October 14, 2008 12:43 AM

Ever wonder what would happen if MTV hosted a presidential debate, well now you get to find out.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 14, 2008 12:59 AM

All you have to do is go to their website to understand that they are absolutely unshamed of their Democrat bias. They don't even attempt to hide it.


"ACORN has registered over 1.3 million voters. Over 60% are people of color. This is a horrifying development for Republicans and the McCain campaign.

And since no one has ever been proven to successfully cast an illegal vote as a result of phony voter registration, the rabid hysteria by the right wing over this issue can only mean one thing - cover for their own crimes to steal this election.

We all know the drill - cry registration fraud while systematically purging millions of voters from the voter rolls, throwing out votes in African American areas, running campaigns to suppress voter turnout through various deceptive and illegal means.

And the raid on the ACORN offices is undoubtedly a continuation of one of the US Attorney Gate scams, bogus prosecutions for the bogus voter fraud claim.(Voter fraud: not to be confused with election fraud)

I'm no Poblano. But my win-o-meter has never been wrong in a presidential election - until 2000 and 2004. I have said for months now, if Obama loses this election, it will be because the Republicans stole it.

And now we are seeing how. Challenge all these new people who have joined the political process, and use that challenge to cover up their suppression of the vote - just like 2004.

What are the facts again? No one has ever been proven to successfully cast an illegal vote as a result of phony voter registration. Ever.

And ACORN is doing a damn good job. When some individual abuses the system, ACORN has to by law turn in the bogus registrations.

And the final fact: Republicans hate democracy."

That last statement speaks volumes. They are a partisan organization. Obviously, this makes them highly suspicious to me.

Posted by: D. Rodriguez | October 14, 2008 6:22 AM

So, according to the GOP geniuses, the starting line up for the Dallas Cowboys registered by an ACORN rep to get more commission is going to somehow show up at the voting booth?

Voter fraud is what the GOP does with DIEBOLD electronic voting systems. Watch "Democracy Hacked" on youtube to get a sense of what voter fraud is all about.

A phony registration card is not going to throw the election in any direction, or perhaps somehow the Dallas Cowboy line up is going to go vote in Nevada... ridiciulous! This is a racist ploy because ACORN works with a lot of minorities.

Posted by: Jack | October 14, 2008 6:22 AM

I am not one to cast blame easily. I have tried to read about this issue extensively and the results have been mixed. I think there is a current connection between the Obama campaign and ACORN'S efforts to register voters. I think that the Obama Campaign probably paid ACORN to do some voter registration for them in several battle ground states. That certainly appears to be the case in Nevada. I think it is also clear that when Barack Obama was in his mid to late 20's he worked for ACORN as a lawyer and he probably taught some of the ACORN workers 20 years ago how to do what they do. None of this is illegal or unethical.

It seems clear to me that ACORN pays its workers to register voters and it determines their pay based on hours worked. We have no evidence that they are paid otherwise. If ACORN paid by the number of forms returned by a worker, they would be inviting the worker to commit fraud. I can't believe they would be that stupid.

There seems to be some evidence that some workers have submitted falsified voter registration forms, but there does not seem to be evidence that this practice has been pervasive and wide spread. Clearly, it has occurred.

There is some evidence to suggest that ACORN has been straightforward with the state authorities in complaining about their employees who have falsified records.

At this point I don't believe there is enough evidence either way to establish the guilt or innocence of ACORN or to link any fraud or misdeeds to the Obama / Biden Campaign.

I think we should continue to be vigilant and to seek more information, but we should cease and desist from accusations and name calling.


Posted by: Lowell Copeland | October 14, 2008 11:35 AM

I agree with "El Mugroso"'s post. This whole thing with Obama, Acorn, Ayers, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac smells beyond belief. I think this bum Obama is as vile and crooked as they come. I shudder to think of the consequences our country faces if he wins the election. Wise up, America.

Posted by: billw1946 | October 14, 2008 12:33 PM

I wanted to post my experiences of ACORN as someone who has benefited from their services.

I hadn't known that they worked on voter drives, but I know they worked on fighting subprime loans and predatory lending. They work with people who have experienced these bad loans and help them get into good fixed rate mortgages so they can keep their home - which is good for all of us.

My boyfriend and I bought our first home (a condo) in an expensive California area. With an ACORN mortgage we were able to get a good mortgage that made our expensive (but cheapest in town) condo affordable. My partner and I have good credit ratings, good earnings but had trouble coming up with 20% down. Our ACORN mortgage waived our PMI - which has been such a help.

No one wants voter fraud, and I hope that ACORN can screen their registration forms in the future. But I feel they are a TERRIFIC organization that helps people buy homes (the RIGHT way) and therefore helps our economy avoid more foreclosures.

Posted by: Deb | October 14, 2008 1:10 PM

I would pull every voter registration that ACORN have turned into every state, county and require those individuals to sign a new request for registration with a PHOTO ID AND A SS# that match.

Then we can vote fair and balanced.

If you are leaning toward Obama, please take time to research his past.

Full of Lies and Bad company !
Full of Stealing our tax dollars !

Posted by: Joanne in Arkansas | October 14, 2008 2:14 PM

ACORN appears to be a stand-up organization that tries to get people out to vote who would otherwise not do so. However, this is just partly what they do. I'm sure the founding vision of this organization was 100% in good faith. Now, corruption has taken over. There are instances beyond the Dallas Cowboy registrations such as a man sign who registered 77 times, etc., etc. Of course, the Dallas Cowboys would need to go to Vegas to vote and this other guy would need to show up 77 times...a bit rediculous. What happens though is that there are a certain # of registered voter ballots sent to each voting location. At the end of the night, there of course would be a ton of left over ballots becuase these people don't exist, ACORN staffers working these voting locations would then fill them in for Obama. Therefore breaking the law, distorting the vote, and misrepresenting the US population.
Also, these fake names are used so that someone can vote more than once under different names.
ACORN should be prohibited from taking part in the election process if not fined, arrested, or put on criminal trial. They are essentially attempting to destroy our nation's most sacred founding document, the US Constitution.

Posted by: Charlie | October 14, 2008 2:32 PM

I agree with you Charlie. I understand that ACORN has good intentions, but really what is the point of there organization when it comes to registering voters? If you want to vote, can't you just go to your local post office, city hall, etc. and register there. I think it is great to encourage voting but these poeple should be registering themselves. Showing up and showing their id. The way they are doing this leaves it open for corruption and no matter if you are a liberal or conservative, it is just wrong.

Posted by: concerned voter | October 14, 2008 4:36 PM

I thought voter ID was required when voting. I don't understand what the problems are with voter application. Ulla

Posted by: van osdol | October 15, 2008 10:21 AM

I don't think the entire organization was set out to corrupt the election. As stated earlier, the person who registered the false people would have to have several false ID Cards and basically spend the entire day voting over and over in order for this to have worked. And really, to think the entire staff of a voting location is "in on it" just seems silly. I have several family memebers who are volunteers at various locations....I can't see them ALL being in on the conspiracy to get Obama elected. Someone has a very vivid imagination.

Does anyone recall when Donald Duck's name was written on the ballot? Not by one person, but thousands. Was that REALLY a conspiracy across the country to get Donald Duck elected?

Posted by: Babym | October 15, 2008 10:19 PM


Now you know the deliberate effort that acorn put forward to destroy our banks and destroy elections.ANY DOUBTERS>why would obama pay acorn $800,000.00 to acorn for voting and then tell us he's not using acorn he has his own group registering>it's because Acorn's main objective since the begining is to DESTROY THE VOTING PROCESS WITH SO MANY BOGUS REGISTRATIONS, they want people to demand difficult registration...then say it GOES AGAINST THE POOR and get the poor reved up and ready for revolution (just as Acorn and CRA's objective with banks-flood the system), so he has to pay AGAIN to have a REAL GROUP TO GET OUT THE VOTE.

Posted by: Anonymous | October 16, 2008 6:22 AM

Dem idiots. ACORN not only turns in millions of false registrations but they destroy thousands of Republican registrations. I have personally gone threw ACORN's garbage, at the Miami office, retrieved 1000's of them and this was in the 04 and this election. What this does is prevent Republican from voting because they think it is coming in the mail and they miss the 30 day before the election deadline. HUSSEIN OBAMA should be blamed for this because he is simply looking the other way, it is being done in his name and he paid ACORN $832,000.

Posted by: corydig | October 16, 2008 6:01 PM

How do they know to destroy the republican registrations? You don't tell them how you vote. You just register.....hey, wait a minute...I though only poor uneducated democrats registered through them.

And besides, aren't the republicans listening, watching or paying attention to the news? If they know ACORN is biased, why are they still registering with them?

Seems them is some pretty dumb people then, huh?

Posted by: Anonymous | October 16, 2008 10:38 PM

All ACORN is, is a hat rack. Everyone knows Tony Romo won't be showing up in Pittsburgh to vote-but it can give some plausible deniability to the Rs that haven't voted otherwise, and would never vote otherwise, regardless of how far down the sewer this country gets flushed. These people know they can't really stand on the McCain/Bush economic record, (which unfortunately also has sever National Security implications), so they have to find something to hang their hats on.
This is it.
What's funny about it, is that they just don't understand what's happening to the economy-they are incapable of putting two and two together. bush borrows money to give the mega rich a tax cut, (and he throws a couple of bucks to the middle class because they're gullible), he increases the debt load by well over 100,000.00 per Federal Income Tax Payer, he ships off another 10 Billion per month in taxpayer money to a country with a 70 billion dollar surplus, and people see no connection with their vote to put him in office. They are responsible for continuously allowing themselves to be duped like hapless con victims.
This is just the latest example. However, I believe Obama's been able to expand the voter pool. I'm not confident about OH or FL, (to many older folks that have been eating the pablum for too long), but CO and NV should do the trick.
Good luck America

Posted by: Biff | October 17, 2008 3:03 PM

ACORN is required by law to submitted every registration to the application office whether filled out by "Micky Mouse" or not.
If you think someone is actually going to get a voter ID # just because they put a fake name on an application- you don't understand the voting process.

Posted by: AJ | October 17, 2008 4:18 PM

You cant change the subject this time GOP !
Why would America REWARD complete Republican failure ?

We wont.

Posted by: PulSamsara | October 17, 2008 7:05 PM

As with every Republican smear, all it takes is a little fact checking to discredit them. It's desperation time, and the lies are coming thick and fast. Its too bad much our our populace is too ignorant and uninformed to look into these fraudulent claims, helped along by a gullible and complicit media.

Posted by: Michael | October 18, 2008 12:12 PM

"You must be an uneducated idiot not to understand what it happening with ACORN"

Yep thats you zzesty!

Posted by: Bill | October 18, 2008 12:14 PM

ZZESTY: Is it more ridiculous than the Florida and Ohio voter frauds executed by the Republicans in 00 and 04? Your selective memory is comical...Let me make this plain and simple or you Zest; Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck ..whatever other nonexistent entity that these folk were registering cannot vote. Mickey Mouse and Donald duck are not real. The Dallas Cowboys lineup..maybe they were registered ..maybe they will truly vote. I have a feeling most of them were registered already anyway...some will vote for McCain. Shut up already about Acorn..there's nothing to these charges.

Posted by: aquabionic | October 20, 2008 10:03 AM

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