One of its perennial efforts is registering new voters, mostly for the Democratic Party, and it claims to have registered 1.3 million of them during the current election season. The Barack Obama campaign has subsidized some of that registration to the tune of over $832,000, through ACORN's affiliate Citizens Services, Inc., one of 70 subsidiaries using ACORN's New Orleans address.
Project Vote, another activist organization which often works with ACORN on voter-registration issues, also brags on its website about its joint effort with ACORN to register 1.3 million people to vote in 21 states. However, the New York Times refutes that claim in an October 23 article, stating the total was closer to 450,000. The Times article quotes an ACORN spokesman as admitting that about 20 to 25 percent of the registration forms submitted are duplicates, 5 percent were incomplete and 1 to 1.5 percent were fraudulent, some of which cropped up in all eighteen states in which they did major voter drives. Last week, Project Vote's Michael Slater admitted that some 400,000 of its claimed 1.3 million newly registered voters were rejected by election officials as either duplicates or fraudulent.
Newsweek magazine has investigated claims that ACORN has committed voter-registration fraud and found some merit in them. Its article avers that "the evidence that has surfaced so far shows they faked forms to get paid for work they didn't do," but they defend the ACORN street workers' motive as financial desperation rather than malevolently trying to "stuff ballot boxes."
Apparently, the champion of the common man, ACORN, does not pay its low income, often single-parent workers an adequate wage, so they resort to illegal voter-registration tactics in order to keep their jobs. In fact, the Albuquerque Journal in New Mexico reported that ACORN has admitted that up to a hundred employees may not been paid at all in that state for their "get out the vote" work. Several have sued for back wages.
So, it wasn't fraud or rabid Obama partisanship which led to the false voter registrations. It was just good old capitalism at work: Exploited $8-per-hour employees resorted to cheating their stingy, heartless employer by padding their performance. A New York Post article elicits information from some Ohio ACORN vote canvassers, who stated that they are required to meet daily voter-registration quotas. Accordingly, they resorted to submitting falsified voter-registrations, signing up people more than once, and bribing them with cigarettes, cash, and food if need be. In one Ohio county, the election board there suspects it received over 8,700 suspect registrations.
The ACORN fraud tactics that have recently come to light are not new. In 2004, four Ohio ACORN employees were indicted for submitting false voter-registration forms. In January 2005, two Colorado ACORN workers were sentenced for submitting false voter registrations. In 2006, four Missouri ACORN employees were indicted for voter-registration fraud, and the FCC targeted its employees in Maryland. In 2007, five Washington-state ACORN employees were sentenced for voter-registration fraud there. This year, Las Vegas officials have raided ACORN offices to seize records, identifying hundreds of fraudulent registrations beyond those admitted by ACORN. Investigations of more irregularities are ongoing in no less than thirteen states.
Barack Obama has admitted, "Now with respect to ACORN, ACORN is a community organization. Apparently what they've done is they were paying people to go out and register folks, and apparently some of the people who were out there didn't really register people, they just filled out a bunch of names." This comment sounds as though he was speaking incredulously about an entity that he had just discovered was perpetrating wrong, rather than one with which he has been associated for 15 years as an employer, employee, attorney, seminar leader, and supplier of copious amounts of cash through two Chicago charitable foundations which he controlled.
When Obama was on the board of the charitable Woods Fund in Chicago with former terrorist William Ayers, it gave large grants to ACORN in 2000 through 2002. He gave yet more money to ACORN from his post as chairman of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, a charitable fund which distributed at least $50 million to radical groups. Obama represented ACORN in a lawsuit against the Illinois "motor voter" law. ACORN employed Obama to train its staff on numerous occasions. Obama paid about $830,000 to an ACORN subsidiary, Citizen Services, Inc., which shares ACORN's New Orleans address, for a "get out the vote" campaign during the primary election season, which the campaign omitted in its FEC filings. The campaign had instead logged it as payments for "staging, sound, lighting." So, Obama was well acquainted with ACORN's operating methods and propensity to skate around the law.
ACORN's own actions belie its high sounding rhetoric about "voter disenfranchisement." False registrations do not just sit dormantly on election commission rosters. When hundreds of thousands of non-persons are registered, substitute voters can come into those local precincts and take their places to vote fraudulently.
Thus, ACORN itself is disenfranchising the honest voters by diluting and counteracting their votes with false opponents. In an era where the margin of victory for presidential candidates has been wafer thin, such chicanery will certainly raise questions about the integrity of the election system in any areas where ACORN has been operating.
This article is the second installment in a four-part series on ACORN. The other articles are: