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ACORN defends voter registration efforts after fraud allegations

[JURIST] The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) [advocacy website] defended their voter registration practices [press release] Tuesday after a report surfaced Monday alleging that ACORN engages in fraudulent voter registration practices [JURIST report]. The AP report noted that 3,000 ACORN-submitted voter cards in Philadelphia were invalid due to missing or inaccurate information, and that ACORN was blamed for smaller incidents in Ohio and Colorado as well. On Tuesday, ACORN said:

ACORN does not commit voter fraud. We work hard to bring new people into the democratic process and work to maintain good quality control. We have even gone to court to overturn regulations that would prevent us from checking registration cards for errors. In the rare cases where an employee has done something wrong, ACORN has not only fired that person, but worked to have them prosecuted where appropriate.

The rare but real instances in which an employee has submitted duplicate or fraudulent voter registration cards are an example of workers attempting to defraud ACORN by passing off bad work as good work - a situation akin to a retail clerk stealing from his or her employer. There have been no findings of wrongdoing against ACORN itself and no credible accusations that the organization has engaged in voter registration fraud. This is true despite systematic efforts to distract or disparage us by organizations and individuals who oppose our goals of increasing political participation by low-income and minority voters.
ACORN further noted that the registration cards cited by the AP report amount to less than 1 percent of all cards submitted through ACORN this year.

ACORN is running a voter registration drive in 17 states and faces the accusations on the eve of Congressional mid-term elections. ACORN also faced fraud allegations in 2004 [EPI report] in Ohio, Florida, Minnesota, North Carolina and Virginia, as well as 2003 fraud allegations in Missouri. ACORN registered more than 1,000,000 voters for the 2004 elections, and successfully challenged [JURIST report] an Ohio law subjecting individuals to criminal penalties for aiding or abetting anyone in fraudulently registering or improperly submitting application cards.

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