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October 27th, 2008
02:57 PM ET

ACORN's actions threaten integrity of voting

Early voters wait in long lines in Gary, Indiana.
Early voters wait in long lines in Gary, Indiana.

Tara Wall
CNN Political Contributor

Under FBI investigation, with about a dozen active and open state investigations for accusations of voter registration fraud, ACORN has got some explaining to do. And now even The New York Times has chastised the organization for "vastly overstating" its voter registration numbers.

ACORN, or the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, had set up in 800 poor neighborhoods across the country, targeting minorities, mostly blacks, to register to vote.

It is a noble enough goal to combat past efforts to suppress the black vote and prevent voter "disenfranchisement." But just as the road to hell is paved with good intentions - the good intentions of some is leading to an all-out path to destruction of the soul of our electoral process.

One Cleveland, Ohio, woman - black, 20-something, first-time voter, being interviewed on television - reported that she was "harassed" and "preyed upon" by ACORN workers each time she got off the bus. Each time she told them she had registered already and each time, they told her it was OK to do it again.

Eventually, she had registered six times and didn't realize she had done anything wrong until an election official noticed the discrepancy and called to notify the woman that her ability to vote could now be in jeopardy because she had registered so many times. What a travesty! Talk about disenfranchisement.

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Editor's note: Tara Wall, deputy editorial page editor and columnist for The Washington Times, is a political contributor to CNN. Before joining the newspaper, she was a senior adviser for the Republican National Committee and was appointed a public affairs director in the Department of Health and Human Services by President Bush. Read her columns here.


Filed under: Raw Politics • Tara Wall
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Jim

    Stop drinking the Kool-Aid!!! ACORN or any other voter registration group... no matter the political view... will trun in bad voter cards. It is inherent in the system. It cannot be separated from the system beause no state attorney does or should want some guy with little training and making less than minimum wage to screen out voters. That is the job of the well trained state officials.

    The real issue is not whether phony voter registration cards are introduced into the system. The question is whether ACORN takes logical and prudent steps to reduce the number fake cards? Do they turn the cards in late to gum up the works? How well trained and educated are the ACORN workers. Do they pay the workers by the name or set quotas? Does ACORN organize the cards in such a manner to help officials identify good cards from fake cards? Looking back... how many ACORN cards have lead to voter fraud?

    Remember, voter registration is not voter fraud. And real cases of voter fraud are rare. Also, ACORN would need hundreds of people committing voter fraud in a specific ward to sway an election. The best way to sway an election is to keep keep hundreds from voting against your position or discount ballots in unfavorable wards. (think BUSH v. GORE)

    Good grief... think. I know it hurts after 8 years of non-use but believe me it is worth it.

    October 28, 2008 at 6:50 am |
  2. J.V.Hodgson

    This is a non story, do your job and fact check the reality and the whole picture re Acorn. Most ( all?) of the invalid ones were pointed out by acorn beforehand to authorities and they have a job to do as well. Even this poor womans integrity is being questioned and that's nonsense.
    Yes, she should be disenfranchised this time as a penalty maybe ( I would let her vote once this time and punish the canvassers) and explained why by local state authorities, in words of one syallable!
    Does it not enter your mind to wonder why:-
    a) Most of the investigations are being pushed where Republicans may lose.
    b) Why is it that Republicans only are upset... do they feel these people my vote democratic? God forbid of course.
    Let the FBI, State authorities and electoral officers do thier job, she would not be allowed to VOTE six times anyway.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    October 28, 2008 at 3:04 am |
  3. Trevor Marwood

    Ms Tara Wall should look at history its the republicans that stole two election.One in the supreme court after brother jed and the rest of the florida GOP mafia stopped counting LEGAL votes.The token women story been harrased ? what would you say if the authority pounced on you.It is not voter fraud unless you have voted.But its typical the threat she may not be able to vote.How many white areas have this much GOP concerns ????

    October 28, 2008 at 2:20 am |
  4. Sean

    Pleeeaze continue to advertise BOTH sides of the voting integrity issue! I see CNN's TV has a call-in number for "voting problems" at the polls, but please be careful here. Many states don't check for ID or citizenship, but rather simply depend on the registrant to provide a REAL address. If a voter submits a registration card with a bogus address, he will not find his name on the registration. And that is the voter's own fault! That is not voter disenfranchisement!

    It is equally as important to have SOME sort of check on voter registrations, as it is to ensure all legitimate voters can vote. An illegal vote is EQUALLY as devastating to our democracy as a legal voter denied. Please promote both sides of this issue equally, when promoting your "TV number" as well as your web ACORN articles.

    October 28, 2008 at 1:45 am |
  5. joseph

    The Republicans are hitting rock bottom and some are even falling like flies. Shameful to see people like Tara Wall trying to associate Obama to Acorn. It will not work. Tara Wall is really a watergirl for the Republicans. We are not stupid. Shame on Tara Wall and Lou Dobbs for trying to bring this good senator down by all means.

    October 28, 2008 at 12:20 am |
  6. Monica

    I'm not understanding why some think it is Obama's responsibility to denounce ACORN when McCain also has ties to this organization. I realize that ACORN's targeted party is primarily Democratic, but Obama is not a representative or spokesperson for the organization. Yes, he gave a donation to them to assist them with their efforts, but that would be expected of anyone that would have been on the Democratic ticket.

    October 27, 2008 at 11:32 pm |
  7. Tim Andrews

    Incidentally, ACORN has not been charged officially with any crimes. All of Tara's examples of wrongdoing are nothing more than anecdotal. On the other hand, there have been several examples of actual republican voter fraud, specifically in California. This wasn't some low level employee regerstering the same person over and over, who, unless he or she has several unregerstered identical look-a-likes, will only get one vote. The criminally charged republican, surreptitiously registered persons who thought they were signing a petition. Now, that's a criminal offense with a real criminal behind the charge.

    October 27, 2008 at 11:14 pm |
  8. Kathryn Hall

    Dear CNN: Asking Tara Wall to report on Acorn is like putting the fox in the henhouse. The woman has zero journalistic instincts. She's a watergirl for the Republican party, only interested in her own ambitions.

    October 27, 2008 at 4:24 pm |
  9. Mary V., Salt Lake City, UT

    Well, Tara Wall, what about Republican voter fraud?

    Allen Raymond's book "HOW TO RIG AN ELECTION" talks about how he was jailed, for voter fraud. Mr. Raymond is a former GOP operative. The book talks about Republicans hiring off-duty policemen wearing their uniforms, to stand outside of polling places in minority neighborhoods. In order to intimidate voters. Despicable.

    How about the stories reported by CNN this weekend about machines in W. Virginia and Ohio, registering the wrong candidate? A person voting for Obama would have McCain show up.

    You can cry ACORN all you want, in the end the GOP is doing its best to throw the election their way.

    The Republican-lies-hate-fear-and-division politics will be rejected!

    October 27, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  10. Larry

    heheheh Tara you should have a chat with Ms. Brazile.

    October 27, 2008 at 3:21 pm |
  11. Cindy

    Thanks Tara for a great article and for actually telling the truth about ACORN on CNN. It seems they want to sweep it under the rug and think it doesn't matter. Yet anytime someone can falsely register to vote, no matter if they end up voting or not it still bodes bad for our system.

    The fact that ACORN has had major problems with this before should be a red flag to everyone. It means that the ones in charge are not being truthful by saying it is workers that they hire that do this. If that were so then you'd think they'd have a better vetting process. The truth is they don't care. They probably encourage it.

    The fact that Obama still hasn't denounced them tells a lot. It shows that he doesn't care how he wins as long as he wins. Even if it is by cheating. It also goes to prove him hanging out with more corrupt people.

    I hope Boehner and the rest can get ACORN kicked out of voter registration all together! There should be a law that if the company is caught once doing this that they can never register voters again.

    Cindy...Ga.

    October 27, 2008 at 3:14 pm |
  12. Paula Wesley

    Let the Attorney Generals office handle Acorn.

    October 27, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  13. JC- Los Angeles

    It's hilarious to now see the turn coats at the New York Times getting in on a story that might adversely impact their dear Senator Obama.

    The media, like the mortgage banks, will all suffer greatly after this election since they are no longer impartial and have sacrificed self-respect for a new storyline.

    October 27, 2008 at 3:05 pm |