October 15, 2008 in Nation/World

ACORN defends vote practices

Republicans pushing for federal probe
By ANN SANNER Associated Press

WASHINGTON – An activist organization on Tuesday defended its voter registration practices amid new allegations of voter fraud and a call from Republican lawmakers to investigate irregularities.

The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, known as ACORN, has registered 1.3 million young people, minorities and poor and working-class voters, the group says.

Some of those registration cards have become the focus of fraud investigations in Nevada, Connecticut, Missouri and at least five other states. Election officials in Ohio and North Carolina also recently questioned the group’s voter forms.

More than 13,000 workers in 21 states recruited less-fortunate voters, who tend to be Democrats. “The vast, vast majority were dedicated workers,” ACORN spokesman Kevin Whelan said at a news conference.

On Monday, election officials in Ohio’s most populous county asked a prosecutor to investigate multiple registrations by four people who signed up through ACORN. One voter said he signed 73 voter registration forms during a five-month period. The North Carolina State Board of Elections is reviewing suspect voter forms from at least two counties.

Meanwhile, House Republicans also have renewed their push for a Justice Department investigation of ACORN. On Friday, six GOP leaders wrote to Attorney General Michael Mukasey to urge him to make sure ballots by ineligible or fraudulent voters are not counted on Nov. 4.

Whelan said ACORN staffers separate applications with missing or false information and flag them for election officials. All applications, including problematic cards, are handed in because some state laws require it, he said.

Whelan said he did not know how many registration cards had problems but believed it was a small percentage. He was unsure how many workers were fired for purposely turning in duplicate applications or those with fake information, he said.

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