Wednesday, October 22, 2008

ACORN Not Telling Local Reporters the Whole Truth

On Saturday the local ACORN chapter had a news conference. I attended. When it was time for some Q&A I directly asked ACORN's Matthew Henderson if the group considered itself non-partisan? He answered it was a non-partisan group. I followed up the question with another. Had the group ever endorsed a candidate? Henderson assured me and the other reporter's in the room that they had not and would not.

Now, look what I found posted by editor by Katrina vanden Heuvel on The Nation back in February . It's an endorsement the group made of Barack Obama during the presidential primary.

So now the question is are they lying about training, background checks and the integrity of their local voter registration operation?

Perhaps its time for the state legislature to consider banning all (Democratic and Republican) third party registration groups. Why would it be so difficult to mandate all voter registrations be completed at the county clerks office or your local Motor Vehicles Office.

I imagine there will be those that insist that some in the community can't find there way there or it is an inconvenience. I say if you can't make it to the office you probably won't make it to the polls anyway.

The endorsement article posted by Katrina vanden Heuvel on 02/23/2008 @ 3:46pm

Yesterday, ACORN's political action committee endorsed Barack Obama for President. This is an important nod from a group that understands the urgent needs of Americans most hurt by this economy and how to organize for social and economic justice.

ACORN is the nation's largest community organization of low- and moderate-income families, with over 350,000 member families, organized into 800 neighborhood chapters, in 104 cities nationwide. The endorsement reflects a belief that Obama – who worked as a community organizer on the South Side of Chicago – understands that change must come from the ground-up, as part of a working coalition, rather than from position papers.

As Maude Hurd, ACORN's National President, put it, "What it came down to was that Senator Obama is the candidate who best understands and can affect change on the issues ACORN cares about like stopping foreclosures, enacting fair and comprehensive immigration reform, and building stronger and safer communities across America."

In last night's debate, Obama spoke as a candidate --and a former community organizer--when he said: "The reason that this campaign has done so well is because people understand that it is not just a matter of putting forward policy positions…. If we can't inspire the American people to get involved in their government… then we will continue to see the kind of gridlock and nonperformance in Washington that is resulting in families suffering in very real ways…. I'm running for president to start doing something about that suffering, and so are the people who are behind my campaign…. It is my strong belief that the changes are only going to come about if we're able to form a working coalition for change…. The problem we have is that Washington has become a place where good ideas go to die."

When it comes to rebuilding New Orleans, the foreclosure crisis, poverty, and an economy where growth doesn't just benefit the wealthy , change is going to come through ongoing organization and mobilization at the grassroots. Obama gets that fundamental political argument. That's one of the reasons The Nation endorsed him. That's why his campaign has been so successful against a powerful, top-down, Clinton machine. And that's why yesterday he won ACORN's important endorsement.


barb said...

An organization's PAC is separate from its organization. Henderson does not work for the PAC, thus his answer was correct, I believe.

michelle emaders said...

A tiny percentage of these registrations have problems, which are almost all caught before they are mailed, and we should scrap the whole system?

"Perhaps its time for the state legislature to consider banning all (Democratic and Republican) third party registration groups."

I don't think the word "party" here refers to political party. These hundreds, (probably thousands) of agents are certified as individuals. The work probably couldn't be done without them, but no one has to use one or visit the Clerk's office to register. They can get a form at a library or online, or call the County Clerk's office and have one sent to them. People who register by mail must show a copy of an ID the first time they vote after that.

Also, New Mexico doesn't enforce the Motor Voter law, and many people are a long way from an MVD office. Without these volunteers, the County Clerk's and MVD offices would have to hire more staff, and it might take people longer at the MVD offices.

It looks like ACORN has learned to choose and supervise their volunteers more carefully, to prevent these problems in the future.

Benson said...

Nice try Barb, but you're splitting hairs on this one.

And you've not responded to what I think Peter's larger point is. That all third party voter registration should be banned in New Mexico, which, given the amount of trouble they have caused and the apparent lack of oversight by the larger local and regional offices, is a good idea.

Grace said...

The amount of trouble they've caused? What Peter fails to mention in his post is that the checks that ACORN uses to evaluate the registrations are the reason we know about the problems at all. And that the problematic registrations are only a tiny fraction of the number of total registrations.

The "trouble" you mention was stirred up by the state's Republican Party, which decided to make a shitstorm out of the correct handling by ACORN of suspicious ballots. Should we punish the local GOP for their inflated accusations? This is pure baby-bathwater bullshit.