The ACORN Way: Break the Law and then Sue

Voters in Pennsylvania have not heard the last of ACORN. In 2009, ACORN workers were charged with several counts of voter registration fraud. Also, in Nevada last year ACORN employees and senior staff were indicted amid charges of fostering an environment that led to voter registration fraud. When the news broke, ACORN officials at first denied use of a quota system, but after proof surfaced in the form of a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article, ACORN decided to go on the offensive.

“Despite repeated denials of a quota system, a 2004 manual utilized by the activist community organization ACORN advises managers that workers who do not produce a set number of voter registrations per day should be fired.

‘If a person performs at less than standard have them come to another training, send them out with a team leader. If they still perform poorly then re-train once more, then fire,’ the 2004 management document states.

‘Anyone who performs at less than three voter registrations per hour SHOULD NOT BE ON THE STAFF,’ the directive states.

A quota system for voter registration drives is barred under state law and has been cited as a major factor in pending criminal cases in Pittsburgh. Seven people, all with ties to ACORN, have been charged by Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr., with violating state election laws and submitting fraudulent voter registration applications. Those cases are pending.”

ACORN and its voter registration arm, Project Vote operated massive incident filled voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives in a number of states. The 2004 map below gives voters an idea as to the scale of its operations.

ACORN’s denials of a quota system rang hollow especially with evidence like its own handbooks and the screen shot below, which is from ACORN’s Political Operations department:

Additionally, the unmodified documents shown below are from a 2005 Citizens Consulting Inc. presentation on payroll and accounting, and they reference incentives twice. Also referenced is payroll allocation forms for incentives. Below are screen shots of these documents.

ACORN has possibility committed felonies in several of the states where these drives were held. But in a bold move that illustrates the problems in the system, ACORN decided to file a federal lawsuit.

“The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and ACORN’s get-out-the-dead-people-to-vote affiliate Project Vote filed a federal lawsuit today in an effort to snuff out the Keystone State’s anti-election fraud law.

According to the ACLU the law has been misapplied by Allegheny County’s Democratic District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr., who filed seven charges against former ACORN workers for falsifying voter registration forms. After preliminary hearings, all seven have been ordered to stand trial.

In a press release, the ACLU said the law has been misapplied ‘to prohibit an organization from using flexible productivity standards and goals to manage paid canvassers.’

Translation: efforts to crack down on election fraud are bad because, well, they crack down on election fraud.”

Last week, a judge in Pennsylvania ruled that ACORN is allowed to proceed with their lawsuit.

“A federal judge rejected a motion by state Attorney General Tom Corbett to toss out a portion of a lawsuit filed by the community group ACORN challenging the constitutionality of a law barring the use of quotas to pay voter registration workers.”

While some may argue that ACORN no longer exists, lawsuits like the one progressing through the court system in Pennsylvania should remind all voters of the continuing threat to our electoral system.

Cross-posted from American Majority and Emerging Corruption.

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