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ACORN Defeats Anti-Voter Legal Attacks PDF  | Print |  Email
By Media Release from ACORN   
December 15, 2005
(Link to Media Release) Today, ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) announced that the last of three politically-motivated lawsuits filed against the group in the wake of its successful 2004 voter outreach drive has been “dismissed with prejudice.” Each of the three cases (two in Florida and one in Ohio) were brought by partisan law firms based on unfounded allegations of “voter fraud” against the organization – and all three cases have been dismissed.

In 2004, ACORN ran the largest non-partisan voter outreach program and assisted more 1.1 million low and moderate income and minority voters nationwide in registering to vote, including 210,000 in Florida and 190,000 in Ohio.

“We are very proud of the work we do to bring new voters into the process. Non-partisan voter registration and outreach is a key part of our daily work to build more power for our communities, and we will never be intimidated by baseless legal attacks,” said Tamecka Pierce, the Chairperson of Florida ACORN.

In Florida, Republican attorneys at Rothstein, Rosenfeldt, Adler filed two suits against ACORN, working with an ex-ACORN employee, convicted felon Mac Stuart, who had been fired by ACORN for misconduct in 2004. (After his termination and just a week prior to the November 2004 election, Stuart falsely accused ACORN of committing voter registration fraud. In August 2004, Stuart attempted to cash a check written out to Floridians for All, a PAC supported by ACORN that sponsored the Florida Minimum Wage Amendment that was overwhelmingly approved by Florida voters in November 2004.) Last week, Judge James Lawrence King of the Southern District of Florida dismissed Stuart’s claims with prejudice, and granted judgment to ACORN on its defamation counterclaims.

The second Florida suit filed by Rothstein, Rosenfeldt, Adler was based on false information provided by Stuart, alleging that ACORN had failed to submit 11 voter registration applications in time for the general election. Discovery in this case revealed that the applications Stuart provided his counsel were never collected by ACORN. Judge Jose Martinez of the Southern District of Florida dismissed the claims against ACORN with prejudice because there was no evidence to make a case against ACORN.

Faith E. Gay, Brian Koch and Angela Daker of the Miami Office of White & Case LLP represented ACORN in the two Florida cases. “ACORN has shown that the claims made against it were false and frivolous, and the dismissal of these claims should vindicate ACORN of any alleged wrongdoing,” said attorney Brian Koch. In pleadings filed in the Southern District of Florida, Stuart admitted that his allegations of voter registration fraud against ACORN were defamatory.

Similarly, investigations by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and local election officials into voting issues have returned no evidence that ACORN participated in voter fraud. In Florida’s Duval County, for example, the FBI found that all 59 cases of alleged double voting were clerical errors by the Supervisor of Elections.

ACORN staff and volunteers undergo careful training, and each office implements quality control procedures to protect the integrity of the voter process.

In Ohio, a case alleging conspiracy to commit voter fraud was brought by another prominent Republican law firm. Again, the case was dismissed when no evidence could be produced. In Cleveland and Akron, FBI investigators reviewed registration applications submitted by ACORN and found no evidence of any organizational misconduct.

Alleged incidents of “voter fraud” are frequently cited as the main reason for implementing laws that restrict access to voting disproportionately impact low income and minority, such as photo identification requirements. A year after the contentious 2004 election, however, these claims have been revealed to be false. “It’s very political,” said Pierce. “They make false claims against our successful voter registration programs, which encourage people to take part in democracy, in order to justify legislation which would throw up barriers to minority and low income voters.”
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