Skip to content

Obama's ACORN Doesn't Fall Far From The Project Vote Tree

October 9, 2008

Barack Obama is once again “Fighting the Smears”. His latest crusade is the subject of his involvement with ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). Once proud of his glorious past as a community organizer he is singing a different tune these days…
These days being linked to “community organizing” is a “smear”

Why is that Obama?

Let’s take a walk down memory lane shall we?

Barack Obama Never Organized with ACORN – Fight The Smears


lie – canard, concealment, equivocation, evasion, exaggeration, fabrication, falsehood, fib, fiction, hyperbole, mendacity, misrepresentation, prevarication, subterfuge , untruth

New name suggestion: “Fight the Truths”

• Fact: ACORN was not part of Project Vote, the successful voter registration drive Barack ran in 1992.

[Real] Fact: Project Vote has always been a part of ACORN. Now unless Obama was living in some alternate universe where that was not the case. When he worked for Project he was working for ACORN. Project Vote is an extension of ACORN. His denying/lying about their connection is like his saying he is not connected to his campaign. For the lack of a better analogy.

Project Vote is the voter-mobilization arm of ACORN.

ACORN Political Action Committee Endorses Obama -Barack
(I have a screenshot)

By Sam Graham-Felsen – Feb 21st, 2008 at 6:36 pm EST
When Obama met with ACORN leaders in November, he reminded them of his history with ACORN and his beginnings in Illinois as a Project Vote organizer, a nonprofit focused on voter rights and education.
[…] I’ve been fighting alongside ACORN on issues you care about my entire career. Even before I was an elected official, when >I ran Project Vote voter registration drive in Illinois, ACORN was smack dab in the middle of it, and we appreciate your work.”


Among them is Project Vote, Obama’s employer in 1992. Working in partnership with ACORN, the nation’s largest community organization of low- and moderate-income families, Project Vote orchestrates comprehensive drives targeted in low-income urban communities. Organizers are trained to canvass outside locations where residents generally congregate — grocery stores, bus stops, and religious institutions.


• Fact: Barack was never an ACORN community organizer.
• Fact: Barack was never an ACORN trainer and never worked for ACORN in any other capacity.

Chicago Reader

December 8, 1995
Another strong supporter of Obama’s work–as an organizer, as a lawyer, and now as a candidate–is Madeline Talbott, lead organizer of the feisty ACORN community organization, a group that’s a thorn in the side of most elected officials. “I can’t repeat what most ACORN members think and say about politicians. But Barack has proven himself among our members. He is committed to organizing, to building a democracy. Above all else, he is a good listener, and we accept and respect him as a kindred spirit, a fellow organizer.”

Obama continues his organizing work largely through classes for future leaders identified by ACORN and the Centers for New Horizons on the south side. Conducting a session in a New Horizons classroom

LA Times

March 2, 2008
Several community organizers and Altgeld Gardens tenants confirmed Johnson was working on asbestos but said Obama organized residents to act. “He got people to vote with their feet” on the issue, organizer Madeleine Talbot said. At the time, Talbot worked at the social action group ACORN and initially considered Obama a competitor. But she became so impressed with his work that she invited him to help train her staff.

Straight from the mouth of “Toni Foulkes a Chicago ACORN leader and a member of ACORN’s National Association Board.” This article has been rendered inaccessible on Social Policy. Gee I wonder why. As you can see by this screen shot. Look closely, the text in red are active links The article in question has dead links as seen in black. Link.

Barack Obama’s memory hole has become a Bermuda triangle of political
slight of hand the likes of which have never been seen before. Social Policy coaxed, coerced or ready willing and able to lend a hand to one of their own. After having visited the site I choose the later.

Social Policy

Barack Obama Project Vote and ACORN -Case Study the Barack Obama Campaign – read entire doc online

Case Study: Chicago-The Barack Obama Campaign

ACORN’s history of nonpartisan electoral work (voter registration and voter turnout) and leadership development combined during the March, 2004 primary season to make a big difference in the level of participation of our communities in that important election.

ACORN is active in experimenting with methods of increasing voter participation in our low and moderate income communities in virtually every election. But in some elections we get to have our cake and eat it too: work on nonpartisan voter registration and GOTV, which also turns out to benefit the candidate that we hold dear.

The March primary was not particularly important for the presidential race, as Kerry was just in the process of clinching the Dem presidential nomination. But it was critical in the U.S. Senate race. On March 16th, State Senator Barack Obama won the right to represent the Democratic Party in the U.S. Senate campaign. Jack Ryan won the Republican nomination that day, but went on to self-destruct over sex club revelations in his divorce papers. Sen. Obama went on to keynote the Democratic Convention in July and was catapulted to the national stage. As Sen. Obama puts it, how did a skinny kid with a funny name become the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, with 53% of the statewide Democratic vote in a seven-person field?

Obama started building the base years before. For instance, ACORN noticed him when he was organizing on the far south side of the city with the Developing Communities Project. He was a very good organizer. When he returned from law school, we asked him to help us with a lawsuit to challenge the state of Illinois’ refusal to abide by the National Voting Rights Act, also known as motor voter. Allied only with the state of Mississippi, Illinois had been refusing to allow mass-based voter registration according to the new law. Obama took the case, known as ACORN vs. Edgar (the name of the Republican governor at the time) and we won. Obama then went on to run a voter registration project with Project VOTE in 1992 that made it possible for Carol Moseley Braun to win the Senate that year. Project VOTE delivered 50,000 newly registered voters in that campaign (ACORN delivered about 5000 of them).

Since then, we have invited Obama to our leadership training sessions to run the session on power every year, and, as a result, many of our newly developing leaders got to know him before he ever ran for office. Thus, it was natural for many of us to be active volunteers in his first campaign for State Senate and then his failed bid for U.S. Congress in 1996. By the time he ran for U.S. Senate, we were old friends. And along about early March, we started to see that the African-American community had made its move: when Sen. Obama’s name was mentioned at our Southside Summit meeting with 700 people in attendance from three southside communities, the crowd went crazy. With about a week to go before the election, it was very clear how the African-American community would vote. But would they vote in high enough numbers?

It seemed to us that what Obama needed in the March primary was what we always work to deliver anyway: increased turnout in our ACORN communities. ACORN is active on the south and west sides of Chicago, in the south suburbs and on the east side of Springfield, the state capital. Most of the turf where we organize in is African American, with a growing Latino presence in Chicago’s Little Village and the suburbs.

ACORN members were involved in three activities around the primary:

1) Block captains were identified, as early as the summer before the March primary, and provided with lists of registered and unregistered voters and voter registration materials. We attended trainings and accountability meetings to receive our materials and make plans to get the people registered. Then we came back to report on our progress. We also hired voter registrars in the final three weeks to work the supermarkets in our communities. By the February 17 voter registration deadline for the primary, ACORN had registered 12,984 new voters. This was an organizational best for us. (As of this writing, we have added over 27,000 new voters).

2) Block captains then went to work to turn out the vote. They were all volunteers until the last few days, when we received funding to pay some of our block captains in some precincts of the 24th ward (North Lawndale) and the 15th ward (West Englewood) to get out the vote on the last Saturday before the election and on election day.

3) In some precincts in the 15th ward, we were able to hire canvassers to work on voter turnout for a full two weeks before the election. Each canvasser worked two to three precincts during that time.

The results of this activity were very interesting, and mirror what Professor Donald Green of Yale University has found about voter turnout work: where we were able to run a crew of paid and supervised canvassers for two weeks before the election, we did very well. In those targeted ACORN precincts in the 15th ward, voter turnout improved by an average of 50% over the previous year’s city election (the only other election since the redistricting). Citywide turnout increased by only 14% over the same election.

The way the canvassers approached each door was important. Instead of a speech about a candidate they engaged the potential voter in a conversation about the issues, relating their issues to the importance of voting, and moving them to a commitment to vote in the primary. In addition ACORN leaders were making the rounds talking to their neighbors about the election. I am proud to report that the combination of a paid canvass and my volunteer work was especially successful in turning out the vote in my two precincts (34 and 51). In those precincts we boosted turnout by 82% (precinct 34) and 90% (precinct 51) over the previous year’s turnout. ACORN leader Denise Dixon again paired with an effective canvasser, increased turnout in her precinct by 131%. The best performing precincts were the ones with a canvasser and a leader who worked at least Election Day and the Saturday before. There is a noticeable difference between these precincts and those that only had a paid canvasser in it, who wasn’t a local community leader.

We’re not ready to prove anything yet with our data, because we have not run a scientific test, but we believe Green’s results showing that door-to-door field work for two weeks before an election yields significant results, and we believe that there is a correlation with strong local leaders assisting the paid canvassing in winning even more dramatic increases.

The 24th ward has traditionally had higher voter turnout than in the 15th. The work leading up to the election in the 24th Ward was done by leaders who volunteered their time. Some were paid for two half days of door knocking, election day and the Saturday before. Turnout increased in ACORN precincts in the 24th ward at a rate higher than the city average, but not at the rate at which it increased in the 15th. Overall turnout was still higher in our 24th ward precincts than our 15th ward precincts, but the rate of increase was not as dramatic.

None of this is rocket science, but it is important. Good door-knocking by community residents for even two half days can impact turnout. Good door-knocking by paid and supervised canvassers for two weeks can have dramatic impact. And a combination of the two, especially with experienced community leaders working with the paid canvassers, can make a huge difference.

As it turned out, Obama won the primary handily, pulling white wards as well as African American. But no one knew that that would be the case. In each election we must act as if our work is critical for our communities. That is what we did in the primary, and we learned something in the process.

Toni Foulkes is a Chicago ACORN leader and a member of ACORN’s National Association Board.

To tie things up. A question or rather a remark I read on Twitter earlier that caught my eye.
“Obama campaign is paying for voter fraud”
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

The Ohio primary was March 4. According to FEC records, the Obama campaign paid Citizens Services Inc. $832,598.29, from Feb. 25 to May 17.

A Trib analysis of campaign finance reports showed Obama paid CSI for services that stood out as unusual. For example, CSI received payments of $63,000 and $75,000 for advance work. Excluding the large payments to CSI, the average amount the Obama campaign spent with other organizations was $558.82 per check on more than 1,200 entries classified as advance work.

Citizens Services Inc. is headquartered at the same address as ACORN’s national headquarters in New Orleans….In a 2006 ACORN publication, Citizen Services Inc. is described as “ACORN’s campaign services entity.”

ACORN and Obama sitting in a tree, c_o_n_s_p_i_r_i_n_g

In order: ACORN + RICO = racketeering, influence, and corrupt organizations.

Make up your own minds…

One Comment


  1. Ironic Surrealism v3.0 » The Barack Obama-Project Vote-ACORN Nexus

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: