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ACORN Alleges Republican Tactics Have Turned Ugly

October 21, 2008

Orlando, FL - As Floridians go to the polls for early voting, the national grassroots community organization ACORN announced it has suffered a nationwide rash of racial incidents, office break-ins, vandalism and even a death threat since Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain accused the group of fraud in registering voters. Brian Kettenring, spokesperson for ACORN, says the incidents are in response to the senator's rhetoric.

"Sen. McCain said that Acorn's work is perhaps the greatest threat to American democracy, so we're calling on Sen. McCain to tone down the rhetoric and to tamp down the behavior of some of the fringe elements that are among his support base."

Kettenring says his group has flagged any suspicious registrations, and the process is working. Sen. McCain's allegations are an attempt to suppress the vote, he says.

"It's really a smokescreen for what's the larger agenda here, which is to suppress minority voters, particularly, and other new constituencies like young voters."

Harvey Wasserman, author of four books on election protection, agrees. He says it's a concerted Republican effort that could change the election.

"The worst-case scenario is you will have millions of people who will lose their vote, and that this will affect the outcome of the election. This is very clearly a Democratic electorate the GOP is going after, and this is the way that the election could be turned."

ACORN has registered 1.3 million new voters for this election, most of them minorities or low- and middle-income families. Republicans have accused the group of widespread voter fraud, including registering Mickey Mouse in Florida. GOP representatives also have alleged intimidation of their party's campaign workers by members of ACORN and point to break-ins at McCain offices in Missouri. Kettenring denies his group has been involved in any such activities.

Gina Presson/Kevin Clay, Public News Service - FL