ACORN News: election focus

colist at comm-org.utoledo.edu colist at comm-org.utoledo.edu
Mon Nov 1 13:30:33 CST 2004


[ed:  this is one of the regular ACORN updates, with a special focus on 
the election.]

ACORN News: ACORN News: Election UpdateIn This Issue


            1. Nationwide Get-Out-the-Vote Campaign in Full Swing

            2. Florida Keeps Minimum Wage in the News

            3. Cleveland Fights Voter Suppression

            4. ACORN Gears Up for Election Day Voter Protection Efforts

            5. ACORN Chapters Ensure Registered Voters are on the Rolls

            6. Get-Out-the-Vote Efforts Draw High Profile Support



               
                  
          
            ACORN News: Election Update



            Nationwide Get-Out-the-Vote Campaign in Full Swing

                 

                


                  Orlando ACORN members hold a press conference on early vo
ting.
                
            Having successfully registered 1.1 million voters around the 
country, ACORN's Make Your Vote Count/Get-Out-the-Vote campaign is now 
entering high gear.  Since voter registration closed in most states, 
1,100 ACORN volunteers and workers have already knocked on 1.9 million 
doors in our communities, talking to registered voters in their own 
homes.  This coming weekend, and then again on election day, 11,000 
ACORN volunteers and workers will be making two separate visits to 2.2 
million registered voters in low and moderate income neighborhoods to 
encourage them to vote.  Over the past week, thousands of ACORN members 
in cities throughout the nation have also gathered together at 
neighborhood meetings and voting rallies to call attention to and 
recruit volunteers for Get-Out-the-Vote campaigns. 



            Florida Keeps Minimum Wage in the News

                 

                


                  Tampa ACORN members participate in an early voting rally.
 Florida ACORN members have been holding events across the state to 
encourage early voting and build support for Amendment 5 to raise 
Florida's minimum wage.
                
            ACORN and Floridians for All are organizing throughout 
Florida to pass Amendment 5, which will raise the minimum wage in the 
state by $1 - and increase voter participation by low-wage workers on 
November 2. This week, ACORN and Floridians for All wrapped up a 10-day, 
15-city minimum wage bus tour that hosted events around the state with 
speakers including Rev. Jesse Jackson and local political leaders. On 
Thursday, October 28, ACORN members in eight cities around Florida held 
rallies and press events to support the minimum wage initiative and 
encourage voter participation and early voting. In Ft. Lauderdale in 
Broward County, ACORN members rallied in front of the "Vote Yes on 5" 
bus outside of an early voting site, while in Orlando, following the 
rally ACORN member Janet Hodges, who had spent 25 years homeless, voted 
for the first time. In addition, since voter registration in the state 
closed, over 500 ACORN workers and volunteers have already knocked on 
over 200,000 doors, and between now and election day, 1,500 will be 
talking at least three times to almost all of the 214,000 voters ACORN 
registered in Florida. Florida ACORN Board Chair Tamecka Pierce said of 
the effort: "We've been visiting homes, churches, grocery stores, 
shopping centers
 where Floridians go. We've been there, first to make sure that people 
are registered and that they sign the petition to raise the minimum wage 
- and now to make sure that they get out to the polls."  For more 
information, contact Meghan Scott or Laura Saponara at 305-642-6114.



            Cleveland Fights Voter Suppression


            When the Ohio Republican Party filed with the Board of 
Elections this last weekend to challenge the validity of nearly 17,000 
voters in Cuyahoga County, where Cleveland is located, ACORN and allies 
immediately took action. Geocoding analysis of the list of challenged 
voters showed that 45% of those targeted live in communities that are 
majority African American
 in a county where African Americans constitute only 27% of the entire 
voting age population - demonstrating that African Americans were 
disproportionately affected by the challenge. The GOP compiled the list 
based on returned letters from a mailing that they sent out to 
registered voters in the county. By simply matching the list with phone 
numbers, however, ACORN was able to contact many on the list and found 
that most - including ACORN member William Bacon Jr. - had not had a 
change of address and were unaware that their right to vote was being 
challenged. On Wednesday, October 27, ACORN members and voters on the 
challenge list held a press conference at the Board of Elections and 
ACORN members Mary Keith and William Bacon Jr. delivered a letter to the 
Board of Elections demanding that they put a halt to the challenges. 
ACORN is asserting that it is not the role of a partisan political 
organization to try to purge the voter roles. Shortly after ACORN's 
press conference, a federal judge in Cincinnati issued a temporary 
restraining order, halting voter challenges in Cuyahoga and Medina 
Counties. ACORN is planning protests until the Republican challenge to 
registered voters' right to vote is either withdrawn by the Ohio 
Republican Party or the Board of El
ections agrees to override it, and is investigating further means of 
protecting the right to vote for all citizens in Cuyahoga County. For 
more information, contact Stuart Katzenberg at ohacorncv at acorn.org or 
216-431-0573.



            ACORN Gears Up for Election Day Voter Protection Efforts


            In a number of critical cities and states ACORN chapters are 
preparing election day voter protection campaigns. In Little Rock and 
Pine Bluff, AR, Kansas City, MO, Pittsburgh and Harrisburg, PA, and New 
Orleans, LA, ACORN, in partnership with People for the American Way, 
will be placing trained volunteers at hundreds of polling sites in 
primarily African American and Latino precincts. These volunteers, 
including many ACORN members, will be stationed at polling locations all 
day on November 2, providing voters with copies of their state's 
"Voter's Bill of Rights," where they exist, and providing immediate 
assistance to voters who are not allowed to vote and are not offered a 
provisional ballot where appropriate, and voters who experience any 
other forms of discrimination. Volunteers will also have on a
call a mobile team of legal experts in each city to provide immediate 
assistance. In Kansas City, two volunteers wearing black shirts and 
yellow vests will be stationed at each of 53 polling places. In New 
Orleans, where ACORN has monitored voters rights trainings for poll 
workers and found them largely inadequate, election protection 
volunteers will be stationed at 108 po
lling locations. In Arkansas, a highly publicized incident in which the 
wife of the Republican governor volunteered as a poll worker on the 
first day of early voting, October 18, and proceeded to aggressively and 
incorrectly push a voter to produce identification even though it is not 
required, has drawn attention to the need to ensure voters know their 
rights at the polls.



            ACORN Chapters Ensure Registered Voters are on the Rolls


            ACORN, together with Project Vote and other allies, has been 
working diligently with election officials and voters to ensure that new 
voters are given full opportunity to complete rejected or incomplete 
voter registration forms. Local ACORN chapters are obtaining lists of 
voters whose registrations have been rejected in their city or county, 
and contacting those voters by mail, phone and in person to help them 
complete their registrations or urge them to call the Board of Elections 
to do so. In New Mexico, for example ACORN reached out to people who 
were incorrectly rejected from the voting roles because of felonies. 
Many of those expunged from the voting roles allegedly because of 
felonies were not even felons, and many felons
contacted did not know that despite felony convictions they could still 
vote. In Pennsylvania, ACORN has successfully helped hundreds of voters 
in Allegheny, Lehigh, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties correct their 
files and complete their registrations. In other states ACORN and allies 
are litigating to ensure that all newly registered voters are on the 
voter rolls and
have an opportunity to vote.



            Get-Out-the-Vote Efforts Draw High Profile Support


            ACORN and Project Vote's nationwide Get-Out-the-Vote 
campaigns are drawing diverse and high profile support. On Tuesday, 
October 26, hip-hop star P. Diddy joined ACORN, Project Vote and other 
allies at a rally to kick off early voting in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 
Following the rally, ACORN helped drive hundreds of voters to early 
voting sites to cast their ballot. This coming weekend, ACORN members in 
Milwaukee will also be hosting a Halloween party to provide child care 
for parents who want to participate in early voting. For more 
information on the Milwaukee event, contact Doris Alexander at 
414-289-3162.

          
                  DONATE TO ACORN


            Membership dues and chapter-based fundraising programs pay 
for 75 percent of ACORN's budget. But ACORN also needs financial support 
from non-member allies, people who do not live in neighborhoods with 
ACORN chapters but who support the work ACORN is doing. For more 
information, link to


            http://acorn.org/?4 or contact Steve Kest at natexdirect at acorn.
org or 718-246-7900.



            ACORN, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform No
w, is the nation's largest community organization of low- and moderate-inco
me families, with over 150,000 member families organized into 700 neighborh
ood chapters in 73 cities across the country. Since 1970 ACORN has taken ac
tion and won victories on issues of concern to our members. Our priorities
include: better housing for first time homebuyers and tenants, living wages
 for low-wage workers, more investment in our communities from banks and go
vernments, and better public schools. We achieve these goals by building co
mmunity organizations that have the power to win changes -- through direct
action, negotiation, legislation, and voter participation.



            Check out ACORN's website at http://www.acorn.org.

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            Camellia Phillips

            ACORN - Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now

            88 3rd Ave, Floor 3
            Brooklyn, NY 11217

            phone: 718-246-7900 x227
            fax: 718-246-7939
            acornnews at acorn.org

            http://www.acorn.org



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