Project Vote Says NY Times Report on ACORN Erred

An article appeared in the October 24 New York Times that misrepresents comments made by Project Vote about the total number of registrations gathered through the organization’s joint voter registration drive with the community organization ACORN. Project Vote issued the following statement in response:

"We are puzzled by today’s New York Times article. It has always been Project Vote’s position that we collected over 1.3 million registration applications, and we have always said that we identified potentially problematic cards. The core responsibility of local boards of elections has been and continues to be to determine which registration cards are duplicates, which are new registrants, and which are people that changed their addresses. The Times article mistakenly assumes that much of the impact that voter registration drives are designed to have — enabling people to update their addresses so they are able to vote on Election Day — is of no value. In the end, after taking into account these change of address registration applications, nearly one million people we helped to register will be eligible to vote on Election Day because of our work.

"In our interview with the Times we explained that roughly 35 percent of our registrants are expected to be brand-new voters, and another 35 percent will be Americans who needed to update their registrations. Perhaps another 30 percent will be incomplete, will fail to match in government systems, or will be from people who did not realize they were already registered. Less than 1-2 percent will turn out to be deliberately falsified by canvassers.

"The Times article’s characterization is particularly disappointing since Project Vote has been open and forthcoming about these numbers throughout our drive, and in fact explained the same realities about voter registration drives to New York Times reporter Shaila Dewan for a story that appeared on June 15th of this year. "Michael Slater, the deputy director of Project Vote, said high numbers of incomplete applications were not unusual in such drives. He said as a rule of thumb, 35 percent of voter drive applications were new voters, 35 percent were change of address, and 30 percent were duplicates or incomplete."

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