Played a decisive role in pushing the 1993 Motor-Voter Bill through Congress
Project Vote is the voter-mobilization arm of ACORN. It is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose professed purpose is to carry out "non-partisan" voter registration drives; to counsel voters on their rights; and to litigate on behalf of voting rights -- focusing on the rights of the poor and the "disenfranchised."
Voter Participation Program: “[Since its inception], Project Vote has helped more than 4 million Americans in low-income and minority neighborhoods register to vote, including 1.1 million in 2003-04. In the same period, Project Vote reached more than 2.3 million low-income and minority voters to educate them about the importance of voting. Our methodology is based on face-to-face contact between voters and trusted community messengers, generally a representative of a local community organization.”
Election Administration Program: “[This program] encompasses every aspect of election implementation, from voter registration application design to voting booth placement to vote counting and everything in between. Working in neighborhoods nationwide, Project Vote documents voting problems and works closely with elections officials, secretaries of state, and state legislators to enact proactive, pragmatic solutions. A central component of our work is the inclusion of low-income and minority voters through the involvement of our community partners.”
NVRA Implementation Project: “[This] partnership between Project Vote, ACORN and Demos aims to improve voter registration services at public assistance agencies. Section 7 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 requires states to offer voter registration to public assistance clients upon application, recertification or renewal, and change of addresses. The Project ... offers technical assistance.” The National Voting Rights Institute and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law have recently become co-administrators of this initiative.
The stated purpose of Project Vote is to work within the system, using conventional voter mobilization drives and litigation to secure the rights of minority and low-income voters under the U.S. Constitution. However, the organization's actions indicate that its true agenda is to overwhelm, paralyze, and discredit the voting system through fraud, protests, propaganda and vexatious litigation. In this respect, Project Vote is following the so-called "crisis strategy" or Cloward-Piven Strategy pioneered during the Sixties by Columbia University political scientists Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven.
As a follow-up to their effort to collapse the welfare system in the 1960s, in 1983 Cloward and Piven founded the Human Service Employee Registration, Voting and Education campaign Fund (Human SERVE Fund). Its objective, they said, was to increase voter turnout among the poor. But unlike Project Vote, Human SERVE did not rely on conventional door-to-door canvassing, or even on the more effective method of registering people in food stamp and unemployment lines which Project Vote had pioneered. Rather, Human SERVE lobbied government officials directly to enact laws and regulations directing public employees to offer to register citizens applying for services at government agencies. This effort realized its grandest ambition on May 20, 1993, when President Clinton signed the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 -- commonly called the "Motor-Voter Act." It ordered every state to provide resources enabling people to register to vote at state agencies, at the same time they applied for drivers' licenses, welfare, Medicaid and disability benefits. In June 2000, Cloward and Piven dissolved Human SERVE, leaving to ACORNand Project Vote the task of making the Motor Voter "crisis strategy" work at the polls. It did, in fact, fuel an explosion of fraudulent voters.
In 1996, Project Vote became involved in Teamstergate -- a criminal conspiracy to embezzle funds from the Teamster treasury, launder them through outside organizations, and then siphon them back into the re-election war chest of Teamsters President Ron Carey in 1996. According to trial testimony, the operation was approved by high-level White House and Democratic Party officials.
A persistent pattern of lawlessness has followed ACORN/Project Vote activists over the years. For example, one Project Vote contractor -- a single mother of three -- forged 400 voter registration cards in 1998. "Some of the addresses listed on these applications were traced to vacant lots, boarded-up buildings, abandoned buildings, and nonexistent house numbers," notes a reportby the Employment Policies Institute. Former Miami-Dade field director for ACORN's 2004 voter mobilization Mac Stuart has testified that fraud is standard procedure for ACORN/Project Vote canvassers -- behavior that is not only tolerated but encouraged by supervisors. "[T]he voter registration project has been operating illegally since it started," Stuart told investigators.
In the 2004 election cycle, ACORN and Project Vote canvassers fanned out by the thousands across battleground states, turning up repeatedly in press reports and on police blotters in connection with fraudulent petitioning and voter registration. Canvassers were caught or accused of filing registrations in duplicate, filing them for deceased or imaginary people or, in some cases, destroying large numbers of Republican registrations.
In 2008, Barack Obama's presidential campaign furnished Project Vote with a list of donors who had already contributed (to the campaign) the maximum amount of money permitted by law. Anita Moncrief, a former Washington, DC staffer for Project Vote, later revealed that her organization had contacted these big donors and urged them to give money to Project Vote -- money which could then be funneled directly into the Obama campaign coffers, thereby evading election-law limits on campaign contributions.