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Saturday, October 18, 2008

ACORN and Prince George's County

(Posted 18 Oct 2008)

Accused Registration Group Has No Voter Drives Here.
Post, 18 Oct 2008 (Helderman ).
. . . Locally, ACORN has been active in past elections and has worked on other issues, including fighting for homeowner protections and against payday lenders. But national and local leaders say they have not worked actively to register voters this year in the District, Virginia and Maryland, as they have done over the past 18 months in 21 other states.
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In 2004, the ACORN group in Prince George's County was a leading proponent of the ballot effort to amend the county charter and expand the size of the county council. ACORN came under some criticism locally because the movement was largely funded by developers, and critics believed it was an effort by then-council member Democrat Thomas R. Hendershot to retain power on the board.

Hendershot, whose home was recently raided by the FBI as part of an investigation into development in the county, was being forced off the council by term limits. Voters chose not to amend the charter, and Hendershot left the council in 2006.

The group was an issue again during February's hard-fought Democratic primary for Congress in Montgomery and Prince George's counties between longtime incumbent Albert R. Wynn and Donna F. Edwards.

In a complaint with the Federal Election Commission, Wynn's campaign accused Edwards of illegally colluding with independent groups supporting her campaign. He cited ACORN as one such group, noting that several organizations supporting Edwards all listed ACORN's New Orleans address.

Independent election law experts who reviewed the complaint at the time said they saw little evidence to support Wynn's complaint. Edwards won the election, and the complaint is still pending at the FEC.

Edwards (D-Md.) dismissed complaints against ACORN and said they will do little to solve other possible problems on Election Day, including long lines and broken machines.

"This is just politics, and it's going to go away," she said.
[Full report]

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