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ACORN to Play Role in 2010 Census

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ACORN to Play Role in 2010 Census

Mensaje por freedom of expression el Mar Mar 17, 2009 7:33 pm

ACORN to Play Role in 2010 Census

The U.S. Census Bureau is working with several national
organizations to help recruit 1.4 million workers to produce the
country's 2010 census, including one with a history of voter fraud
charges: ACORN.

The U.S. Census is supposed to be free of politics, but one group with a history of voter fraud, ACORN, is participating
in next year's count, raising concerns about the politicization of the decennial survey.The
Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now signed on as a
national partner with the U.S. Census Bureau in February 2009 to assist
with the recruitment of the 1.4 million temporary workers needed to go
door-to-door to count every person in the United States -- currently
believed to be more than 306 million people.A U.S. Census "sell sheet," an advertisement used to recruit national partners,
says partnerships with groups like ACORN "play an important role in making the 2010 Census successful," including by
"help[ing] recruit census workers." The
bureau is currently employing help from more than 250 national
partners, including TARGET and the National Association for the
Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), to assist in the hiring effort.But
ACORN's partnership with the 2010 Census is worrisome to lawmakers who say past allegations of fraud should raise concerns
about the organization."It's
a concern, especially when you look at all the different charges of
voter fraud. And it's not just the lawmakers' concern. It should be the
concern of every citizen in the country," Rep. Lynn A. Westmoreland,
R-Ga., vice ranking member of the subcommittee for the U.S. Census,
told "We want an enumeration. We don't want to have any
false numbers."ACORN, which claims to be a
non-partisan grassroots community organization of low- and
moderate-income people, came under fire in 2007 when Washington State
filed felony charges against several paid ACORN employees and
supervisors for more than 1,700 fraudulent voter registrations. In
March 2008, an ACORN worker in Pennsylvania was sentenced for making 29
phony voter registration forms. The group's activities were frequently
questioned in the 2008 presidential election.ACORN

spokesman Scott Levenson told that "ACORN as an
organization has not been charged with any crime." He added that fears
that the organization will unfairly influence the census are unfounded."It will be the Census Bureau that determines
the role and scope of its 300 national partners. ACORN is committed to a fair and accurate count," Levenson said.The

census is an official count of the country's population mandated by the
U.S. Constitution. It is used to determine distribution of taxpayer
money through grants and appropriations and the apportionment of the
435 seats in the House of Representatives. Every U.S. household unit,
including those occupied by non-citizens and illegal immigrants, must
be counted.Westmoreland
and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, a member of the House census subcommittee, said the panel has held hearings to make sure
the penalties for census takers committing fraud are clearly defined."I feel fairly confident that the penalties for
an individual manipulating the count are pretty severe," Chaffetz said. The penalty for any fraudulent activity can be up
to five years in jail.Westmoreland said he hopes the Census Bureau will maintain its measures to ensure an accurate
report."I feel comfortable right now with the people at the census department that they're going to put forth their
best effort to have a fair count," he said.The U.S. Census Bureau has refuted any suggestions that ACORN or any other
groups will fraudulently and unduly influence the results of the census."The Census (Bureau) is a nonpartisan, non-political
agency and we're very dedicated to an accurate account," bureau spokesman Stephen Buckner told "We have a lot
of quality controls in place to keep any kind of systemic error or fraudulent behavior to affect the counts."Buckner

said the bureau received an overwhelming number of qualified applicants
-- more than 1 million -- for the 140,000 census taker jobs filled to
complete the first phase of the effort. Each applicant, he said, must
take a basic skills exam, which includes reading a map and entering
data into a handheld computer. Applicants are also subject to an FBI
background check, he said.But
Buckner acknowledged that it is difficult to track an applicant's political background. "I
have no way of tracking any of that information," he said. "If somebody
comes in to a position with a political agenda and their work exhibits
that, there are rules against that," he said.Buckner stressed the need for organizations like ACORN to assist in the effort,
saying that "any group that has a grassroots organization that can help get the word out that we have jobs" is helpful. In
2000, the U.S. Census Bureau had 140,000 partnerships from "national organizations to local and community organizations to
elected officials," he said. "The list is as broad as the phone book."
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