Mike Allen today reports for Politico that “President Barack Obama’s reelection campaign on Thursday announced ‘Project Vote,’ a campaign-within-a-campaign that is aimed at increasing registration and participation among Democratic base constituencies — including young voters, seniors, African Americans and Hispanics, plus Native Americans and gay and lesbian voters.”
While the move to increase participation among the Democratic base may be a smart one, I cannot think of a more stupid name for the initiative—it is going to feed into the right-wing Democratic voter fraud meme. “Project Vote” is also the name of this organization, an organization aimed at getting out the vote as well. Although non-partisan in the sense that it is not affiliated with any political party, the group works toward enfranchisement of groups that have been disenfranchised, especially pushing the provisions of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) which require states to take steps to register voters at welfare offices and other government agencies.
Project Vote has long been affiliated with ACORN (and there has been some dispute about the entangling of the two organizations). ACORN is now defunct, but the cries of voter fraud against ACORN are now being directed to Project Vote. Just today, for example, the Washington Times has run a story on a FOIA request by Judicial Watch to seek information about ties between Project Vote and the Justice Department.
In conducting research for my book, The Voting Wars, I came across a nauseating amount of unsubstantiated claims against President Obama as promoting voter fraud to help him win his election. Much of this writing stems from work Obama had done as a community organizer in Chicago and briefly as a lawyer for the Project Vote organization.
Why on earth would the Obama campaign seek to stoke these conspiracy theories, and cause confusion, by naming its efforts Project Vote?