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ACORN is now in bankruptcy, partly a result of the notoriety gained when two conservative activists posed as a pimp and prostitute seeking legal and financial assistance from ACORN affiliates to open a brothel.

ACORN workers offered assistance, prompting a firestorm in Congress that led to a ban on federal funding for the group.

Mr. Fitton said the Obama campaign’s choice of the name Project Vote, in spite of such scandals, is “quite purposeful.”

“I think they want to confuse people,” he said. “Project Vote has a reputation for being partisan, and they want to trade off of it. All they’re concerned about is their base.”

The campaign’s effort also appears to be aimed at countering moves by Republican officials in at least a dozen states to toughen voter-registration laws, which some Democrats say will result in disenfranchising people who tend to vote for their party’s candidates.

Mr. Fitton, whose group has been investigating Project Vote’s effort to register people on public assistance in Colorado, said the Obama campaign’s use of the name amounts to a message to liberal groups, especially big labor, to work with the re-election campaign on registration and get-out-the-vote activities.

“It’s a whistle to the left saying, ‘We are Project Vote this time,’ ” Mr. Fitton said. “It’s a signal to the base.”

Obama advisers have said they are confident about the level of support from traditional Democratic groups heading into the 2012 election campaign. But turnout could be a concern, especially if the economy remains weak with unemployment above 9 percent nationally.

In forums this month across the country, for example, members of the Congressional Black Caucus have voiced frustration with Obama administration policies that they say have failed to produce enough jobs in the black community.

Rep. Maxine Waters, California Democrat, said there is “a growing frustration in this country and in minority communities” over joblessness.