Saturday, October 06, 2012

Tea Party Voter Suppression Group Under Investigation For Possible ‘Criminal Conspiracy’


The Tea Party organization launching a multi-pronged voter suppression effort this election is under investigation by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) for a possible “criminal conspiracy to deny legitimate voters their constitutional rights.”
Cummings sent a letter to True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht warning her that the Ohio branch of the group, in suing to throw thousands of students, trailer park residents, homeless people and African Americans off the voting rolls, may be violating the law:
At some point, an effort to challenge voter registrations by the thousands without any legitimate basis may be evidence of illegal voter suppression. If these efforts are intentional, politically motivated and widespread across multiple states, they could amount to a criminal conspiracy to deny legitimate voters their constitutional rights.
True the Vote released a statement affirming their support for the Ohio voter purge advocates on Monday:
True the Vote stands by the well-intentioned efforts of these citizens and is disgusted by the attempts of some within government and media to warp what should have been a simple, legal process into a calculated partisan charade.
The most radical voter suppression efforts — including voter ID laws, voter purges, gerrymandered districts and restrictions on voter registration — have been killed in the courts or delayed til after the election. In many cases, judges concluded that minorities would be disproportionately affected by these efforts. Indeed, an analysis of the failed voter purge in Texas, True the Vote’s home state, found that African American and Latino names were much more likely to be flagged for removal, and African American districts received more letters questioning their eligibility to vote than any other districts.
Rather than rely soley on these initiatives, True the Vote is also mobilizing a national network of volunteer poll watchers to challenge and intimidate voters on Election Day. In light of the misinformation and questionable tactics disseminated in these volunteer trainings, Rep. Cummings is seeking “the data you have been using to challenge voter registrations, the training you have been providing volunteers to conduct these activities, and the manner in which you have been determining where to deploy your resources in select jurisdictions.”

1 comment:

WiseFather said...

It could be worse than you think. The pretextual "hunt for voter fraud" goes beyond registration purging and poll watchers. In states where poll watchers are more heavily regulated, True the Vote and their affiliates/allies are recruiting and training people to be actual election judges. One organizer went so far as to say "Being an election judge is even better than being a poll watcher as you are actually running the election."

So do you think that driver's license makes your vote safe?

Any liquor store clerk knows how easy it is to get a fake. Do we expect TTV not to be aware of this fact in their training? Does the state provide adequate guidance for election judges in determining whether an ID's picture sufficiently matches the person staning before them? What about the signature matching requirements?

These subjective judgment calls concerning a person's right to vote a regular ballot may end up in the hands of someone trained to be paranoid rather than reasonably vigilant. See for some of the flaws in Ohio's laws protecting voters on election day, and here for Florida which has a horrific defect in its voter challenge law that is not getting enough attention.