The Tea Party “True The Vote” movement and organization is being criminally investigated by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-MD). It began when Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) sent a letter to True The Vote and contacted the Justice Department about initiating an investigation into the activities of True The Vote and affiliates.
Here’s an excerpt from the letter, courtesy of Think Progress:
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.
Right-wing voter suppression tactics that have been used this election are anything but constitutional, and it’s about time somebody in power recognized it as such.
The LA Times reports on the developing situation:
The inquiry by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, a Democrat, is being started a week after Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) urged the Justice Department to enforce voting rights laws, citing a Los Angeles Times article detailing attempts by an Ohio offshoot of the group, True the Vote, to strike hundreds of students and others from voting rolls.
Elijah E. Cummings is on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and is the ranking minority member.
Engelbrecht, a Texas tea party leader, has described True the Vote as an effort to prevent election fraud and clean up voter registration rolls. The group recruits volunteers, largely through tea party networks, to scour voter lists, challenge the registration of those they believe are dead or do not live at their listed address, and monitor the polls on election day.
The Times article described efforts by the Ohio Voter Integrity Project, a spinoff of True the Vote, to remove more than 2,100 names from voter rolls. Hundreds of them were college students the group tried to strike from the rolls for failure to specify their dorm room numbers. Local election boards declined to remove any of them.
The Ohio group also challenged the rights of eight members of an African American family to vote from an address it identified as a vacant lot outside Cincinnati. But the address was actually the house where the family had lived for nearly three decades. The family suspected race was the group’s motive. The white tea party activist who challenged the family said she had made a mistake and apologized.
Think Progress reports on the methodology used by this group and others, and Cummings’ statements regarding the pending investigation:
The most radical voter suppression efforts — including voter ID laws, voter purges, gerrymandered districts and restrictions on voter registration — have been killed in the courtsor 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 [sic] 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 themisinformation 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.”
Although it may be too little too late for this election, hopefully this stance against voter suppression makes a difference in the long run — it’s good to see there are people on the side of the people in this war on democracy.