National: True the Vote seeks voter roll purge ahead of 2016 | MSNBC

A group with ties to the tea party and a Koch brothers-founded organization is helping election officials in North Carolina to remove thousands of duplicate registrations from the voter rolls ahead of next year’s elections. And it says it wants to do the same thing nationally. The effort, announced early Monday by Houston-based True the Vote, is aimed at removing duplicates—when a voter’s name mistakenly appears twice. True the Vote has been accused by critics in the past of using intimidating tactics and stoking unwarranted fear about voter fraud. True the Vote said it sent each of North Carolina’s 10 largest counties lists of potential duplicate registrations, based on similarities in the names, ages or addresses listed. It said five of the counties have told them they’re processing the data, and one, Guilford, has already removed 655 names from its rolls. True the Vote said it’s currently compiling similar data for the 10 largest counties in two other 2016 swing states, Ohio and Colorado.

National: Bloated U.S. voter rolls could lead to lawsuits | Washington Times

America’s voter rolls are so bloated that dozens of counties have more people registered than there are adults living there, according to two new studies released Thursday that the authors said could lead to lawsuits forcing states to clean things up. True the Vote, a Texas group that works for clean elections, counted 136 counties with voter registration rates of more than 100 percent of their adult population. Meanwhile the Public Interest Legal Foundation, a public interest law firm based in Alexandria, used a slightly different methodology and counted 141 counties. And an increasing number are mid- and large-sized ones — the kind that should have enough resources to police their voter rolls, but just aren’t getting to it, said Logan Churchwell, research director for True the Vote.

National: Squadrons form for voter ID fight | The Hill

Liberal and conservative groups are mobilizing armies of poll watchers to battle over the enforcement of voter ID laws on Election Day. The Democratic Party has more to lose if turnout is low on Nov. 4. Liberals want to ensure that the young, black and Latino voters who form a key part of the party’s electoral base are not kept from the polls. Conservatives insist that they just want to uphold the integrity of the electoral process by making sure that all votes cast are legitimate. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) has state directors stationed across the country for its Voter Expansion Project. They help train poll workers, and work with local election officials to clarify how laws will be implemented. “This has been a really big effort,” DNC spokesman Michael Czin said.

Mississippi: GOP attorney: No Miss. law prohibits crossover voting | Clarion-Ledger

An attorney for the Mississippi Republican Party says state law does not prohibit people from crossing over to vote in party’s primary and another’s primary runoff, an issue in Chris McDaniel’s presumed challenge to his GOP runoff loss to Sen. Thad Cochran. “You heard me right,” said Michael Wallace, attorney for the state Republican Party. “There is an attorney general’s opinion on the subject, but that is all. The attorney general may be right. I wasn’t telling the judge that the attorney general wasn’t right. I was telling her that the issue has never gone to court. … The attorney general may be 100 percent right, but the issue has not been tested in court that I know of. It may have came up in a county court somewhere that hasn’t made it to reported cases. But to the best of my knowledge, it hasn’t been tested. All we have is an attorney general interpretation.”

Mississippi: Judge: True the Vote lawsuit not a case of voter fraud | Clarion-Ledger

The Federal judge assigned to hear Texas-based group True the Vote and 22 Mississippians’ lawsuit against Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, the state Republican Party and election commissions in nine counties said the case is pretty cut and dry in her mind. True the Vote claims it was denied access to voting records in Copiah, Hinds, Jefferson Davis, Lauderdale, Leake, Madison, Rankin, Simpson and Yazoo counties. The group also claims records have been destroyed or tampered with. U.S. District Judge Nancy Atlas of Texas said today during a hearing in Jackson that case technically is about what documents can be seen. “This is not a case of voter fraud,” Atlas said. “It’s whether the National Voter Registration Act was complied with and whether it preempts state statute. This case is about transparency of the voter process with the counter issue of voter privacy.”

Mississippi: Hearing set in True the Vote lawsuit | Clarion-Ledger

A hearing is set for Thursday in the Texas-based group True the Vote and 22 Mississippians federal lawsuit against Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, the state Republican Party and election commission in nine counties. True the Vote claims it was denied access to voting records in Copiah, Hinds, Jefferson Davis, Lauderdale, Leake, Madison, Rankin, Simpson and Yazoo counties. The group also claims records have been destroyed or tampered with. True the Vote is looking for people who voted in the June 3 Democratic primary and then illegally crossed over to vote in the June 24 Republican runoff between U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran and challenger Chris McDaniel. Many of the 22 residents who joined the lawsuit are vocal McDaniel supporters.

Mississippi: Lawsuit alleges voter fraud in Thad Cochran runoff win over Chris McDaniel | UPI

Conservatives backing Mississippi tea partier Chris McDaniel have filed a lawsuit against the Republican Party of Mississippi and the Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann claiming that voters who supported Sen. Thad Cochran in his come-from-behind runoff victory last week broke the law by also voting in the Democratic primary. McDaniel, a state senator who eked out a victory over Cochran in the June 3 Republican primary, has refused to concede after losing the June 24 runoff by a 6,700-vote margin. He alleges that Cochran’s successful effort to expand his voter base to include Democrats resulted in “thousands or irregularities in the voting process.” The lawsuit, filed by the conservative group True the Vote, names 13 voters who it says “double-voted” — cast ballots in Mississippi’s Democratic primary and then in the Republican runoff.

Mississippi: Chris McDaniel, True the Vote challenge Mississippi primary vote | Washington Times

A conservative group filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday challenging the outcome of the bitter Mississippi GOP Senate primary, saying that investigators should take more time to determine whether election laws have been broken and whether illegal ballots were cast. True The Vote, which bills itself as the nation’s leading voters’ rights and election integrity organization, said that it had no choice but to file a lawsuit after the Mississippi secretary of state and Mississippi GOP refused to respond to requests to review possible “double-voting” in the state’s primary, where Sen. Thad Cochran was declared the winner over tea party-backed state Sen. Chris McDaniel. The group said the outcome could have been diluted by some of the votes cast and said it could be in violation of the Equal Protection Clause under the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.

National: IRS tea party hearing veers into voting rights debate |

A conservative group claiming it was targeted by the Internal Revenue Service stole the show at a congressional hearing on Thursday when it veered off topic and accused top panel Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings of harassment. Catherine Engelbrecht, president of True the Vote, complained that Cummings, ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee “sent letters to True the Vote, demanding much of the same information the IRS had requested” after she filed for nonprofit status and then “would appear on cable news and publicly defame me and my organization.” Democrats called it outrageous that Republicans gave the group a platform to attack a member, and even some Republicans tried to change the subject back to the IRS controversy itself.

Texas: True the Vote denied entry into Texas voter ID trial | Facing South

Months before the conservative vote-monitoring group Judicial Watch filed to intervene in the U.S. Justice Department’s lawsuit against North Carolina’s restrictive new voting law, which includes a photo ID requirement, its counterparts at the Houston-based poll-monitoring nonprofit True the Vote filed the same for the Texas voter ID trial, which also involves the Justice Department. True the Vote filed its intervention plea back in September, arguing that a ruling striking down Texas’ voter ID law would “frustrate and hamper” the organization’s anti-voter fraud efforts. Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos of the U.S. District Court of Southern Texas didn’t buy it and last week denied True the Vote’s motion. “The Court finds that True the Vote’s intended contribution to this case may be accomplished without the necessity of, or burden incident to, making it a party,” wrote Judge Ramos.

Colorado: Group files suit against Colorado county clerks over voter rolls | The Denver Post

A national conservative organization that aims to address voter fraud filed lawsuits Monday against two Colorado county clerks for what it says is improper maintenance of voter rolls. True the Vote alleges clerks from Gilpin and Mineral counties have voter registration rates — according to the group’s analysis — of more than 100 percent, which it says signifies a problem. As a result, the group says, the clerks haven’t complied with the Voter Registration Act of 1993 by not making “a reasonable effort to conduct voter list maintenance programs in elections for federal office.”

Virginia: Chesterfield County Registrar in Legal Battle After Refusing to Purge Voters | WRIC

Chesterfield County Registrar Larry Haake is in a legal battle after refusing to purge thousands of voter names. Before this year’s election, he and other registrars were told to erase the names of people who weren’t legally allowed to vote in Virginia. The Chesterfield County Registrar refused until after the election, claiming the list was full of errors. Two groups are now threatening legal action, and demanding he clean up the rolls. True the vote is an organization that says its goal is to protect the rights of legitimate voters and when they heard that the Chesterfield County Registrar has not complied with the State Board of Elections by purging thousands of voters from the rolls, they threatened legal action. But the Registrar says he’s the one who is protecting the voters.

National: Conservative group True the Vote sues IRS over being subject to heightened scrutiny | The Wahsington Post

True the Vote, a Houston-based voter watchdog group that arose from a tea party organization, filed suit in federal court Tuesday against the Internal Revenue Service over the agency’s processing of its request for tax-exempt status. The lawsuit, filed by the conservative ActRight Legal Foundation, asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to grant its request for tax-exempt status and award damages for what it described as unlawful conduct by the IRS. True the Vote, which was founded in June 2010, is affiliated with the King Street Patriots, a tea party group which started in December 2009. Originally called KSP/True the Vote, the group filed in July 2010 for tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(3) charity organization. In August 2011, the group changed its name to True the Vote Inc.; King Street Patriots has separately been seeking the 501(c)(4) status from the IRS. True the Vote has come under fire for intimidating African-American and other minority voters at the polls.

National: IRS officials in Washington were involved in targeting of conservative groups | Washington Post

Internal Revenue Service officials in Washington and at least two other offices were involved with investigating conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, making clear that the effort reached well beyond the branch in Cincinnati that was initially blamed, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post. IRS officials at the agency’s Washington headquarters sent queries to conservative groups asking about their donors and other aspects of their operations, while officials in the El Monte and Laguna Niguel offices in California sent similar questionnaires to tea-party-affiliated groups, the documents show. IRS employees in Cincinnati told conservatives seeking the status of “social welfare” groups that a task force in Washington was overseeing their applications, according to interviews with the activists.

Voting Blogs: True The Vote Fudges the Numbers in New Turnout Study |

True the Vote, an organization dedicated to eradicating voter fraud through controversial methods, issued a report on February 27 concluding that voter ID laws and other election changes allegedly meant to reduce voter fraud not only did not have an adverse impact on turnout in the 2012 elections, but may have helped to increased turnout. Its findings have been trumpeted by many news outlets who do not believe such laws suppress voter turnout. But it turns out the report’s authors made a huge methodological mistake. They compared turnout of eligible voters in 2008 to turnout of registered voters in 2012. Correcting this error reverses their findings. All but one of the states with these new laws experienced a decline in voter turnout, and most experienced a decline greater than the national turnout decline from 2008 to 2012.

National: As election looms, many voters fear process is compromised |

Only days before millions of Americans cast their ballots, a climate of suspicion hangs over Tuesday’s national elections. Accusations of partisan dirty tricks and concerns about long voter lines, voting equipment failures and computer errors are rampant, particularly in key battleground states such as Ohio and Colorado, where absentee and provisional ballots could decide a close election. “Those will be the states that are the most prone to confusion and chaos and contesting if the election is close or within what some people call the ‘margin of litigation,’ ” said Charles Stewart III, a political science professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

National: Behind the voting wars, a clash of philosophies | The Sacramento Bee

On Tuesday, voters will go to the polls in what is expected to be a nail-bitingly close presidential election. Indeed, we may wake up Wednesday morning, as voters did in 2000 and 2004, not knowing who won. If we are extremely unlucky, the election will be so close that it will go to a recount and possibly to the courts. The state whose votes are pivotal to the election outcome – Ohio, Florida, who knows? – will see its election process go under a microscope with full dissection in real time over Twitter and Facebook. It would get very ugly very quickly.

National: Poll watchers could bring “chaos” in Ohio and elsewhere, national expert says | Dispatch Politics

Forget all that concern about provisional ballots, improperly denied absentee ballot applications and the like. What is really the biggest wild card for next week’s presidential election in Ohio and elsewhere? Citizen poll watchers. So says Doug Chapin of the University of Minnesota, a widely acclaimed expert in how elections are conducted. “I think the biggest thing to watch next Tuesday is the impact of citizen poll watchers, including but not limited to those affiliated with Houston-based True the Vote,” he said yesterday on his Election Academy blog.

Voting Blogs: Is The Voter Vigilante Group True The Vote Violating Ohio Law to Intimidate Voters at the Polls? | Alternet

A right-wing voter vigilante group, TrueTheVote, may be pushing their anti-democratic agenda into illegal territory in Ohio by interfering with that state’s official poll worker training regimen one week before the 2012 presidential election. In recent weeks, the Texas-based group, with many local affiliates drawn from Tea Party ranks, has been urging poll workers in key Ohio counties—primarily Republicans—to supplement their official state training with TrueTheVote materials. These Election Day workers are not the observers chosen by political parties who can watch but not interfere with voting; they are the people who are drawn from both parties and employed by the state to run the voting process.

National: Who Created the Voter-Fraud Myth? | The New Yorker

Teresa Sharp is fifty-three years old and has lived in a modest single-family house on Millsdale Street, in a suburb of Cincinnati, for nearly thirty-three years. A lifelong Democrat, she has voted in every Presidential election since she turned eighteen. So she was agitated when an official summons from the Hamilton County Board of Elections arrived in the mail last month. Hamilton County, which includes Cincinnati, is one of the most populous regions of the most fiercely contested state in the 2012 election. No Republican candidate has ever won the Presidency without carrying Ohio, and recent polls show Barack Obama and Mitt Romney almost even in the state. Every vote may matter, including those cast by the seven members of the Sharp family—Teresa, her husband, four grown children, and an elderly aunt—living in the Millsdale Street house. The letter, which cited arcane legal statutes and was printed on government letterhead, was dated September 4th. “You are hereby notified that your right to vote has been challenged by a qualified elector,” it said. “The Hamilton County Board of Elections has scheduled a hearing regarding your right to vote on Monday, September 10th, 2012, at 8:30 a.m. . . . You have the right to appear and testify, call witnesses and be represented by counsel.” “My first thought was, Oh, no!” Sharp, who is African-American, said. “They ain’t messing with us poor black folks! Who is challenging my right to vote?”

National: Will voter suppression and dirty tricks swing the election? |

On Thursday of last week, Virginia authorities charged a man working for the Republican Party with dumping the voter registration forms of Democrats. In Albertis, Pa., authorities arrested the town’s 19-year-old Democratic city council member after he allegedly stole yard signs of his Republican opponent.  In minority urban areas of Ohio and Wisconsin, an anonymous group has paid Clear Channel (owned in part by Mitt Romney’s former company Bain Capital) to put up billboards proclaiming that “Voter Fraud Is a Felony.”  And a Tea Party-affiliated group, True the Vote, is promising to send observers into polling places in Democratic areas, leading Democrats to cry voter intimidation. Does this stuff matter? Or is it just a bunch of noise before our hyper-polarized and hyper-partisan election, as polls show both sides expect the other to try to steal the election? The answer is probably a little bit of both. But the real action when it comes to affecting election turnout probably happened months or even years ago.

Alabama: Tea Party offshoot working to clear names from Alabama voter rolls |

A volunteer network started by Tea Party members in Texas has taken steps to verify the addresses of college students in Huntsville, prompting local Democrats to cry foul. True the Vote last month sent a fax to Oakwood University, a historically black Seventh-day Adventist college in Huntsville, to verify the addresses of more than 120 students who are registered voters. The list included names alongside dates of birth. “I’m outraged about this,” said Clete Wetli, chairman of the Madison County Democratic party. Wetli on Friday said True the Vote is “aligned with the far right and Tea Party activists” and is using “fear and suppression” to attempt to influence elections.

Texas: The Texan behind the charge for voter ID laws | Houston Chronicle

Anyone listening to Catherine Engelbrecht for any length of time is likely to be convinced that voter fraud is one of the most insidious evils the nation faces. The articulate and passionate founder of True the Vote, a Houston-based tea party organization dedicated to strengthening laws against voter fraud, has convinced several state legislatures of the need for voters to show photo identification at the polling place. But after three years of national attention – and much success – opponents are pushing back. Courts have struck down, limited or delayed recently enacted voter ID laws, including in Texas. Election officials in several states, including the swing states of Ohio and North Carolina, have rejected many of the challenges that True the Vote volunteers have provided, usually on grounds of paltry evidence.

Ohio: Senate Democrats Demand Investigation Into Voter Fraud Group | City Beat

Ohio Senate Democrats sent a letter to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on Wednesday asking them to investigate True the Vote (TTV), a Tea Party group established to combat alleged voter fraud. The Democrats claim TTV is unnecessarily intimidating voters. In the letter, the Democrats say they would find voter fraud to be a serious problem if it was happening, but they also note recent studies have found no evidence of widespread voter impersonation fraud. An Oct. 4 Government Accountability Office study could not document a single case of voter impersonation fraud. A similar study by News21, a Carnegie-Knight investigative reporting project, found a total of 10 cases of alleged in-person voter impersonation since 2000. That’s less than one case a year.

Editorials: Is True the Vote Shaking Down States With Nuisance Lawsuits? | The Nation

Less than a month before Election Day, the “election integrity” group True The Vote is battered, bewildered and disappointed. The upcoming election landscape will hardly resemble the “ground war” they were hoping for. Voter fraud as a thing has been exposed by civil rights watchdogs and a wide range of journalists as pure conspiracy theory. And civil rights legal advocates have at least temporarily blocked all of the most strict voter ID laws for which they fought so hard. But while True the Vote is down, they’re certainly not out. The group still hopes to make an impact in November, though they’ve downgraded their self-descriptors from “armies” prepared for “ground wars” to “grannies with clipboards.” Besides their cheering for billboards warning that voter fraud is a felony targeted in poor, black neighborhoods in Ohio, their last operative hope is to shake down states, including Ohio, that don’t comply with their purging demands with frivolous lawsuits.

Ohio: Husted says he will probe any voter intimidation | Dispatch Politics

If Secretary of State Jon Husted becomes aware of voter intimidation in this year’s election, he will act swifty to investigate and seek prosecution of any offenders, spokesman Matt McClellan said today. His comments came in response to a warning to Husted from the 10 Democratic Ohio senators about the activities of a Houston-based group, True The Vote. The tea party group “insists that voter fraud is a pervasive problem and has taken it upon itself to employ questionable, and possibly illegal, methods to combat the ‘problem’. These methods have turned up no fraud and have posed a serious threat of intimidation of entirely eligible voters,” the senators said in a letter today to Husted. “Working through an affiliated group, the Ohio Voter Integrity Project, True the Vote has challenged hundreds of voters in Hamilton (380 challenges) and Franklin (308 challenges) counties. The overwhelming majority of these challenges were rejected, but not before the voters involved were frightened by the prospect of being denied the opportunity to vote.”

Colorado: Colorado Secretary of State Gessler continues to stir things up | Colorado Statesman

Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler told a national conservative audience in Denver last Thursday that those on the left only pretend to care about vote fraud but are only interested in stirring up anger against conservatives to win votes when they “demagogue” the issue. What’s more, he said, his political opponents are happy to play “the racism card, and they are more than willing to lie to do this.” Speaking on a panel at the Conservative Political Action Committee Colorado conference, Gessler blasted the organizers of left-leaning voter registration drives for “illegally registering people to vote” by encouraging non-citizens to register and vote, despite the serious legal consequences. “I think they are very happy to manipulate people into believing it is OK to ignore these laws,” he said.

Colorado: Colorado Secretary of State Gessler continues to stir things up | Colorado Statesman

Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler told a national conservative audience in Denver last Thursday that those on the left only pretend to care about vote fraud but are only interested in stirring up anger against conservatives to win votes when they “demagogue” the issue. What’s more, he said, his political opponents are happy to play “the racism card, and they are more than willing to lie to do this.” Speaking on a panel at the Conservative Political Action Committee Colorado conference, Gessler blasted the organizers of left-leaning voter registration drives for “illegally registering people to vote” by encouraging non-citizens to register and vote, despite the serious legal consequences. “I think they are very happy to manipulate people into believing it is OK to ignore these laws,” he said.

Editorials: What’s the Truth about True the Vote? |

Two years ago, the week before Election Day, I drove to Harris County, Texas. More specifically, I drove to the Acres Homes Multi-Service Center, a polling location for early voting in one of Houston’s poor, predominantly black neighborhoods. After alleging that Harris County had a widespread problem with voter fraud, a Tea Party group called the King Street Patriots had launched a project called True the Vote, which had trained hundreds of volunteer poll watchers. As the early-voting period began, reports had begun to trickle out about white poll watchers arriving at minority precincts and intimidating voters. In Texas, poll watchers, appointed by a political party to watch the proceedings, aren’t allowed to do much; they’re barred from communicating with voters. But these poll watchers, foreign to the neighborhoods they were working in, were apparently not all observing the rules.

Editorials: Voter Fraud: The GOP Witch Hunt | Huffington Post

Recently, two large frauds within the Republican voter suppression effort this year have surfaced, which are proving far more serious than any of the alleged shenanigans which have been used to justify these measures. To cover the entirety of the vigorous voter suppression effort on the Right would require a far longer article than this, however, I will be focusing in on two very ugly details: Strategic Allied Consulting and voter suppression vigilantes like True the Vote. Republicans have ended the voter drives in Nevada, Florida, Colorado, Virginia and North Carolina. Why would they do such a thing? Because the firm they hired, Strategic Allied Consulting, the only company the Republican Party had running registration campaigns in these states, has been rocked by scandal after scandal. This election year, voter suppression law after voter suppression law rolled out, many of which have been struck down as unconstitutional by the courts, all to catch fraud; so far the only fraud that has been proven has been on their side.