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.
Judy Parsons, the Hartselle volunteer who contacted Oakwood University, said she is one of 130 volunteers attempting to clear up Alabama voter rolls and the student names were provided by True the Vote. She contends the group is non-partisan. “I’m not sure how anyone makes the leap from asking about an address to ‘fear and suppression,'” responded True the Vote founder Catherine Engelbrecht in an email today. “If there’s a problem, it should be fixed. Do the Democrats want to ensure every eligible student has accurate information in the voter registry, receives their voter registration card, and can vote? We do.”
Parsons’ fax to Oakwood College officials reads: “Please just mark the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ column to let me know if the student is still there. As I stated on the phone, I don’t need to know if they graduated or just stopped attending. No additional information is needed.” Oakwood didn’t respond, and instead contacted local Democrats this week.