As part of a new campaign, dozens of citizen groups around the country are searching voter registration lists, looking for problems. They’re also training poll watchers to monitor this fall’s elections. Leaders of the effort — spawned by the Tea Party movement — say they want to make sure that elections are free from voter fraud. But critics say it’s part of a campaign to suppress the votes of minorities, students and others who tend to vote Democratic. Cathy Kelleher and Cathy Trauernicht say that’s not true. They’re founders of Election Integrity Maryland, one of the groups involved. They call themselves concerned citizens.
But critics say these efforts are far from nonpartisan. They note that True the Vote is aligned with conservatives and Republicans who are behind a wave of new voter ID laws, which opponents say will block some legitimate voters from the ballot box. Judith Browne Dianis is co-director of the Advancement Project, a voter advocacy group. She says her organization and others will be watching True the Vote and its poll watchers, what she calls “the voter suppression posse.”
“The concern is that this organization that says that they’re about the integrity of elections is actually about undermining democracy,” she says. But Rick Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California, Irvine, says there’s hyperbole on both sides of this debate. He’s the author of a forthcoming book, The Voting Wars. Hasen doubts that millions of voters will be intimidated or blocked from the polls, as some have claimed. But he also says voter fraud is almost nonexistent. He’s worried about the impact of all the charges and countercharges.
Full Article: Tea Party Spawns New Effort Against Voter Fraud : NPR.