Originally posted at The Brad Blog
On Election Day this year, their own observers were barred from monitoring the polls in Franklin County, OH, after the county’s bipartisan Board of Elections had determined that the group had “forged” and photocopied the signatures of candidates needed to allow the group’s poll monitors access to precincts in the county during the Nov. 6 presidential election.
That’s the same True the Vote that also used a fraudulent photo of an African-American woman holding up a (Photoshopped) sign reading “I ONLY GOT TO VOTE ONCE!” in a well-polished video used to announce its national launch back in 2010. (The real photo, before it was faked, reveals the woman holding up a sign at a Florida protest during that state’s presidential election debacle in 2000. The sign actually read, ironically enough, “DON’T MESS WITH OUR VOTES”.)
It’s also the same True the Vote that claimed 501(c)3 nonprofit status as a “nonpartisan” charity, only to be found to be quite partisan indeed by a Texas court. Their lie about their nonpartisan, not-for-profit status resulted in the group — formed as an offshoot of the Houston-based Tea Party group calling itself King Street Patriots, by the same officers at the exact same address — having to return a $35,000 charitable grant from a foundation which also backs the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity.
So the group knows very well what actual fraud is. The problem, however, is that the right-wing group enjoys dishonestly scamming its supporters by pretending that all “voter fraud” — even absentee ballot fraud or voter registration fraud that doesn’t even result in a vote — is evidence that polling place Photo ID restriction laws are needed to combat a scourge of nationwide “voter fraud” being committed on a systemic basis by, of course, Democrats.
In the bargain — as the successful pattern of right-wing propaganda has long worked — pretend “news” outlets such as Tucker Carlson’s The Daily Caller go on to cite True the Vote’s claims as if they were actual “evidence” supporting the dishonest agenda that both groups hope to advance. That’s exactly what happened last week when The Daily Caller, in an article related to the battle over polling place Photo ID restriction laws, cited a list of supposed “voter fraud convictions in 46 states” at True the Vote’s website.
You’ll be shocked — SHOCKED! — to learn that True the Vote’s list not only doesn’t include “convictions in 46 states,” it doesn’t even include one single conviction, prosecution or even allegation of the type of “voter fraud” that the polling place Photo ID restriction laws both The Daily Caller and True the Vote are advocating for are supposedly designed to prevent.
In short, both The Daily Caller and True the Vote are using fraudulent claims to push for laws to prevent “voter fraud”. We told you you’d be SHOCKED!
Study after study has shown that millions of perfectly legal, largely minority, elderly, poor and student (read: Democratic leaning) voters would face potential disenfranchisement from such laws. At the same time, other studies have also documented that in-person voter fraud is incredibly rare. Most recently, for example, an exhaustive study by an investigative news consortium which looked at every single documented election fraud crime in all 50 states since 2000, found that just ten (10) cases of in-person voter fraud had been reported out of hundreds of millions of votes across the nation during the same period.
On the other hand, other types of actual voter fraud, such as absentee ballot fraud, while, by no means epidemic, are far more commonplace across the nation, even though the polling place Photo ID restrictions sought by Republican groups like True the Vote, under the knowingly phony guise of combating “voter fraud,” do absolutely nothing to deter the fraudulent use of absentee voting.
So it was with some bemusement when, last week, we saw a report on The Daily Caller claiming to expose how groups such as the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and other progressive organizations such as the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, gave money to support the opposition to many of the voter-suppression laws funded and advanced by Republican legislatures all across the country.
The amusing part? Daily Caller‘s David Martosko — described as their “Executive Editor,” not one of Carlson’s cub “reporter” hacks like Matthew Boyle, a disgraced lackey with a long record of simply making stuff up — cites True the Vote’s website listing of “voter fraud convictions in 46 states” as evidence to back up the purported need for Republican Photo ID restriction laws.
Having not seen that list of “voter fraud convictions in 46 states” at True the Vote’s website previously, we thought it might be good to give it a look. Can you imagine what we found?
ZERO cases of the type of “voter fraud” meant to be prevented by Photo ID laws
True the Vote has spent most of its short, deceptive life advocating for polling place Photo ID restrictions. In 2011, for example, they submitted a list of “Recommendations for Legislation” [PDF] to the Texas legislature. Item #1: “Photo Voter ID – Require Photo Identification to vote.”
The recommendation goes on to list a number of types of state and federal government issued photo IDs that the group believes a voter must be forced to show before they are allowed to cast a ballot at the polls on Election Day.
This is their issue. You’d think they’d understand this stuff. So it’s either amusing, or just plain sad, that their website’s page devoted to presenting evidence for why such legislation is needed — headlined “Did You Know There are Voter Fraud Convictions and Prosecutions in 46 States?” — fails to cite a single such case!
The page lists 46 different states with links to news articles or legal cases going back as far as 2000. We went link-by-link through each and every one of them (they are all posted at the end of this article for posterity in the event the organization is struck by a case of conscience and decides to remove it) and we found not a single “conviction or prosecution” for a case of fraud that polling place Photo ID laws are, theoretically, designed to prevent.
Most of the cases cited, 20 of them in all, were for absentee-ballot fraud, which has nothing to do with polling place voter fraud.
Seven of the links cited voter registration fraud by third-party registration workers, where there was no evidence that any of those fraudulent registrations had actually resulted in a single fraudulent vote having been cast. Ever.
There were seven cases of candidates running or voting in a jurisdiction in which they allegedly did not live (the same thing Republican Sec. of State Charlie White was found guilty of, amounting to three voter fraud-related felonies in 2010, forcing him out of office in Indiana, the very first state to pass a polling place Photo ID restriction law in 2008), or voters voting in a precinct where they allegedly had no right to vote (the same thing GOP superstar Ann Coulter did in Palm Beach County, FL in 2005.) Indiana’s Photo ID law didn’t stop White, the state’s chief election official, from committing that type of voter fraud and it wouldn’t have prevented Coulter from doing so in Florida either.
Four cases cited by True the Vote were for double voting (also not prevented by Photo ID laws); four were for ballot petition fraud (forging signatures in an effort to get a candidate or initiative placed on the ballot — the same thing the state of Virginia was investigating Newt Gingrich’s campaign for earlier this year, which also has absolutely nothing to do with polling place Photo ID laws); three cases were related to convicted felons voting in states where they are barred from doing so (Photo ID laws don’t prevent that); and three cases were related to vote-buying (paying someone to vote a certain way, also not prevented by Photo ID).
Finally, there were 2 cases that involved identify theft, with people voting in the names of others. But in those cases, the voters had assumed the identities of those in whose names they voted, and had driver’s licenses and other documentation with their photo on them to (falsely) prove it. They would not have been prevented from voting by True the Vote’s polling place Photo ID laws, either.
In case you’ve lost track, while that’s more than 46, (since some of the links cited more than one case of alleged fraud) the list, in total, amounts to ZERO cases of voter fraud that polling place Photo ID laws are designed to prevent.
“True the Vote” = Scam the Suckers
Neither The Daily Caller‘s Executive Editor Martosko nor True the Vote’s founder Catherine Engelbrecht responded to our request for comment.
The Daily Caller, however, has a well-earned reputation for not bothering to correct blatant inaccuracies and/or fraudulent claims. (See our exchange with pretend-journalist Boyle last year, for example, when we called him out on a blatant fabrication in one of his propaganda pieces meant to demonize the EPA.) We’ll be delighted if they read this piece and issue a correction for their misleading cite of True the Vote’s webpage and will update here to note if they do.
For Engelbrecht’s part, while she momentarily communicated with us back in 2010 for our first article on the group, highlighting their introductory propaganda video, she has declined to respond to our queries ever since.
Even in 2010, after she had initially told us that the group removed the fraudulent photograph of the African-American woman holding a faked sign reading “I ONLY GOT TO VOTE ONCE!” from their video because, she said, it became “the subject of much speculation,” she failed to respond to a follow-up query asking for details about what the “speculation” in question was concerning the faked photograph.
When we asked for evidence — any evidence at all — to support the claims made in their video by right-wing extremists such as David Horowitz and others that “our elections are being manipulated by the radical Left”; that Republicans “have to win by 3 percent” in order to win any election because “the electoral system is being rigged” by (presumably) Democrats; that the “voting system is under attack”; and that “ACORN is a voter fraud machine,” Engelbrecht failed to respond once again.
[You can hear our recent, amusing, on-air conversation with Horowitz here, in which he also refused, when we asked him about it, to offer evidence in support of a particularly insidious “voter fraud” claim that he made following the 2012 presidential election, wherein he alleged direct knowledge of some 60 instances of fraud at a residential care facility, but refused to identify the facility or to turn in his supposed evidence of the very serious criminal allegations to law enforcement.]
In short, True the Vote’s “voter fraud” fraud on behalf of the Republican Party continues to this day, and, despite the grave dangers they pretend their allegations of fraud pose to our democracy, they seem to have no interest in supporting those claims whenever they are questioned about them by anyone not stupid enough to get their “news” from outlets like Fox or The Daily Caller.
The good news: the front page of True the Vote’s website claims they are now “busily analyzing the mountain of data that came from all around the country about fraud and irregularities at the polls” during the 2012 election.
They promise that their “report” on all of that polling place fraud is forthcoming. We can’t wait! And, we bet, neither can The Daily Caller, who — along with Fox “News,” Breitbart.com, Rush Limbaugh, Newsmax, and all of the other right-wing clowns, liars and propagandists — will, no doubt, cite it as damning “evidence” to support the need for the GOP’s disenfranchising polling place Photo ID laws, whether the report actually contains any such evidence or not.
Did You Know There are Voter Fraud Convictions and Prosecutions in 46 States?
Check out cases of voter fraud in your state since 2000:
- 2012 -·Alabama
- 2012 –·Alaska
- 2012 -·Arizona
- 2012 –·Arkansas
- 2012 –·California
- 2005 -·Colorado
- 2012 -·Connecticut·
- 2012 -·Florida
- 2012 -·Georgia
- 2012 –··Idaho
- 2011 -·Illinois
- 2012 -·Indiana
- 2011 – ·Iowa
- 2004 -·Kansas
- 2002 –·Louisiana
- 2012 –·Maine
- 2012 –·Maryland
- 2012 –·Massachusetts
- 2012 -·Michigan
- 2011 -·Minnesota
- 2011 -·Mississippi
- 2007 -·Missouri
- 2010 -·Nebraska
- 2011 -·Nevada
- 2009 -·New Hampshire
- 2010 –·New Jersey·
- 2012 -·New Mexico
- 2011 -·New York·
- 2012 -·North Carolina
- 2012 -·North Dakota
- 2012 –·Ohio
- 2010 -·Oklahoma
- 2010 -·Oregon
- 2009 -·Pennsylvania
- 2011 -·Rhode Island
- 2008 -·South Carolina
- 2003 -·South Dakota
- 2010 -·Tennessee
- 2012 -·Texas
- 2008 –·Utah
- 2012 -·Virginia
- 2012 -·Washington
- 2012 -·West Virginia
- 2012 -·Wisconsin
- 2000 -·Wyoming