Thursday, October 4, 2012

The "Integrity"... No, the Hypocrisy.

One thing I'm starting to pay more attention to in the wake of the Nathan Sproul voter registration fraud scandal is continuing G-O-TEA hypocrisy on matters of "integrity". We recently saw this on full display in New Mexico, where the state Republican Party has actually been training poll watchers on deceptive voter suppression techniques.

The Nation's Lee Fang has more details on this new disturbing development.

The poll watchers are told to request identification from voters, even though the law in New Mexico does not require voter ID. There are other troubling parts of the video and poll watcher instruction manual, including a call for poll watchers to instruct some voters to vote by provisional ballot even if they are registered correctly in their precinct. Poll watchers are told to deceive Spanish-speaking voters by telling them ballots that interpreters are not available, when in fact New Mexico law provides for language assistance for minorities and Spanish-language ballots.

At CPAC Colorado, a conservative conference today in Denver, I asked Congressman Steve Pearce, a Republican lawmaker who represents New Mexico, about the brewing controversy. Pearce appeared to be aware of the NM GOP’s poll watching efforts, and supported them.

“We’re simply saying that we’re going to start, we’re going to take it back it into our hands,” said Pearce. “We should check for ID since you have to show an ID to do anything in America.”

He did, however, admit that doing so would be against the law. “Its against New Mexico law to check for ID,” the congressman conceded.

So Congressman Steve Pearce (R-New Mexico) is actually advocating his party breaking the law... And do so in order to pursue crimes that rarely ever occur (and probably can't be deterred by what Pearce is advocating)? Sure, that makes plenty of sense. (/snark)

Sadly, this is not an isolated incident. The "tea party" backed "True the Vote" group is aiming to have 1,000,000 poll watchers across the country... And they may already be starting to surface here in Nevada. Here's what we know so far about "True the Vote".

We've been covering the Tea Party-organized group, which trains volunteers to challenge voters' registrations and then voters themselves at the polls. True the Vote aims to have a million poll watchers ready for November, so every precinct in America gets at least one. Those watchers are supposed to give voters a feeling like "driving and seeing the police following you."

We knew that True the Vote raised $64,687 (pdf) in 2010, the first year the group sent watchers into the polls, and we knew that True the Vote reported its revenue as coming from contributions, gifts and grants. True the Vote's founder says they get money by passing around an old felt cowboy hat at meetings.

Now that we've got True the Vote's 2011 tax returns, we can tell you the old felt hat has gotten a good bit heavier. The group took in twice as much money that year --$136,957 -- as the one before. More than half of that came from three contributions: $50,000, $19,000 and $5,000. We know the amounts because the IRS requires nonprofits to itemize large donations. We don't know who made the donations, because the IRS doesn't require nonprofits like True the Vote to reveal that, and True the Vote redacted the names in the copy they sent us. [...]

True the Vote was founded by King Street Patriots, a Houston Tea Party chapter. In August 2011, according to the tax papers, the founders moved to change the official name from KSP/True the Vote to just True the Vote. The idea, they wrote, is that King Street Patriots has a different mission. In September 2011, True the Vote reached a "facility use agreement" in which it pays the King Street for "occupancy costs." By December 2011, True the Vote owed King Street Patriots $22,038 for "occupancy related costs" and "certain costs paid by King Street Patriots for programmatic activities of True the Vote."

So this shady organization that claims to be nonpartisan, yet is fully dependant on the "tea party" for survival, and refuses to release its own finances now wants to "ensure election integrity" across the country? Why are we supposed to take this group seriously?

And why again are we supposed to believe G-O-TEA spinners when they claim they just want "integrity"? Clearly, they operate with none. And what again is so "ethical" and "full of integrity" about preventing law abiding citizens from exercising their legal right to vote?

1 comment:

  1. It could be worse than you think. The pretextual "hunt for voter fraud" goes beyond registration purging and poll watchers. In states where poll watchers are more heavily regulated, True the Vote and their affiliates/allies are recruiting and training people to be actual election judges. One organizer went so far as to say "Being an election judge is even better than being a poll watcher as you are actually running the election."

    So do you think that driver's license makes your vote safe?

    Any liquor store clerk knows how easy it is to get a fake. Do we expect TTV not to be aware of this fact in their training? Does the state provide adequate guidance for election judges in determining whether an ID's picture sufficiently matches the person staning before them? What about the signature matching requirements?

    These subjective judgment calls concerning a person's right to vote a regular ballot may end up in the hands of someone trained to be paranoid rather than reasonably vigilant. See for some of the flaws in Ohio's laws protecting voters on election day, and here for Florida which has a horrific defect in its voter challenge law that is not getting enough attention.