One Way to Halt “True the Vote” In Its Tracks: A Lesson From Massachusetts

The rightwing has put together an organization called “True the Vote“, which, true to its Orwellian nature, is actually going to try to stop people–who disproportionately happen to be those people–from voting:

There’s been a steadily building discussion, albeit shrouded in some mystery, about the potential impact on Election Day (and to some extent, before it) of right-wing “volunteer poll watchers” who are promising to descend on minority neighborhood to make sure the Pink Elephant threat of “voter fraud” does not transpire.

Much of the talk centers on True the Vote, a Houston-based, Tea-Party aligned group that is claiming it will deploying a million of such volunteers. These patriots, it seems, have all been trained to spot the nefarious (if imaginary) efforts of ACORN, the New Black Panther Party, and other representatives of the 47% to stuff the ballot box with the votes of illegal immigrants, welfare bums, and others who do not understand that “constitutional conservatism” is the only legitimate governing ideology for America.

True the Vote clearly does not represent an idle threat. Well before election day, reports are surfacing that it (or its state affiliates, like the Ohio Voter Integrity Project) is challenging the registration status of voters in battleground states based on changed addresses, residences listed on tax rolls as commercial property, and student addresses.

But it’s the specter of Election Day (or perhaps in-person Early Voting locations) that should trouble everyone, regardless of partisan affiliation. It’s hard to imagine a more dangerous scenario than that of hundreds of thousands of self-righteous suburban wingnuts showing up in poor and minority neighborhoods to hassle would-be voters, with Fox News cameras on hand to record any random examples of Solid Citizens experiencing resistance from annoyed locals.

The New Democratic Strategist, summarizing a Demos/Common Cause report, outlines four responses, including this one (boldface mine):

Neutral election officials should be prepared and encouraged to call for police assistance in maintaining order the moment problems begin to arise and not wait until frustrations have mounted. The militants in the voter vigilante groups will have no hesitation about dismissing virtually all electoral monitors – state, federal or neutral third party — as collaborators in the sinister Democratic conspiracy but they will emphatically not want to be seen as clashing with the local police. The organizers of the voter fraud groups will not want to see video of their militants confronting policemen or news headlines that read “Voter fraud groups clash with police at polling places”

One of the interesting things about the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (God save it!) is that, when you have finished voting, you have to check out, just as you ‘checked in’ (declare your name and address). But on the way out, you check out with a police officer (or other law enforcement official). Seems that would solve several problems, including “True the Vote.” It’s not a bad idea.

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5 Responses to One Way to Halt “True the Vote” In Its Tracks: A Lesson From Massachusetts

  1. joemac53 says:

    Should I be prepared (with camera) to “Watch the Watchers? I’m an intimidating kind of guy.

  2. human says:

    You check out with a cop? Uh.. what? Like what, does he give you the “I voted” sticker? WTF, I seriously don’t get this.

  3. -dsr- says:

    I have been voting in MA for years, and never checked out with a cop. The sign-in and sign-out folks are almost always volunteer elderly folks.

    On the other hand, there’s always been a uniformed police officer in the room, usually making polite conversation.

  4. WiseFather says:

    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.

  5. Orchid Black says:

    So folks with warrants or should not be able to vote?

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