I’ve written previously about the Texas-based Tea Party group “True the Vote” involving themselves in voter suppression efforts in swing states. Some state laws allow any individual to challenge another’s voting status, and this has been put to use by True the Vote’s spinoff organizations in Ohio and at least three other states, to a disproportionate degree against minorities, students and other traditional Democratic constituencies. True the Vote claims they are merely trying to clean up voter rolls and prevent voter fraud.
Now one member of Congress has decided to investigate this. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), ranking member of the House Oversight Committee, has written a letter to the President and Founder of True the Vote, Catherine Engelbrecht, requesting documents related to their voter challenge efforts. He warns Englebrecht that the pattern of challenging voters without basis or success could amount to “illegal voter suppression and “a criminal conspiracy to deny legitimate voters their constitutional rights.”
True the Vote responded by referring the letter to its legal team, according to a spokesman. The group reacted to the outcry over their efforts in Ohio by dismissing it as “partisan gamesmanship and media spectacle.”
Specifically, Cummings wants information on the data used to challenge voting status, training materials for True the Vote volunteers, and internal communications about where True the Vote decides to focus their resources and attention. He lists a voluminous amount of evidence showing that previous True the Vote challenges were based on inaccurate information.
Cummings is also involved in the GOP voter registration fraud carried out by the company of Nathan Sproul; he is seeking documents from the company and their associates to determine whether any illegal activity occurred.
Meanwhile, in Texas, voters in traditionally African-American communities keep getting letters asking them to prove they’re not dead, in disproportionate degrees compared to white voters.
Already, 32 percent of voters who received “Are you dead?” letters across the county in September – just six weeks before the presidential elections – have confirmed they are very much alive, election officials said this week. Because of widespread complaints, no county voters will be purged before the November elections unless their deaths are independently confirmed, according to Don Sumners, the county’s tax assessor collector and voter registrar.
The Chronicle’s analysis showed that voters living in black districts – specifically created by lawmakers to enhance political representation of blacks on the county commission and the Texas Legislature – received more letters than voters in other districts. Nearly 2,900 live in Harris County Commissioner’s Precinct 1 – a minority op portunity district created more than two decades ago that includes most of the county’s historically black neighborhoods.
Maybe that’s next on Cummings’ list.
I’ll put the entire Cummings letter to True the Vote on the flip.