True The Vote Demands Retraction By Common Cause and Demos
HOUSTON, Sept. 17, 2012 /PR Newswire-USNewswire/ -- True The Vote (TTV), a Houston-based nonpartisan election integrity organization, responded to attacks and misinformation in a report released today by Common Cause and Demos, two prominent liberal organizations.
"We agree with Common Cause and Demos that protecting the freedom to vote for all eligible Americans is of fundamental importance -- but this report is beyond the pale. Instead of helping us to try to solve problems for the American people, they are disparaging us by skewing the facts and distorting the truth," said Catherine Engelbrecht , True the Vote founder and president.
"The report by Common Cause and Demos is filled with blatant errors, accusations, and allegations that have no place in our national debate. Such defamation has consequences for all of us, not the least of which is the effect of diminishing credibility for those organizations. Therefore, we are demanding a retraction of the misleading information in the report," she said.
True The Vote's attorney, Brock Akers stated, "Even the sources quoted concerning the allegations of voter intimidation indicate there was no finding of impropriety, yet the report's authors ignored these salient facts. We are hopeful they will take immediate steps to minimize the damage they have done by way of false and defamatory statements. If the authors chose not to do so, such failure will be evidence of malice and the exposure they will thus face for this conduct will ultimately be judged accordingly."
"Frankly, we were shocked by the bullying tactics of this report that seeks to characterize our efforts as anything less than beneficial to the public good. If one fraudulent vote is counted, it discounts the legitimate voting power of ordinary Americans," Engelbrecht said.
"Democrats and Republicans hardly agree on anything, but they do agree that voter registration lists are in disarray. And they are right -- our system is vulnerable," Engelbrecht said. According to a report in February 2012 by the Pew Center on the States, more than 1.8 million dead people are currently registered to vote, and 24 million registrations are either invalid or inaccurate.
"What we're doing is ensuring the integrity of the voting process so that the votes of eligible Americans determine who wins or loses this year's elections," she said. "We're working towards common sense safeguards to protect the American voting process."
Engelbrecht noted that 46 states have prosecuted voter fraud within recent years. "There's no denying that voter fraud exists. Even a glance at recent headlines shows voter fraud being committed at the highest levels. In Maryland, Democratic candidate Wendy Rosen withdrew from her congressional race after she was caught committing voter fraud in Maryland and Florida," she said.
In fact, several recent polls indicate that the vast majority of the American public -- 74% -- approve of election process reforms using a range of measures such as photo identification. States, such as Georgia and Indiana, have seen an increase in minority participation at the polls as a result of these measures.
"It is critical that we have faith in the integrity of the election process. Our sole purpose is to achieve this goal. Unfortunately, at a time when we should be unified in our efforts, Common Cause and Demos are trying to distract and divide us from achieving fair and transparent elections for the American people," said Engelbrecht.
True The Vote (TTV) a nonpartisan, nonprofit grassroots organization focused on preserving election integrity is operated by citizens for citizens, to inspire and equip volunteers for involvement at every stage of our electoral process. TTV empowers organizations and individuals across the nation to actively protect the rights of legitimate voters, regardless of their political party affiliation. For more information, please visit www.truethevote.org.
The following is a brief summary of false assertions with corrections on the matter:
Claim: "King Street Patriots, through its project True the Vote, was observed intimidating voters at multiple locations serving communities of color during early voting in Harris County. Members of this Tea-Party affiliated group reportedly interfered with voters - allegedly watching them vote, 'hovering over' voters, blocking lines, and engaging in confrontational conversations with election workers."
Truth: Rumors of intimidation by True The Vote-trained poll watchers have no basis in jurisprudential or objectively verifiable fact. The report supports their accusations based on news articles - not law enforcement documentation. However, Harris County denies any knowledge or documentation of investigations into the matter.
Claim: "However, True the Vote's notices are at odds with the very statute they claim to be enforcing, because the NVRA requires that any general list maintenance program resulting in the systematic removal of names of ineligible voters must be completed no later than 90 days before Election Day. The reason such list maintenance programs must be completed at least 90 days before the election is to ensure that removal notices do not confuse eligible voters about their registration status so soon before an election..."
Truth: True The Vote advocates that officials charged with voter roll maintenance adhere to Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. Contrary to Common Cause/Demos' poor comprehension of the law, records can be purged in the case of discovered dead and ineligible (ex. duplicate entries, non-citizens) records any time before an election. Only eligible voters with residency-related challenges are subject to the 90 day pre-election cutoff period.
Claim: "In the June 2012 Wisconsin recall election, many students reported being challenged by True the Vote poll watchers, as the organization even mocked the students on Twitter."
Truth: True The Vote has no legal ability to place or coordinate the placement of poll watchers or their local equivalent. Only campaigns, parties, ballot measure advocates and in rare instances, county boards, can place poll watchers. Furthermore, True The Vote never engaged in mockery of students as the report erroneously claims. The specific tweet referenced was regarding a local news article explaining student confusion and the "equal opportunity" disenfranchising of a new 28-day residency requirement.
SOURCE True the Vote
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