If Voting Isn't Fair, We're Not Free: An Interview with Catherine Engelbrecht
Breitbart.com interviewed Catherine Engelbrecht, founder of anti-fraud organization True the Vote. Engelbrecht has taken citizen journalism and activism to the next level, leading the way in making sure the 2012 elections are free, fair, and transparent, in the face of efforts by the institutional left to suppress wildly popular voter ID legislation.
On April 27 and 28, Engelbrecht and True the Vote are hosting a National Summit in Houston, Texas. The two-day event will bring together nationally recognized experts on the issue of election integrity, as well as grassroots leaders of election integrity movements from across the country. Last year's Summit drew leaders from 27 states (including Alaska), and Engelbrecht expects this year's event to be even bigger.
Breitbart.com: Election fraud--how big a problem is it?
Engelbrecht: I think you have to start by asking: how much fraud is OK? The answer is none. But, there do seem to be very organized, methodical strategies in place to exploit our system. Examples like the coordinated vote buying that goes on in parts of Texas, absentee ballot fraud in Wisconsin and New York, non-citizens voting in Florida and Colorado, the nationwide ACORN voter registration scandals--these are just a few of the problems we've seen recently. In fact, in the past ten years, forty-seven states have prosecuted some kind of election fraud. It's not the rarity some pretend it to be. It's a serious, pervasive, corrosive problem and it has to be stopped. Belief that the results of our elections reflect the will of the people is the underpinning of our entire republic.
Breitbart.com: Why does there need to be a program like True the Vote?
Engelbrecht: In recent years, we’ve seen increasingly lax standards produce increasingly unreliable results--and our problems are compounded by a severe shortage of volunteers who are desperately needed to help work in the polls, help review the registry, help support a fair and legal electoral process at every possible stage. We believe the best solution is a well-organized national volunteer program that inspires and equips citizens to actively protect the rights of legitimate voters.
Breitbart.com: So what is True the Vote doing?
Engelbrecht: True the Vote is a citizen-led effort to educate fellow voters, research the veracity of voter rolls, recruit and train polling place volunteers, and fully document observations all along the way. We’ve done it, we know it works, and we want to help others do the same in their communities. Our exportable model of training, technology, and support will prepare citizens for participation in the electoral process at whatever level of involvement they choose.
Breitbart.com: Where are you doing it?
Engelbrecht: We're currently working with hundreds of citizen-led election integrity efforts, spanning across 30 states, with emphasis in select states and counties known to have historically problematic election processes. Based on our research, we believe it is possible to engage 1,000,000 volunteers for the 2012 elections.
Breitbart.com: You've been sued by the Democrats and Soros-funded groups, you've been targeted by the IRS, you've been maligned, you've been attacked. Does it get to you?
Engelbrecht: No. All we are doing is encouraging people to take a pro-active role in upholding the integrity of our elections. It's true that certain partisan groups are choosing to politicize our efforts, but this never was, nor will it ever be, about party. This is about principle. We're not going to be distracted by baseless accusations that are intended only to incite anger and sow discord.
The question we should all be asking is why certain groups will go to such extraordinary lengths to undermine the efforts of states who seek to provide their voters with simple corrective measures like photo ID and to silence citizen groups like True the Vote, who are trying to help better the process for every voter, irrespective of party. What are we so close to disrupting or revealing that they will do anything they can to try and stop us?
Breitbart.com: Is it just about stealing elections, or is there something deeper behind it?
Engelbrecht: Absolute power corrupts absolutely. We have come too close to giving our government absolute power. Not just in elections, but in everything. We've got to re-engage and help pitch in in any way we can to help correct this course. Involvement, observation, holding people accountable--that changes things. And that’s what True the Vote is here to do. Corruption, when not stopped at the polls, rises essentially unchecked to the highest offices in our nation. And it has to stop. If our elections aren't truly fair, we aren't truly free.