The Left's War on True the Vote and Catherine Engelbrecht: Where It All Began
Many of us on the conservative side of the aisle have sat in wonder as we watched left-of-center media and politicos whip their base into a feeding frenzy over nonpartisan efforts to safeguard our nation’s election system.
How could so many people blindly believe and commit to their leaders’ narratives? How can so many Americans actually think a photo ID requirement is somehow akin to white-sheet wearing Klansmen lynching black Americans? How can nearly every single left-of-center media outlet make such unfounded and extravagant claims about True the Vote being an effort to put black people back in chains?
These questions can best be answered by pinpointing exactly when the Left’s war on True the Vote and the group’s founder, Catherine Engelbrecht, first began.
The Left establishment’s attack began in a full on assault; there was no warning shot over a bow and no effort to communicate or negotiate differences. The year was 2010. The Democratic Party of Texas and the ACORN front group, Houston Votes, filed lawsuits against True the Vote. Though the lawsuits were a direct response to True the Vote’s effort to call out apparent irregularities in their local Harris County/Houston election and voter registration processes, their lawsuits came as an assault on True the Vote’s nonprofit status. It was a collateral attack, using one pretext for lawsuits when their disagreement stemmed from another reason all together.
Though the lawsuits chose the indirect path, the left-of-center media outlets went straight for the target allegation -- they alleged True the Vote stemmed from the “racist” Tea party movement and was an effort to marginalize or otherwise prevent “communities of color” from having a voice. Al Sharpton and MSNBC, Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee with the help of the Houston Chronicle and local left-of-center news stations, and the Huffington Post were among the many who immediately attacked in a coordinated manner.
What had True the Vote done? What “crime” had they committed to receive such attention? They had simply pointed out the irregularities in voter registrations submitted by ACORN’s front group, Houston Votes, and irregularities in Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s district.
Like most Tea party movement inspired groups, Houston’s King Street Patriots began to actually get involved in the political system rather than simply gather and protest. The groups decided in 2009 to volunteer at polling places and participate in service.
Many of the group’s members began to realize that the polling places and election judges who depended on community volunteers weren’t receptive to all volunteers -- they wanted Democratic volunteers. The group soon learned why.
There were instances of election judges who told voters who they should and should not vote for, many voters were allowed to vote without any form of identification at all -- a clear violation of Texas law, etc. Engelbrecht and her King Street volunteers decided to do what the Left seems to hate; they decided to “snitch.”
Over 800 signed affidavits were submitted to the appropriate authorities detailing the ethical and legal violations the volunteers had encountered. Engelbrecht decided her volunteers needed to better understand the election and voter registration processes and see if such problems went deeper. Her volunteers decided to submit an open records request and look at the voter registrations from the previous 30 days. What they found was shocking. There were a high number of irregularities from the registrations submitted by one group -- Houston Votes, the ACORN affiliated effort.
Engelbrecht’s group “snitched” yet again, submitting their findings to the appropriate local authorities. The local authority tasked with election matters was the Harris County Tax Assessor and Voter Registrar, Leo Vasquez.
Vasquez office investigated and presented his office’s findings to the public they served. Among the many concerns and findings, Vasquez announced in a press conference on August 24th 2010 that his investigation of only 24,000 registrations, the number of registrations from the previous month, only 7,000 were new voters. He stated that the other 17,000 were problematic. He stated that Houston Votes was the “registration arm of Texans Together Education Fund” and “served as the area’s new ACORN organization.”
Vasquez went further to state “Evidence shows that the Houston Votes and Texans Together organization is conspiring in a pattern of falsification of government documents, suborning of perjury and a deliberate effort to over-burden our processing system with thousands of duplicate and incomplete voter registration applications...”
Such discoveries led Engelbrecht to form a nonpartisan effort to research and shine light into our nation’s voter registration and election processes. She and her volunteers formed True the Vote.
Concerned over the issues found in the one month sample of 24,000, True the Vote decided to look at the local Harris County voter registry as a whole -- all approximately 2,000,000 registrations.
In a previous piece I wrote for Breitbart.com and Townhall magazine, I outlined True the Vote’s findings and the peculiar issues surrounding Democratic Representative Sheila Jackson Lee:
“After the registry was divided into the seven congressional districts which Harris County encompasses, True the Vote needed a starting point to isolate red flags for possible irregularities. They decided to start looking at registrations that had addresses six or more people were registered to.
The group found the seven congressional districts had four that were predominantly Republican and three that were predominantly Democratic. The four predominantly Republican districts had a range from 1,973 to 3,300 instances with six or more people registered to one address. The three predominantly Democratic districts had much higher numbers. Though this could possibly be attributed to variations in socioeconomic factors between the predominantly Republican and predominantly Democratic districts, what the group found next was alarming.
The predominantly Democratic districts themselves had large variations between them in the number of instances with six or more registered voters at one address. The first had 7,560, the second 8,981, and the third—the district of Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, the prominent, outspoken Democratic congresswoman—had 19,596 instances with six or more voters registered at one address.
True the Vote then compared the socio-economic demographics of the three predominantly Democratic congressional districts in an effort to explain why Jackson Lee’s district could have such a high number
In comparison. Engelbrecht told Townhall, the group had found no significant difference to explain such a drastic variation in the numbers.
The group began doing research into the abnormalities in Jackson Lee’s district. They took the first 3,800 registrations of the flagged 19,596 instances with six or more registrants at one address and began to investigate further. The group visited addresses and scoured property tax records. The group found many of the addresses were vacant lots or business addresses. Thirty-nine were registered at businesses and 97 of the addresses were nonexistent. One hundred six of the registrations revealed the same registrant registered more than once, and 207 of the addresses turned out to be vacant lots.
Meanwhile, 595 registrations had registrants with driver’s license addresses not matching the registration, and many were voting in a district they did not live in. Of the random 3,800 registrations from Jackson Lee’s predominantly Democratic district, 25 percent had critical errors.”
This was True the Vote’s crime: They found irregularities in Democratic Representative Sheila Jackson Lee’s turf and an ACORN affiliated group -- and told on them.
The Left establishment responded with all out war. The lawsuits filed against True the Vote did not address these issues. MSNBC’s Al Sharpton did not address these issues. Each and every left-of-center group and outlet from the Houston Chronicle to the Huffington Post did not address any of this data at all. They simply attacked True the Vote as “racist.”
Such clear efforts to deceive Americans and obscure truth are an ever present reminder that a group of liars can say something enough times and it becomes “truth” -- if left unchallenged.
The left-of-center effort to hide the irregularities of our nation’s many “ACORNs” and “Sheila Jackson Lees” has grown into involving the US Department of Justice, Eric Holder, the Congressional Black Caucus’ Elijah Cummings, the NAACP, and now political ploys from the United Nations as they “monitor” our elections to ensure conservatives do not “marginalize” black voters.
As confusing and controversial as the fight over election integrity has become, sometimes it is helpful to look at the roots of the conflict and how it all began.