Nation Author Spreads Racialist Myths in Attacks on Poll Watchers
Something is happening this election that has never happened before. Tens of thousands of patriotic Americans are searching voter rolls for dead and invalid voter registrations. These same patriots will monitor thousands of polling sites, recording any deviation from legal procedures and standing as silent sentinels against lawlessness in the election. True the Vote and affiliated groups across the nation are leading this charge.
For this public service, vile dishonest elements of the Left and their duped surrogates in Congress have attacked them. A parade of shameless attackers have pushed a dishonest narrative about these groups. Among them are the Demos (a group funded by the convicted felon George Soros), Common Cause, and the Brennan Center at NYU Law. These purportedly non-partisan organizations have played an aggressive role in attacking Tea Party efforts to ensure that the 2012 elections are free from voter fraud.
They are all vote fraud deniers.
The most dishonest and racialist of the attackers, however, is Brentin Mock at The Nation. Apparently, this magazine has no editorial standards for honesty and accuracy, else they would terminate their relationship with Mock.
He felt compelled to crash the True the Vote Summit in Houston last spring to spy on the Tea Party group’s volunteer training. Mock mocked former Democrat Congressman Artur Davis after Davis spoke of protesters outside the training.
“Topping it off, former Congressman Artur Davis (yes, that one) had some kind words for the protesters outside the conference. But if there were actual protesters, they must have been invisible.”
I snapped a photo of the “invisible” protesters Mock wrote about, and The Nation has never corrected his inaccuracy.
But Mock’s inaccuracies aren’t just clumsy and small; they are also large and defamatory. They are racialist and malicious. Worse, some politicians have been duped by him.
Let’s stroll through Mock’s greatest hits.
Mock Myth #1 – “there are plenty of reports that show True the Vote has targeted neighborhoods that are majority people of color.”
There are also plenty of reports of Bigfoot and wood elves. All of these “reports” come from Mock’s fellow travelers who share Mock’s radical agenda. In truth, True the Vote monitors polls in every neighborhood. They have “targeted” (read: sued) two Republican-run election offices, including the Ohio Secretary of State. Mock cites not a lick of evidence for this assertion other than rumor and paranoia.
Logan Churchill of True the Vote sets the record straight: “True The Vote has no legal ability to place or register poll watchers. Once a trainee has completed TTV coursework, it is the duty of the individual to seek placement as a poll watcher on behalf of a party, candidate or ballot measure proponent.” True the Vote merely teaches people how to effectively monitor the polls, something nearly every state considers an important civic function, and they have enshrined the right into law.
Mock Myth # 2 – Tea Party poll watchers badger and intimidate voters.
Mock is highly agitated by white election integrity advocates appearing in predominately black precincts because of their skin color. He claims that they have “intimidated” black voters by “getting in their face and hovering over them.”
His proof? Nothing; he can’t produce a single voter to say they were treated this way.
In fact, Mock explicitly opposes white poll watchers being present in black precincts. “There is obviously something really fishy that a bunch of white people from the Tea Party start showing up in the hood. And obviously that is going to be an unsettling thing. If you are in the hood anywhere in America that is going to be an unsettling thing. White people show up with clipboards.” (Watch his dishonest version of events at this video beginning at minute 3:00-4:30)
No word on whether Mock opposes diversity in other public places.
Here are the actual True the Vote training documents.
If they have a program to train poll watchers to intimidate voters, the materials are awfully ineffective. “True the Vote trains poll watchers that they cannot even give voters the time of day or directions to the restroom. While inside the polling place, observers are instructed only to speak with the election judges/poll workers,” Churchill tells me.
Mock Myth #3 – True the Vote challenges minority voters at the polls.
Mock and his allies have stoked fears of poll “vigilantes” who will challenge minority voters on election day. This is an outright lie. Churchill explains, “TTV trainees are alerted to all rights and abilities given to poll watchers according to local law, but are discouraged from offering direct challenges at the polling location. TTV places emphasis on poll watchers directing attention to poll workers, making certain that local procedural requirements are respected for the benefit of all voters.”
A nationwide army quietly standing watch at the polls will do more to deter criminal behavior on election day than voter challenges.
Mock Myth # 4 – Election integrity advocates are breaking federal laws.
Mock leads an October 8 Nation story with the headline: “Are True the Vote’s Poll Watching Activities Illegal?” This is a deliberate effort to chill and deter political association and involvement. It is designed to threaten law abiding citizens with the fear of arrest if they participate legally in the political process and exercise rights under federal and state law.
Who’s suppressing whom?
When you look at the laws upon which Mock and his crowd rely, you discover a shaky legal foundation. Garret Epps at The Atlantic joins in the witch hunt – “The Klan Act: How an Obscure Law Could Cut Down on Bullying at the Polls.” Epps blusters that 42 U.S.C. 1985 could be used to criminally prosecute Tea Party poll observers.
The only problem is that the law requires the specific intent to “intimidate, threaten or coerce” people from voting. Good luck charging granny poll watcher with this law. Grandma doesn’t bully anyone with her clipboard, pen, and purse. “Intimidation and threats” have rational definitions, not Mock’s crazy paranoid standard that “if white people are in the hood, blacks get uncomfortable.”
It makes you wonder what Mock doesn’t want America to see in certain polls.
Incidentally, here is Epps’ article about the use of the same statute against the New Black Panther Party in Philadelphia. (Psych! He never wrote about that incident. Like so many Leftist academics, he has selective outrage about election law.)
Rather than breaking federal law, these Tea Party groups are enforcing federal laws that have laid dormant for decades. Section 8 of Motor Voter allows private parties to bring lawsuits to demand that the voter rolls are free of ineligible and dead voters. The Left didn’t like the 1993 compromise with House Republicans that added Section 8 to the more familiar registration provisions. So they attack anyone who dares try to enforce federal law, particularly since Eric Holder won’t. State laws provide a legal process for citizen challenges to potential deadwood on the rolls.
Mock Myth #5 – Pre-election challenges are targeting minorities.
Tea Party groups are searching the voter rolls for possibly improper voter registrations and alerting state authorities under state legal procedures. The examination of state voter rolls for problems are just that, statewide. Nobody is “targeted” except potentially invalid registrations, regardless of party affiliation or race. Simple standards are applied in this examination: is the voter dead; are they registered at a phony or inadequate address; are dozens or hundreds of voters registered at the same address?
Pretty simple stuff. But to racialists, racial animus explains so much about America.
Mock has even managed to push two politicians out on a limb with his dishonest attacks. Both Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) have fallen for it and sent accusatory letters to True the Vote. True the Vote has challenged the pair to attend their training seminars to learn the truth. They have even offered to meet with them and explain the True the Vote program. That neither Boxer nor Cummings have accepted tells you all you need to know about the motivation of the pair of politicians. As with Mock, myth is more compelling than truth.
But perhaps Republican’s shouldn’t get too upset about Mock and his confederates terrifying democrats about armies of elderly ladies armed with clipboards. If Democrat voters really are so gullible to believe Mock’s myths, then perhaps the GOP should just sit back, relax, and let them scare the hell out of their own voters for no reason.