Remember True the Vote?
It’s the right-wing voter-monitoring group based out of Houston dedicated to cracking down on (largely imaginary!) voter fraud. The organization, led by Catherine Engelbrecht, recruits eager, aggressive election monitors and (naturally) advocates for controversial voter ID laws. True the Vote has also itself been accused of intimidating minority (read: Democratic) voters and having a slippery grip on facts, so it has that going for it, as well.
One of the group’s latest fundraising emails floats the idea that the Republican National Committee is absolutely powerless to stop the Democrats and Hillary Clinton from rigging and stealing the 2016 election.
"It's really a simple question," the email reads. "Do you believe Hillary is capable of stealing the election? If your answer is yes, then please give generously to True the Vote. The Republican Party can't and won't stop this election from being stolen...I kid you not...If you want honest elections, True the Vote is your best defense. We will keep fighting when others cannot — or will not."
(The Clinton campaign did not respond to a request for comment on whether or not they plan on stealing the next American presidential election (through voter fraud and/or other nefarious means), tarnishing American democracy forever and seizing power for Hillary.)
Over the last few years, in-person voter fraud has turned into a cause célèbre of some conservative activists. It has been billed as a threat to our democracy (abetted by the Democratic Party) and a widespread epidemic in national elections. In reality, UFO sighting are more common than this type of election fraud, and there is little to no evidence that this epidemic is subverting free and fair elections.
“If you listen to all [True the Vote’s] rhetoric, it's clear what their intent is,” Douglas Ray, of the Harris County Attorney’s Office in Texas, told News21 shortly before the reelection of President Obama. “Their intent is to try to act out on this belief...they have that the only reason Barack Obama got elected is because a bunch of ‘those’ people cheated on their ballot.”
Engelbrecht and her allies insist that their is no racial or partisan component to their efforts. (Engelbrecht and one of her colleagues was a member of Groundswell, a conservative strategy group of activists and journalists that was plotting a “30 front war seeking to fundamentally transform the nation” to combat the liberal agenda and progressive messaging.
As the 2016 election intensifies, True the Vote does not appear to be letting up this time around, either.
“After all the tyranny, all the things that have been done to my organizations, to my family and to me, many people would have quit,” Engelbrecht said in her 2014 congressional testimony. “I have heard, over and over, that people are afraid to tell their stories because of what has or might happen to them and their families at the hands of our own government. But know this, my experiences at the hands of this government in these last five years have made me more determined than ever to stand before you and America and say I will not retreat. I will not surrender. I refuse to be intimidated. I will not ask for permission to exercise my constitutional rights.”
Some would also count voter intimidation as a form of stopping people from exercising their constitutional rights.