Originally published in Center For Individual Freedom
A new right-leaning star was born last weekend at the True the Vote summit in Houston, while the dynamo who heads True the Vote simultaneously achieved multiple goals related to ballot integrity. For a single 24-hour conference to achieve so much is remarkable, and deserves more attention than one meager column, alas, can give it. But let’s try.
First, what is True the Vote? Despite leftist propaganda to the effect that it is some sort of partisan (or even racial) attempt at vote suppression, True the Vote is a growing, bipartisan, multi-racial, national movement to ensure that elections are conducted with integrity and without polling-place antagonism. The idea is to place and train poll watchers, as per existing law, in every precinct in the country – so they will know exactly what they can and can’t do to stop and report voting irregularities without causing a stir that could in any way intimidate, much less suppress, legitimate voters.
A largely volunteer organization, its founder and president is Catherine Engelbrecht, the aforementioned dynamo equally adept at organizing, speaking and inspiring a dedicated platoon of good citizens. The effort is desperately needed: In the past decade, 46 states have prosecuted people for vote fraud, the incidence of which is certainly far higher than authorities have caught. Dozens of states and counties have more people registered to vote than there are actual, voting-age adult residents – an anomaly serving as open invitation to even more fraud.
The summit itself featured a combination of excellent training (for those who will organize poll watchers) and superb speeches by a plethora of luminaries including journalist John Fund, author of Stealing Elections, Justice Department whistleblower J. Christian Adams, author of Injustice, and longtime Democratic pollster Pat Caddell. The latter fired up the crowd with his insistence that existing vote fraud is widespread and “nothing less than the political equivalent of treason” and “a bullet at the heart of what this country is about” – while also expressing amazement that Attorney General Eric Holder has not yet been “impeached” for “corrupt[ing]” the Justice Department “in the service of every bizarre ideology you can imagine.”
Another galvanizing speaker was former ACORN official Anita MonCrief, who described that organization’s “climate and culture of fraud” while blasting the New York Times and CNN for spiking her story in 2008 despite reams of documentation she provided.
But the surprising star of the show, according to many observers including this one, was former Rep. Artur Davis, the Alabama Democrat who gave one of the key nominating speeches for Barack Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. In recent months, Davis has written numerous times for the conservative National Review, and he strenuously opposed ObamaCare while in Congress, so it was already clear that on at least some issues he leans right of center. It was already known that he supported voter-ID laws: Last October 17 he wrote a column in the Montgomery Advertiser saying as much. Of fraudulently manufactured votes, he wrote then, “If you doubt it exists, I don’t; I’ve heard the peddlers of these ballots brag about it, I’ve been asked to provide the funds for it, and I am confident it has changed at least a few close local election results.”
But that was child’s play compared to the tour de force of a speech he made last weekend. Holding up a photo-ID, he ridiculed those who say it is too great a burden to require one – especially those who have said such a requirement is a violation of civil rights and human dignity.
“This is not a billy club,” he said, recalling violent civil rights battles of the past. “This is not a fire hose…. This is not Jim Crow…. My parents and my grandparents can tell you what a colored-only water fountain tasted like. They could tell you what a colored-only bathroom smelled like.” It certainly, he said, was nothing like his ID card: “this tiny little thing that doesn’t wound, that has no sharp edges.” And: “To call photo ID a degradation of human rights is not only something that is so fundamentally wrong, but is something my parents would not even recognize…. That [claim that ID requirements violate human rights] is the old tactic of telling us the very opposite of what it true.”
Also blasting the establishment media for waking up in tony enclaves and driving to offices in prime real estate while telling the rest of us that we are out of touch with America, Davis lumped those media folks together with the political ruling class that willingly looks away from (or tacitly condones) vote fraud. “You cannot let the insiders run this game,” he thundered.
Point very well taken. Fortunately, Catherine Engelbrecht and her dedicated volunteers, outsiders all, are acting on Davis’ advice.