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Below is an excerpt from our powerful cover story, “Threatening Your Vote,” by Madeleine Morgenstern. Madeleine explores how voter fraud threatens the rights of every citizen, yet the government and media blast those who dare to protect our electoral system.
So what can Americans do? Stand up.
Get the full story only the September 2012 issue of TheBlaze Magazine.
The integrity of our electoral system and the voices of millions of Americans are at stake when governments, political parties, media and activists won’t crack down on fraud, abuse and outright cheating at the polls—and berate those who dare to stand up. A new movement of concerned voters, epitomized by the grassroots organization True the Vote, is taking the fight to the corrupt by appealing to ordinary citizens’ common sense.
With miserable unemployment numbers, crushing national debt and the battle over health care still raging, it’s difficult to overstate the importance that the results this fall’s election will have. But what happens if this most sacred of civic duties is compromised? What happens if there are people out there working to corrupt the system for their own personal gain?
If we don’t have truly free and fair elections, just where does that leave us as a nation?
At least 44 states have seen charges or convictions for voter fraud in the last 10 years, according to a vote fraud study from the Republican National Lawyers Association. Charges have included voter impersonation, vote buying, absentee ballot fraud and double voting. In 2010, a Nebraska man was arrested after investigators said he submitted nearly 200 phony names during a drive for a minority voter registration group. Last year, a Mississippi NAACP official was convicted of fraudulently casting absentee ballots in the names of 10 people—four of whom were dead—after forensics matched her DNA to the envelope seals.
The need to protect the voting process—above and beyond efforts local, state and federal governments happen to be taking—has led everyday citizens to take matters into their own hands. True the Vote is one such grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving election integrity. Self-described as “developed by citizens, for citizens,” the Houston-based group recruits and trains volunteers to serve as election monitors and also to validate existing voter rolls before a questionable registrant can cast a potentially fraudulent ballot. Their primary goal heading into the 2012 election is to have 1 million poll watchers in place around the country so that when Americans go to cast their ballots on Nov. 6 they do so freely and fairly.
Leading the charge is Catherine Engelbrecht, who started True the Vote in 2009 after she and others from their local Tea Party group volunteered to work the Houston polls as Harris County election monitors. Her eyes were opened, she said, when she saw people in line with multiple voting cards and others who flat-out said they did not know who to vote for being directed on how to vote by poll workers.
“When you watch something like that happen, you’re faced with a choice,” Engelbrecht told attendees at True the Vote’s national summit in Houston earlier this year. “Free and fair elections are the cornerstone of everything we are.”
More troubling, she said, is that if this is what happens when people are watching, what happens when they’re not?
A Problem One Side Wants to Ignore
Many liberal groups brush aside the issue of voter fraud, arguing that claims of it are overblown and that conservatives perpetuate the “myth” as an excuse to disenfranchise minority voters by implementing voter ID laws. But a Rasmussen Reports public opinion poll earlier this year found that 64 percent of likely U.S. voters believe voter fraud is a problem, and 73 percent think requiring an ID to vote is not discriminatory.
In one-third of the United States, voters can walk into their polling place and cast a ballot with nothing more than their name and no need to prove they are who they say they are. On the other hand, a total of …