There are some issues which are so black and white, you have to wonder how anyone could be on the wrong side of them. One of those issues is election integrity. Who could possibly be against securing elections? Who could possibly be against ensuring that each rightful vote counts as one vote and is not diluted or cancelled out by fraud?
When Houston’s King Street Patriots uncovered evidence of egregious voter fraud in the 2008 election, they assumed their findings would be welcome. They assumed their follow-up effort to combat voter fraud, which they deemed True the Vote, would be embraced with open arms. After all, if there’s ever been a wholly non-partisan issue, election integrity is it. No matter who you vote for, you want that vote to count, right?
To their surprise, the King Street Patriots came up against vicious opposition. They were accused of suppressing the vote and worse. The Huffington Post went so far as to baselessly associate them with suspected arson.
The group’s award-winning effort blazed a trail which they hope others will follow. Co-founder Catherine Englebrecht briefed the crowd at the Tea Party Patriots American Policy Summit in Phoenix last weekend. Her King Street Patriots are hosting a True the Vote National Summit in Houston later this month and plan to make the details of their election integrity effort available as a template for activists.
I spoke with Ms. Englebrecht at the American Policy Summit. She offered some insights from her group’s experience.
NRB: Since you invented the wheel [when it comes to election integrity], is there one point in retrospect that you would recommend activists in other state’s focus on first? Is there a foundation upon which to build everything else?
Catherine Englebrecht: It may surprise you. There are a lot of tools in the True to Vote model that we can talk about, the need to volunteer and all those things. But I think, once you decide that you really want to participate in the polls, especially in communities that haven’t seen a lot of participation [from citizen poll-watchers], you want to begin meeting with those county officials. You want to begin meeting with both [major political] parties. And say, “Hey guys. We want to participate in a way that is supportive. We want to make your job easier. There’s nothing to fear in a citizen being involved at the polls.”