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Voter Purge News

A GOP donor gave $2.5 million for a voter fraud investigation. Now he wants his money back.

Fred Eshelman, founder of Eshelman Ventures, is suing True the Vote after he donated $2.5 million to the group, which claimed it was undertaking a voter fraud investigation. 

From the Washington Post:

Like many Trump supporters, conservative donor Fred Eshelman awoke the day after the presidential election with the suspicion that something wasn’t right. His candidate’s apparent lead in key battleground states had evaporated overnight.

The next day, the North Carolina financier and his advisers reached out to a small conservative nonprofit group in Texas that was seeking to expose voter fraud. After a 20-minute talk with the group’s president, their first conversation, Eshelman was sold.

Read the full story at The Washington Post

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Voter Purge News

Ohio nearly purged 10,000 voters who ended up casting 2020 ballots

List of 116,000 people set to be removed from rolls after election included thousands of eligible voters

From the Guardian:

More than 10,000 people who Ohio believed had “abandoned” their voter registration cast ballots in the 2020 election, raising more concern that officials are using an unreliable and inaccurate method to identify ineligible voters on the state’s rolls.

In August, Ohio’s Republican secretary of state, Frank LaRose, released a list of 115,816 people who were set to be purged after the November election because the election officials in each of Ohio’s 88 counties flagged them as inactive. Voters could remove their name from the list by taking a number of election-related actions, including voting, requesting an absentee ballot, or simply confirming their voter registration information.

Last week, LaRose’s office announced that nearly 18,000 people on the initial list did not have their voter registration canceled, including 10,000 people who voted in the November election. About 98,000 registrations were ultimately removed from the state’s rolls, LaRose’s office announced last month. There are more than 8 million registered voters in the state.

In a statement, LaRose said the fact that so many people prevented their voter registrations from being canceled is a success of the state’s unprecedented efforts to notify voters at risk of being purged. But voting rights groups say the fact that Ohio nearly purged thousands of eligible voters is deeply alarming and underscores the inaccurate and haphazard way the state goes about maintaining its voter rolls.

Read the full story at The Guardian

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Voter Purge News

Twitter Troll Tricked 4,900 Democrats in Vote-by-Phone Scheme, U.S. Says

From the NY Times:

Douglass Mackey, a right-wing provocateur, was accused of spreading memes that made Hillary Clinton supporters falsely believe they could cast ballots in 2016 via text message.

A man who was known as a far-right Twitter troll was arrested on Wednesday and charged with spreading disinformation online that tricked Democratic voters in 2016 into trying to cast their ballots by phone instead of going to the polls.

Federal prosecutors accused Douglass Mackey, 31, of coordinating with co-conspirators to spread memes on Twitter falsely claiming that Hillary Clinton’s supporters could vote by sending a text message to a specific phone number.

The co-conspirators were not named in the complaint, but one of them was Anthime Gionet, a far-right media personality known as “Baked Alaska,” who was arrested after participating in the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol, according to a person briefed on the investigation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation.

As a result of the misinformation campaign, prosecutors said, at least 4,900 unique phone numbers texted the number in a futile effort to cast votes for Mrs. Clinton.

Mr. Mackey was arrested on Wednesday morning in West Palm Beach, Fla., in what appeared to be the first criminal case in the country involving voter suppression through the spread of disinformation on Twitter.

Read the Full Story on the NY Times:

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Voter Purge News

‘Stop the Steal’ Didn’t Start With Trump

From the New York Times:

‘Stop the Steal’ Didn’t Start With Trump by Jamelle Bouie

To explain the attack on the Capitol, you can’t just turn your focus to Donald Trump and his enablers. You must also look at the individuals and institutions that fanned fears of “voter fraud” to the point of hysteria among conservative voters, long before Trump. Put another way, the difference between a riot seeking to overturn an election and an effort to suppress opposing votes is one of legality, not intent. And it doesn’t take many steps to get from one to the other.

Over the ensuing years, under pressure from the White House ahead of the presidential election in 2004, the Justice Department ramped up its crusade against voter fraud. Of particular interest was ACORN, a now-defunct advocacy organization that was working — as the presidential election got underway — to register hundreds of thousands of low-income voters. Swing-state Republicans accused the group of “manufacturing voters,” and federal prosecutors looked, unsuccessfully, for evidence of wrongdoing. Later, Karl Rove would press President Bush’s second attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, to fire a number of U.S. attorneys for failure to investigate voter fraud allegations, leading to a scandal that eventually led to Gonzales’s resignation in 2007.

ACORN and voter fraud would remain a bête noire for Republicans for the rest of the decade. Conservative advocacy groups and media organizations produced a steady stream of anti-ACORN material and, as the 2008 election campaign heated up, did everything they could to tie Democratic candidates, and Barack Obama in particular, to a group they portrayed as radical and dangerous. ACORN, Rush Limbaugh said in one characteristic segment, has “been training young Black kids to hate, hate, hate this country.”

During his second debate with Obama, a few weeks before the election, the Republican nominee, John McCain, charged that ACORN “is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.” And his campaign materials similarly accused Obama, Joe Biden and the Democratic Party of orchestrating a vast conspiracy of fraud. “We’ve always known the Obama-Biden Democrats will do anything to win this November, but we didn’t know how far their allies would go,” read one mailer. “The Obama-supported, far-left group, ACORN, has been accused of voter-registration fraud in a number of battleground states.”

McCain and the Republican Party devoted much of the last weeks of the election to a voter fraud scare campaign with ACORN as the villain. And while, in the wake of the election, these allegations of illegal voting never panned out, the conservative fixation with voter fraud would continue into the Obama years and beyond.

The narrative of fraud and election theft that spurred the mob that stormed the Capitol would be unintelligible without the work of the Republican Party, which inculcated this idée fixe in its voters. “Stop the Steal” wasn’t a Trump innovation as much as it was a new spin on an old product line that, even after the violence on Jan. 6, Republicans are still selling.

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Georgia

From ACJ:

A federal judge on Wednesday declined to force the state to immediately restore to voting rolls thousands of people who were removed last year.

Voting rights organizations, including the Black Voters Matter Fund, sued Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger earlier this month, challenging the removal of what they said were hundreds of thousands of eligible voters from Georgia’s rolls.

U.S. District Judge Steve C. Jones said he would not grant the immediate restoration of voters to the rolls because they have had a year to reregister if they were removed incorrectly and, if the secretary of state’s office did reinstate them, it would cause confusion.

“Plaintiffs acknowledge that they do not know how many people on their list of cancelled registrations may have re-registered before December 7, 2020,” Jones wrote in his ruling. “Thus, the risk of dual registrations and voter confusion is high.”

Read the full article from the ACJ.

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Voter Purge Project Updates

This fall, we have been hard at work doing Get Out the Vote drives to ensure that all eligible voters made their voices heard.

Now that the national election is over, we are focused on the Georgia run-off, where our team of canvassers is out knocking on doors to get out the vote for the January 5th senate race.

All the while, we are still collecting and processing data to track voter purges around the country. Stay tuned for reports and more updates about what we learn from our data.

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Voter Purge Project in Vice

Vice News talked with founder of the Ohio Voter Project and author of the Voter Purge Project’s data cleaning and analysis methodology Steve Tingley-Hock about our work to track wrongful data purges across the country.

“When I ran the initial queries, that was my first indication that there was a serious problem here,” Steve says of the initial Ohio records that showed about 40,000 voters were set to be wrongfully purged. Steve, along with the VPP, now collects and analyzes data for 16 states.

Watch the full video below, and read more about what we are doing with this data in our report.

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Voter Purge Project Report

On October 1, we released Unnecessary Disenfranchisement: Voter Purges Around the Country, a report detailing our work to monitor and organize against wrongful purges across the country.

Read the full report below for background on the project, our methods, and what we are doing to ensure eligible voters are informed of their voter status as November’s elections draw near.

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Voter Purge Project

Did you get a text from us? Public election records show that your name has been removed from the state voter list, which may mean that you are not eligible to vote in this November’s presidential election.

But it’s not too late to re-register!

Register again, and join over 130 million Americans in voting this year. Registering takes just two minutes.

About Voter Purge Project:

We are a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization committed to protecting eligible voters against disenfranchisement. Through our research, we have identified voters who have been removed from their state’s voter lists – and we want to help them get back on before November.

Contact us: info@voterpurgeproject.org.

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Reports

Washington

For more information about these reports and the Voter Purge Project methods, please contact info@voterpurgeproject.org.