How One Election Integrity Group Is Carrying Out the Fight in Georgia—and Beyond
Nov. 27, 2020
Election integrity group True the Vote mounted legal battles in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin in the days after the election. But it wasn’t long before the organization determined there were insurmountable obstacles to advancing their arguments and time was not on their side.
By Nov. 16, True the Vote founder and president Catherine Engelbrecht had to make one of her most difficult professional decisions and dismiss the lawsuits.
“We were subpoenaing data for the actual records of not just who checked in to vote, but the votes that the states were actually counting,” she explained, noting that the group’s first step was to reconcile the accuracy of the voter rolls—a daunting task.
To do so, the group developed a new methodology that looked at the identity, residency, and citizenship of every record to establish good data.
Knowing the rules were “terrifically flawed,” the first step had to be establishing what the data set should have looked like, she explained. From there, once states released records of who was counted as having voted, True the Vote theoretically should have been able to match those up. And that’s when the group encountered a problem.
“Even now we've got states that have sealed their elections that have not released the record of the actual vote counts by voters,” Engelbrecht said. “All that is available for analysis is the record of who signed into the poll book or who sent in a ballot, but there are no reconciliations available.”
Given that reality, there was no way to do good analysis.
“If the state is ready to seal and certify its election, then that data ought to be ready for public review,” Engelbrecht said. “That that should just be standard. They can't hide the ball all the way through to certification. And then that looks all the way back around to our losses. The clock was ticking.”
But the litigation efforts were just one part of the group’s ongoing work—it’s assembled “world class talent in the area of statistical analysis” and continues to review the data that is available. Additionally, True the Vote is still collecting whistleblower reports, thousands of which have already been received through its Validate the Vote initiative. And now, significant efforts are being made in Georgia where the the Senate runoff elections will be taking place Jan. 5.
But when the curtain closes, the work on election integrity will not stop. Engelbrecht feels the 2020 election has been a wake-up call to Americans that we cannot take the safeguarding of elections for granted.
While the mail-in ballot issue this year played a role, “the corollary to that is the removal of safeguards to ensure that those mail ballots are accurate,” she continued. “I mean the fact that we are the only industrialized country in the world without a standard of photo voter identification, the notion that somehow we've allowed it to be said that that's suppressing the vote, it makes no sense.”
Engelbrecht’s fervent hope is that Americans do not lose interest in election integrity even after all results get certified.
“We need to now remember that we have to roll up our sleeves and make this local,” she said, adding that in 2021 True the Vote will be building local citizen-led election integrity teams.
“We need to now remember that we have to roll up our sleeves and make this local,” she said, adding that in 2021 True the Vote will be building local citizen-led election integrity teams....