In 2009, Catherine Engelbrecht of Houston volunteered to be a poll watcher. From that moment forward, her life changed.
During her time as an election volunteer, she saw people come in with duplicate registrations and people coming into the polling place to vote only to find out someone else had already voted for them through the mail. This, among other reasons, is why Engelbrecht founded True the Vote, a non-profit organization dedicated to ending voter fraud. True the Vote started with the intention of working locally, but quickly expanded to more than 35 states in just three short years.
“When you just talk to average American voters, they’re concerned which is why True the Vote has become such a national movement in a short period of time,” Engelbrecht said, stressing that currently only half of the necessary poll watchers needed are available, which is why True the Vote plans to mobilize one million volunteers for Election Day 2012.
Thursday, The Heritage Foundation held a summit about voter fraud and Voter ID featuring Engelbrecht, Kansas Secretary of State Chris Kobach, Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler, South Carolina Secretary of State Alan Wilson and former Alabama Congressman Artur Davis.
According to Rasmussen Reports, 64 percent of voters believe voter fraud is a problem while nearly 70 percent believe the requirement of photo ID to vote makes sense, yet the Obama Justice Department headed by Attorney General Eric Holder has been attacking state based Voter ID laws for months.
“There is a disconnect between what the voters want and what the politicians want,” Engelbrecht said. “A confident, engaged electorate leads to a united America.”
Kansas Secretary of State Chris Kobach recently lead the effort to get the SAFE program or Secure and Fair Elections Act passed by both Republicans and Democrats in his state. The act was passed in April 2011 and early results of the SAFE act are already positive. In the first six months after the law went into effect, the state held 53 local elections. During those elections, 68,000 votes were cast and of the 68,000 voters just 84 people showed up at the polls without photo ID although most of those people actually had ID but chose not to bring it to the polls for one reason or another. Out of 1.6 million registered voters, only 32 people in the entire state took advantage of the free photo ID offer from Kansas' government.
But why is Voter ID necessary? It stops double voting, voter impersonation and a number of other fraudulent activities. It also prevents the legal vote of eligible voters from being stolen.
“When voter fraud is allowed to persist, it dilutes everybody’s vote,” Gessler said.
Former Congressman and former Democrat Artur Davis explains Voter ID in historic terms.
“This is a Virginia driver's license, also known as a state issued photo ID, it’s pretty innocuous looking,” Davis said while holding up his ID to the audience. “This is not a Billy club. It is not a firehouse……It’s not some kind of a weapon or club that southern sheriffs used to keep people from voting.”
Recently, the NAACP took their case against voter ID to the United Nations Human Rights Council, something unamusing to Davis who pointed out countries like Cuba, China and Saudi Arabia sit on the council, all countries that have never held a free election.
“Reasonable people shouldn’t disagree on one point: We have had our share of suppression, particularly in the American south, there is no question about that, but this [Voter ID] is not suppression,” Davis said. “How can it be a burden to ask people to do something they do all the time?”
Holder’s DOJ is currently suing a number of states over their Voter ID laws. Ironically, the latest state to come under attack is Pennsylvania, where video footage showed New Black Panther Party members intimidating voters while wielding Billy clubs outside of a Philadelphia polling station in 2008. Holder and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division refused to press charges against the Panthers and dismissed the case. (For more on this, read Injustice by DOJ whistleblower Christian Adams.)