Category Archives: fraudulent fraud squad

Mike Johnson Plans to Introduce Legislation to Require Everyone to Provide Documentary Proof of Citizenship to Be Registered to Vote

What Speaker Johnson announced while standing next to Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago is not too far off from what I predicted, though it is even more draconian.

It’s not necessary, would disenfranchise many voters if it passed, and is extremely unlikely to pass.


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“Voter fraud defamation case heard at NC Supreme Court could have implications for 2024 elections”


A timely constitutional question, as the 2024 elections ramp up: Should people who falsely accuse North Carolina voters of committing voter fraud be immune from being sued for defamation, if they go through the state’s formal process for making the accusations?

The North Carolina Supreme Court considered the issue Thursday in a case that focuses on just a few voters — but which could also have significant ramifications for how future allegations of voter fraud are handled in this closely watched swing state.

The lawsuit dates to 2016, when backers of then-Gov. Pat McCrory’s reelection campaign falsely accused dozens of North Carolinians of committing voter fraud. McCrory, a Republican, lost to now-Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, by a razor-thin margin of just a few thousand votes. The fraud allegations came just days after the election and were intended to potentially sway the results. But they were thrown out as baseless by elections officials who had been appointed by McCrory himself, and a recount confirmed Cooper’s victory.

The case heard Thursday doesn’t involve McCrory personally. It’s about whether his lawyers and other supporters behind the voter fraud claims can be sued for defamation by the wrongfully accused voters they named. The voters won at trial, and then won a partial victory in the state Court of Appeals, before the case went up to the Supreme Court.

Politically connected lawyers and operatives packed the high court Thursday as lawyers presented oral arguments.

Based on the questioning from justices, the Supreme Court appears primed to reverse those prior decisions and rule in favor of the GOP operatives. No matter how the justices rule, it could impact the 2024 elections and their aftermath in North Carolina.

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“The Right’s Bogus Claims about Noncitizen Voting Fraud”

Walter Olson:

If you believe Elon Musk, “Democrats” are permitting large numbers of immigrants into the country on purpose in order to win elections. By “ushering in vast numbers of illegals,” he wrote on X March 5, “they are importing voters.” Even if Democrats do deport many unlawfully present persons, they can’t be wholehearted in that effort because “every deportation is a lost vote.” Musk’s co-thinker on this topic, former president Donald Trump, said in January in Iowa: “That’s why they are allowing these people to come in—people that don’t speak our language—they are signing them up to vote.” And a television ad from Ohio Republican Sen. J. D. Vance claims that current border policies mean “more Democrat voters pouring into this country.” “Treason indeed!” exclaims Musk.

All these men know—although they often fail to concede in their commentaries—that it’s already entirely illegal for anyone who isn’t a citizen to vote in a federal election. (A few municipalities let non-citizens vote in local races like those for city council and school board.) I suppose their unstated premise could be that some future blanket amnesty would combine with a decree of mass naturalization to eventually enable these millions to vote lawfully. That would require an act of Congress that would go vastly beyond Reagan’s amnesty or any other step in memory and would assuredly not be thinkable in current politics.

In reality, they are promoting the claim, a longstanding one with Trump, that noncitizens already do vote in massive numbers because mere illegality won’t stop them from voting—they already broke the law to get here, didn’t they? (As of 2019, three-quarters of the foreign-born population was in fact in the country lawfully, but let’s not get all technical.)

So let’s take up the challenge. It’s true that some laws do get violated a lot. Is the law against non-citizen voting among them? Does enough such voting go on to sway many electoral outcomes? While it’s impossible to prove a negative, there are ways to assess the probabilities. And as we do, we will find ourselves circling around to another question: If Musk or Trump or Vance have good evidence that this is happening, why haven’t they presented it?…

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“RNC under Lara Trump spreads ‘massive fraud’ claims about 2020 election”


The Republican National Committee last week sent out a scripted call to voters’ phones on behalf of new co-chair Lara Trump saying Democrats committed “massive fraud” in the 2020 election.

It’s the latest example of how the RNC under the former president’s daughter-in-law is perpetuating lies about the 2020 election, even as prominent Republicans say the party needs to look forward to win in 2024.

“We all know the problems. No photo IDs, unsecured ballot drop boxes, mass mailing of ballots, and voter rolls chock full of deceased people and non-citizens are just a few examples of the massive fraud that took place,” the RNC call said. “If Democrats have their way, your vote could be canceled out by someone who isn’t even an American citizen.”

The claim of “massive fraud” in the 2020 election marks a significant shift in messaging for the RNC because lies about the 2020 election had not been a consistent theme in its messaging since Donald Trump left office.

But the call’s message is largely consistent with the views publicly espoused over the past four years by Lara Trump, who was elected as co-chair in early March as part of Donald Trump’s takeover of the GOP. Lara Trump has a long history of echoing his election fraud claims, according to a CNN KFile analysis of her past statements as a commentator and surrogate for the former president.

“I’m sure you agree with co-chair Trump that we cannot allow the chaos and questions of the 2020 election to ever happen again,” said the call, which was obtained by CNN’s KFile from the anti-robocall application Nomorobo, which estimated 145,000 calls were sent with the message from April 1-7.

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“Republican National Committee courts election conspiracy theorists to help watch polls”

Zachary Roth:

As the Republican National Committee ramps up plans to monitor the polls for illegal voting this fall, the national party is increasingly working with a loose network of anti-fraud extremists who have been found to routinely spread election lies.

The extremists also have close ties to the prominent far-right conspiracy theorists who tried to overturn the 2020 results of the presidential election.

The director of the Republican National Committee’s department for “election integrity” — tighter voting rules that prioritize anti-fraud measures over access — spoke at an April 4 online meeting hosted by two Florida activists who are close allies of the pillow entrepreneur and leading election-conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell.

States Newsroom attended the meeting, and video of it was posted online by the organizers.

It was just one of several recent episodes in which top RNC staff have reached out to large-scale purveyors of election falsehoods or right-wing extremists as the party recruits volunteers to guard the vote. 

Election officials and election administration experts have repeatedly said there is no evidence of large-scale fraud or illegal voting in the 2020 election. Hundreds of lawsuits intended to uncover significant fraud have found very little.

The GOP’s growing outreach to these groups serves as the latest warning about the threat to this fall’s vote that could still be posed by the “big lie” that the 2020 election was stolen, election experts say.

“It’s one thing when fringe conspiracy theorists spread lies about elections,” said David Becker, an election administration expert who founded and runs the Center for Election Innovation and Research. “But it’s particularly disappointing to see a major political party give a platform to extremists whose testimony and statements have been found time and again to be false, and non-credible by the courts.”

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“Inside the Election Denial Groups Planning to Disrupt November”


As the most consequential presidential election in a generation looms in the United States, get-out-the-vote efforts across the country are more important than ever. But multiple far-right activist groups with ties to former president Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee are mobilizing their supporters in earnest, drawing on one baseline belief: Elections in the US are rigged, and citizens need to do something about it.

All the evidence states otherwise. But in recent weeks, these groups have held training sessions about how to organize on a hyperlocal level to monitor polling places and drop boxes, challenge voter registrations en masse, and intimidate and harass voters and election officials. And some are preparing to roll out new technology to fast-track all of these efforts: One of the groups claims they’re launching a new platform for checking voter rolls that contains billions of “data elements” on every single US citizen.

These groups could have a major impact on the 2024 election. In addition to disenfranchising voters and putting additional pressure on already overstretched election offices, they could convince more and more people that US elections are fraudulent.

Catherine Engelbrecht and her organization True the Vote have effectively tried to disenfranchise voters for more than a decade by claiming that voter rolls are filled with phony voter registrations. Engelbrecht’s rhetoric was given an unprecedented boost in the wake of 2020, when Trump and other elected officials mainstreamed conspiracies that the elections had been rigged in favor of Democrats. Hundreds of national and local election denial groups were formed, and many of them amassed huge followings on social media platforms like Telegram. As the 2024 presidential election looms, they are ramping up efforts to do it again.

“It could be exponentially worse than what we saw in 2020, but we’re going to be awake, we’re going to be engaged, we are going to understand the process, and we’re going to have options to continue to hold to those truths,” Engelbrecht said during a March webinar titled “Election Integrity Team Building 101.” “We’re not going to back down. There’s too much to lose.”

The hour-long presentation was delivered from a hotel room in Denver, with Engelbrecht laying out what could sound like a relatively benign plan to monitor elections and check voter rolls. “Keep a soft heart, keep a kind word in your mouth, approach people irrespective of party with love. You will find that things will be much better if that is the approach that is taken,” Engelbrecht said. The session, she said, was overbooked.’

Engelbrecht then began speaking about elections being “perilously close to cracking in half,” and her presentation became a highlight reel of election conspiracies, references to crystals, Christian nationalist rhetoric, and militaristic jargon. “If this republic’s to be saved, it’s because [of] people like all of you that are on this webinar right now. There are some bad actors out there and we live in particularly chaotic and caustic times,” said Engelbrecht. “If we wait on somebody to do something, we will watch freedom slip away on our watch. That’s how close we are.”

“These groups are trying to lay the groundwork to potentially make later claims about the election that very well may be false. But the more chaos that can be caused along the way will give more fodder to that disinformation,” Andrew Garber, an expert at the Brennan Center for Justice’s Voting Rights and Elections Program, tells WIRED. “It’s not just bad if there’s a mass voter challenge because people might get kicked off the rolls. It’s also bad if people then take that challenge and say, ‘See, look at all these ineligible voters,’ when in fact that’s not the case.”…

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“GOP official who claimed 2020 election was stolen voted illegally 9 times, judge rules”


 Georgia Republican official who pushed false claims that the 2020 election was “stolen” was found to have voted illegally nine times, a judge ruled this week.

Brian Pritchard, first vice chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine, as well as investigative costs, and be publicly reprimanded.

Pritchard had been sentenced in 1996 in Pennsylvania to three years’ probation for felony check forgery charges. His probation was revoked three times — once in 1999, after he moved to Georgia, and again in 2002 and 2004. In 2004, a judge imposed a new seven-year probationary sentence on Pritchard, thus making him ineligible to vote until at least 2011 in Georgia, where state law prohibits felons from voting.

Despite that, court documents showed that Pritchard signed voter registration forms in 2008 in which he affirmed that he was “not serving a sentence for having been convicted of a felony involving moral turpitude.” He then cast ballots in four Georgia primary and general elections in 2008, as well as five special, primary and general elections in 2010.

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“GOP scrambles to organize early and mail voting despite Trump’s attacks”


In December, Donald Trump called for the end of mail-in voting in presidential elections. In February, he told Michigan voters that “mail-in voting is totally corrupt.” He later told Fox News host Laura Ingraham that “if you have mail-in balloting, you automatically have fraud.”

“The ballots are a disaster,” he said earlier this month to British TV host Nigel Farage, without offering evidence and despite having voted by mail himself in recent elections. “Any time the mail is involved, you’re going to have cheating. It’s too bad people don’t say it. They don’t want to say it.”

That message is complicating plans by officials at Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee to orchestrate aggressive efforts in key battleground states to persuade voters to cast their ballots early and by mail. Party officials say the efforts are crucial to win the election.

In an interview, RNC Chairman Michael Whatley said the party would spend considerable money — he would not say how much — to encourage voters to vote by mail and help collect ballots, a practice known as ballot harvesting that is legal in some states but that Trump has decried.

“We’ve got to get every one of our voters to vote, no matter the method,” Whatley said. “We want people to use mail-in voting where it is legal. We want people to ballot harvest where it’s legal. We want to comply with the laws in every state.”

Trump advisers say their get-out-the-vote effort will include persuading people to vote by mail if they believe it is the method the person is likely to use based on their voting history, including making sure ballots are mailed to people who request them.

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“A Georgia man created a tool to challenge voter registrations. Trump’s allies may use it.”

USA Today:

Election deniers and allies of former President Donald Trump want to help regular citizens ask election officials to clean the voter rolls. That effort has alarmed experts who worry that local government workers will be inundated with requests they cannot vet quickly enough, leading to disenfranchisement in 2024.

Anyone can create challenges using a software program called EagleAI Network that pulls in voter registration and history data from secretaries of state, property tax and land use data from counties, change of address records from the US Post Office, obituary data, and criminal records.

Experts cited myriad problems with a system that broadly takes public information and cross-references it to try to find people who shouldn’t be on the voter rolls.

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Kari Lake, Pulling a Giuliani, Concedes Liability for Defaming Election Official Stephen Richer; Wants to Go Straight to Damages (That Didn’t Work Well for Giuliani)

Stunning yet routine:

Kari Lake is asking the court to quickly issue a judgment and to decide how much she will pay Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer in the defamation case he brought against her, according to a filing in Maricopa County Superior Court on Tuesday.

Richer sued Lake — who ran for governor in 2022 and is now running for U.S. Senate — for defamation last year, alleging that Lake made defamatory allegations that he had assisted in rigging the gubernatorial election against Lake. They are both Republicans.

Richer’s legal team is treating Lake’s filing, a motion for default judgment, as an admission of liability.

“She has decided she cannot defend herself in this case despite continuously saying she has evidence,” said Ben Berwick, counsel at Protect Democracy, among the firms representing Richer in the lawsuit.

Lake’s attorneys do not defend Lake’s claims about Richer in the filing, nor do they challenge any of Richer’s arguments about the facts. Instead, they ask the court for a quick hearing to decide damages.

After filing the document, Lake said in a video posted on X that Richer’s lawsuit against her was “lawfare,” and she wouldn’t be taking part in the lawsuit. It was unclear what she meant, and one of her attorneys, Jennifer Wright, told Votebeat to contact her communications team for additional comment….

Richer said in his complaint that these statements had caused harm to him and his family, including harassment that took a toll on his physical and mental health.

Lake is asking for medical records to support his damages claim, and specifics to support his allegation that her claims cost him Republican support from donors and others.

The defamation case was just about to enter the discovery phase ahead of trial, in which Lake would have been required to provide Richer’s attorneys with private statements she had made about her claims about Richer.

“Just the idea that Stephen, who is a committed public servant who has shown a real commitment to the integrity of elections in Arizona, would intentionally sabotage her election is absurd on its face,” Berwick said on Monday, before Lake’s filing. “Among other things, they are both Republicans.”

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“RNC to add new lawyers focusing on claims of election fraud – including one key figure from 2020 challenges”


The Republican National Committee, now under the control of former President Donald Trump and his campaign, is bringing on a slate of new lawyers both internally and externally who will focus intensely on election fraud, an issue Trump has remained fixated on.

The lawyers “will initiate battle on election integrity from an offensive instead of defensive posture,” Chris LaCivita, Trump’s co-campaign manager and newly instated RNC Chief of Staff, told CNN.

LaCivita will bring on Charlie Spies, an experienced GOP lawyer, to take over as chief counsel at the RNC.

Trump attorney Christina Bobb, a former correspondent at the Trump-aligned One America News Network, will join as senior counsel for election integrity. Bobb was very active in promoting Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was stolen and authored a book called “Stealing Your Vote: The Inside Story of the 2020 Election and What It Means for 2024.”

“I’m honored to join the RNC and thrilled the new leadership is focused on election integrity. I look forward to working to secure our elections and restore confidence in the process,” Bobb said in a statement to CNN.

Bobb was directly involved in two separate Trump controversies that led to the former president’s federal indictments in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case, as well as the 2020 election subversion case. She has not been accused of any crimes.

In June 2022, while federal authorities were still trying to recover classified documents that remained at Mar-a-Lago, Bobb signed a sworn affidavit on Trump’s behalf, inaccurately telling the Justice Department that there weren’t any classified files left at the club. Special counsel Jack Smith later charged Trump with lying to the FBI and accused Trump of illegally causing Bobb to submit this false declaration even though he knew it was untrue.

She also played a key role in the Trump campaign’s fake electors scheme after he lost the 2020 election, working closely with Trump advisers to organize the plan in seven battleground states. The scheme formed the basis of parts of Smith’s election subversion indictment against the former president, which says Trump and his allies created “fraudulent slates of presidential electors to obstruct the certification proceeding” in Congress on January 6, 2021, and “disenfranchise millions of voters.”

Trump has pleaded not guilty in both cases.

Bobb was also a correspondent during the 2020 election for the fringe pro-Trump network OAN, where she promoted false claims that the election was rigged. The voting technology company Dominion sued Bobb and OAN for defamation in 2021. Some of her on-air segments were also referenced in a separate defamation case against OAN filed by Smartmatic, another aggrieved voting company. OAN and Bobb have denied wrongdoing in these civil cases.

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“Conservatives are warning about noncitizens voting. It’s a myth with a long history”

Miles Parks for NPR:

For those looking to raise doubts about American elections, it’s becoming clear that a key 2024 voting boogeyman will be immigration.

The false notion that undocumented immigrants are affecting federal elections has been floating around for over 100 years, experts say, but this year, due in part to an increase in migrants at the southern U.S. border, the idea could have new potency.

The narratives are being pushed by prominent right-wing figures including Cleta Mitchell, a former adviser to Donald Trump, along with the presumptive Republican presidential nominee himself.

NPR acquired a two-page memo Mitchell has been circulating laying out “the threat of non-citizen voting in 2024.”….

“Allegations of vote fraud were the main stated justification for imposing restrictive practices,” Hayduk said.

And in the century since then, he said, every time the country has seen an influx of immigrants, a loosening of immigration policy or an expansion of voting access, accusations of voter fraud have followed.

Mitchell’s memo about the risk of noncitizen voting touches on two of those things. Migrant encounters at the southern border hit an all-time high in December, and the document focuses mostly on the implementation of a 1993 law, the National Voter Registration Act, that made registering to vote easier.

The NVRA does not require proof of U.S. citizenship for people to register to vote, only that potential voters fill out a form and attest under penalty of perjury that they are citizens. A federal voting law passed in 2002 also required applicants to provide a unique identification number to register, like a driver’s license or Social Security number, which election officials say effectively serves as a citizenship check since both of those forms of ID involve the government checking whether someone is a citizen or not.

But Mitchell’s main hope, according to the document, is to spur Congress to require documentary proof of citizenship as part of registration.

Experts say that sort of change would have a drastic negative impact on many eligible voters, like naturalized citizens, without solving any real problem.

“If you make [registering] harder, there will be students, young people, elderly people, poor people and other groupings of people who would just not bother,” said Daniels, of the University of Baltimore. “This whole document is [saying] we don’t want the NVRA or any other piece of legislation to do what it’s supposed to do, which is register people to vote.”

Mitchell did not respond to an email from NPR requesting comment

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“Trump’s Man at the R.N.C. Will Face Pressure to Satisfy His Election Lies”


After the 2020 election, one story out of North Carolina had a powerful effect on Donald J. Trump.

A proactive Republican, the story went, had worked behind the scenes to stop Democrats from stealing the election in the state and helped secure Mr. Trump’s victory there.

That Republican was Michael Whatley, the chairman of the North Carolina G.O.P. He had pushed the state party to recruit what he described as thousands of poll observers and hundreds of volunteer lawyers as part of an election-protection program. Mr. Trump called Mr. Whatley after the election, and Mr. Whatley boasted to him about that program’s success.

“That’s great,” Mr. Trump replied, as Mr. Whatley recounted the conversation in a speech to North Carolina Republicans last year. “Why the hell didn’t they do that in Arizona and Georgia?”

Mr. Whatley, who became the Republican National Committee’s general counsel last year, is now poised for a far bigger and more consequential role: Mr. Trump handpicked him to succeed Ronna McDaniel as the committee’s chair. Ms. McDaniel is expected to step aside Friday.

Mr. Trump’s selection of Mr. Whatley, whose appointment still awaits a formal vote, sums up the former president’s vision for the new R.N.C. He wants it to share his obsession with the false idea that President Biden and Democrats stole the 2020 election from him and are working to do it again in 2024. Mr. Trump believes Mr. Whatley is more in sync with his views about voter fraud than Ms. McDaniel, and he has insisted that Mr. Whatley will stop Democrats from “cheating” in November, according to two people who have spoken to Mr. Trump and who insisted on anonymity to discuss private conversations.

But the story that stuck with Mr. Trump — that his victory in North Carolina had hinged on Mr. Whatley’s election-watchdog work — was just that: a story, based only loosely on reality….

Moreover, Mr. Whatley himself has a more mixed record than Mr. Trump may realize on the former president’s No. 1 issue. While he often sounds like a loyal soldier in the effort to falsely discredit Mr. Biden’s win, at other times he has distanced himself from the most extreme conspiracy theories promoted by Mr. Trump and his allies….

On the campaign trail Mr. Trump has praised a plan — first pushed by his former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn — to “guard the vote” during the 2024 election, with an emphasis on heavily Democratic cities with large Black populations.

“Michael Whatley will bring in active leadership in the form of election integrity, as opposed to a passive slash reactive approach,” said Chris LaCivita, a senior Trump campaign adviser who is expected to soon move over to the R.N.C. to run its operations in the general election.

A spokesman for Mr. Whatley declined to answer questions for this article.

If there’s another tight race in swing states this fall, the R.N.C. will be far more active after Election Day than it was in 2020, said Steve Bannon, the far-right podcast host and former chief strategist to Mr. Trump.

“It’s the MAGA takeover of the R.N.C.,” Mr. Bannon said in an interview….

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