Two groups of rightwing sheriffs that echo some of Donald Trump’s false claims about widespread voting fraud in 2020 are ramping up drives to monitor this year’s elections for potential voting and election fraud.
The two Arizona-led groups together boast over 350 sheriffs as members nationwide, and have forged various ties with Texas-based True the Vote, which has a history of making unverified claims of voting fraud, spurring watchdogs and law enforcement veterans to voice alarms of looming threats to voting rights and election workers.
The burgeoning sheriffs’ drive to investigate so-called voting fraud was evident at a secretive Arizona meeting on 13 August that drew a crowd of some 200 allies, including former sheriff Richard Mack and current sheriff Mark Lamb, who each lead sheriffs’ groups. The True the Vote chief, Catherine Engelbrecht, arranged the event, Mack told the Guardian.
The gathering lasted about seven and a half hours and featured talks by Engelbrecht and Lamb, the sheriff of Pinal county, Arizona, who teamed up in June to create ProtectAmerica.Vote. to promote a larger role for sheriffs in election monitoring, said Mack.
“I totally support what they’re doing,” said Mack, who leads the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, which has thousands of members around the country, including hundreds of sheriffs.
The event, to which Mack invited several of his staff and two former law enforcement officials, provided “more evidence of quite extensive election fraud”, said Mack. “There’s no way anyone in this country should be trusting computers to tabulate votes.” The meeting, which was covered live by the conservative Right Side Broadcasting Network, was held at a venue “ that was very surreptitious”, added Mack, former sheriff of Graham county, Arizona.