“Inside the far-right plan to use civil rights law to disrupt the 2024 election”


At a diner just off the freeway north of Sacramento, a mostly white crowd listened intently as it learned how to “save America” by leaning on the same laws that enshrined the rights of Black voters 60 years ago.

Over mugs of coffee and plates of pot roast smothered in gravy, attendees in MAGA and tea party gear took notes about the landmark Voting Rights Act and studied the U.S. Constitution. They peppered self-proclaimed “election integrity” activist Marly Hornik with questions about how to become skilled citizen observers monitoring California poll workers.

The nearly 90 people gathered in the diner in February were there to understand how they can do their part in a plan to sue California to block certification of the 2024 election results unless the state can prove that ballots were cast only by people eligible to vote.

If any votes are found to be ineligible, Hornik explained, then all voters are being disenfranchised — just like those decades ago who couldn’t vote because of their race.

“If we think our right of suffrage … has been denied or diluted, we have to stop that immediately. We have to stop it right in its tracks,” said Hornik, co-founder of a group called United Sovereign Americans, which is led by a man who helped push former President Trump’s baseless challenges to Joe Biden’s election in 2020.

The two-hour meeting at the Northern California diner — one of several similar presentations that have taken place across the country in recent months — is part of the group’s plan to file lawsuits in multiple states alleging voters’ civil rights are violated by errors on the voter rolls. The goal is to prevent states from certifying federal elections in 2024 until substantial changes are made to election processes.

What United Sovereign Americans has planned is a legal long shot. But election experts worry that if even one sympathetic judge rules in their favor, it could sow doubts about the integrity of a presidential rematch between President Biden and Donald Trump.

“Sometimes the whole point is to whip up enough smoke that it seems like a fire,” said Justin Levitt, a former deputy assistant attorney general who specializes in voting rights.

The group’s legal arguments rely on faulty interpretations of federal election law and are likely to fail in court, according to Levitt and other experts who believe the group’s evidence ofvoter registration fraud is overstated and inaccurate.

United Sovereign Americans is part of a cottage industry of far-right election deniers that has sown disinformation since Trump lost his reelection bid. The group aims to scrutinize elections with a legal strategy that can “throw massive amounts of sand in their gears,” Hornik said during a February presentation in Orange County.

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