It’s been a rough couple months for voter rights, and the GOP is still on the attack. The Tea Party has launched an initiative called True the Vote, a poll-watching network where people stand guard around voting booths, supposedly to deter voter fraud.
On Friday’s PoliticsNation, Rev. Al Sharpton spoke to Brentin Mock, an investigative reporter for Colorlines.com, who sat in on some True the Vote summits and training sessions. He asked Mock to describe what he saw.
“What you had were far right-wing speakers talking about the right-wing agenda, a lot of Obama-bashing. But the main thing they talked about was monitoring and watching,” Mock said. “According to True the Vote, people on both sides of the voting booth are up to no good. The people working the polls are subject to corruption and fraud, and the people going up to vote are also subject to corruption and fraud. So they believe it’s their job to watch both sides to make sure that nothing happens.”
Rev. Al suspected that perhaps, just maybe, this isn’t an objective, nonpartisan group.
“Absolutely not. And it’s not been since their inception,” Mock said. “They helped set the Republican Party agenda in Texas and they helped pass the photo voter ID law. Now they’re working to pass a photo voter ID law nationally.”
Sharpton said the initiative sounds like overzealous right-wingers hovering over voters, intimidating workers and voters in predominately black and Latino voting locations. And, True the Vote now boasts having trainees in 35 states. Sharpton asked Joyce Beatty, a Democratic candidate for Congress in Ohio, how she feels about having that presence in her state.
She said Ohioans will not be intimidated:
“We are obviously upset about this because this is clearly voter suppression…they are afraid that in Ohio, we make presidents. They are afraid we will come out, we will turn out the vote, and we will reelect President Obama.
So we have to do a better job of making sure we get all of our folks to the polls. We have to remind them of how hard we have fought to be able to have this right. And that’s what it is. 'True the Vote' is 'Rob the Vote' and we have to let them know this is a very mean-spirited partisan machine that’s working against us.”