Volunteers with True the Vote, a Tea Party group that claims it is trying to fight voter fraud by challenging the right of voters to vote, may have committed fraud themselves. Plunderbund, an Ohio-based political blog, reported Monday that members of the group attempted to sign up as poll observers in African American-heavy precincts in central Ohio, but may have forged signatures to do so.
While local candidates officials had authorized members of the group to serve as designated observers on forms filed in October, five of the six Franklin County candidates had withdrawn permission to use their signatures prior to the submission of this week’s forms. According to one candidate, the True the Vote volunteers simply “forged” her name onto the document — possibly a 5th degree felony.
According to the report:
The forms have been rejected unanimously by all members (Rs and Ds) on the board. True the Vote observers will not be allowed in Franklin County polling locations tomorrow. Poll monitoring organizations expect they may still be stationed outside of polling locations. Board member Zachary Manifold told us he was ”amazed that a group that goes to such extreme lengths to claim voting fraud in Ohio would knowingly forge or misuse signatures to try to gain access to Franklin County polling locations.”
The U.S. Department of Justice is monitoring Franklin County — home to Columbus, Ohio — to enforce federal voting rights laws and “protect the rights of all citizens to access the ballot on Election Day.”
Numerous studies have shown in-person voter fraud is virtually non-existent in the United States. But attempts to suppress the vote by intimidation and challenges to legitimate voters by groups like True the Vote are a serious threat to what President Ronald Reagan called “the crown jewel of American liberties” — the right to vote.
The Columbus Dispatch reports that Franklin County Elections Director William A. Anthony Jr. “said the group may be investigated for possibly falsifying documents after today’s election.” True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht denied the allegations, saying “The facts are simple: no citizen volunteer — including…anyone else trained by True the Vote — took any action that was either illegal or unethical, particularly as it pertains to the placement of poll watchers.”