| In recent years, Americans have seen right-wing politicians and groups complaining about how alleged voter fraud is destroying the integrity of our elections. This recent trend started with the witch-hunt against low-income advocacy group ACORN, which insane conservatives accused of stealing votes for President Obama. An unfounded belief that American elections are being stolen by fraudulent voters is now an essential piece of right-wing orthodoxy, providing the foundation for recent efforts to remove voters from the rolls in states like Florida and Wisconsin. Cases of actual voter fraud are actually extremely rare.
Tonight in Houston, Republican runoff candidates Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst will attend a final debate hosted by the King Street Patriots. The King Street Patriots is a group dedicated to suppressing the minority vote through voter intimidation tactics. The name of their advocacy arm/project is "True The Vote". The group's purported aim is to protect election integrity.
In reality, the King Street Patriots are a right-wing voter suppression group dedicated to disenfranchising Democratic voters.
KSP started in Houston during the 2010 election, and immediately began working to suppress the minority vote. KSP trained "poll watchers" on how to monitor voter sites. On election day and during early voting, reports flooded in from across the city of King Street Patriots volunteers leering over the shoulders of voters, arguing with election judges and spreading false information to voters in line. It also became clear that True The Vote volunteers were working in tandem with Harris County Republican Party operatives, a clear violation of their designation as a 501c(3) advocacy organization, a designation which KSP was quick to point out to BOR last week.
The unending charges of voter suppression, a majority of which had to do with the intimidation minority voters, led the Department of Justice to send federal inspectors to monitor the election. The charges also led to the Texas Democratic Party filing a lawsuit against KSP. Texans for Public justice, a non-profit, non-partisan government watchdog also filed an ethics complaint against KSP alleging that KSP/TTV have "made repeated in-kind contributions to the Harris County GOP and multiple Republican candidates, potentially worth hundreds of thousands of dollars."
Wisconsin Recall Election
True The Vote is back with force in 2012. Before the Wisconsin recall election, True The Vote launched an effort called "Verify The Recall" to challenge recall petition signatures in an attempt to protect Republican Governor Scott Walker. True The Vote, working with local Tea Party groups, alleged hundreds of thousands of the signatures were invalid - allegations which, as the Center for Media and Democracy reported, did not stand up to even limited scrutiny.
When that effort failed, True The Vote coordinated with numerous Wisconsin Tea Party groups to train poll watchers, even holding a day of election observer trainings across the state on May 19. "Teachers" flew in from Houston, and a second, online training day was held on May 29. On their website, True The Vote lists Wisconsin as a "victory." Remember, KSP/TTV are supposed to be nonpartisan. Clearly, they are not.
The King Street Patriots Are Un-American
KSP is against the American idea itself: every citizen should have the right to vote and to do so without obstacle. If you aren't yet convinced that King Street Patriots are a bunch of dangerous harassclowns whose sole purpose is to disenfranchise Democratic voters, consider this: in November, KSP held a fundraiser with Matthew Vadum. Vadum is a right-winger famous for arguing that registering the poor to vote is un-American.
In all likelihood, Ted Cruz or David Dewhurst will be Texas's next senator. What does it mean that they're both kow-towing to this anti-American group dedicated to violating our elections? It means that Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst aren't really interested in Texans' support; they're for winning, American law be damned.
King Street Patriots are a right-wing tool to override the opinions of the American people so that right-wing, corporatist policies become the law of the land. Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst care only that their agendas get passed, not whether Americans have free and fair elections. For supporting King Street Patriots alone, neither of these men deserve to represent Texas in the Senate.