The GOP's Army of Voter Intimidators

Colorlines' voting-rights reporter, Brentin Mock, sizes up the organization True the Vote, supported by the Koch brothers' super PAC Americans for Prosperity, and its goal of policing the 2012 presidential election.

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Colorlines' voting-rights reporter, Brentin Mock, writes that True the Vote, an organization affiliated with the Koch brothers' super PAC Americans for Prosperity, is determined to train and dispatch a Tea Party army of voter intimidators to watch over this year's electoral process to spot "irregularities," label them fraud and use that "evidence" to justify new voting restrictions.

Ouren and Americans for Prosperity gathered these recruits in Boca Raton in July to instruct them on how they could become "empowered" vessels for True the Vote's poll watcher program. True the Vote is most widely known for its advocacy of restrictive photo voter ID laws. But while that might garner headlines, the group's real focus is on policing the act of voting itself. As Ouren declared during the group's national summit in April, and repeated again in Boca Raton, his recruits' job is chiefly to make voters feel like they're "driving and seeing the police following you." He aims to recruit one million poll watchers around the country.

That's an ambitious goal, and it's easy to conclude Ouren's eyes are bigger than his organizing stomach. But when you consider all of the eyes in True the Vote's rapidly growing network, the goal may not be so far-fetched.

True the Vote's emergence wasn't an isolated event. Its rapid rise occurred in harmony with hundreds of other Tea Party groups across the nation, dozens of which exist in Texas alone and many of which have been "empowered" by True the Vote for "election integrity" kibitzing. It has plugged itself into an existing infrastructure of influential far right organizations hellbent on criminalizing abortion, banishing gun control, repealing the Affordable Care Act -- and now, on intimidating would-be voters.

Read Brentin Mock's entire piece at Colorlines.

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