Election deniers are focused on battleground states and counties with disproportionately large Black populations. These everyday citizens have made it their mission to purge voter registrations and ballots in order to, ostensibly, make elections safe again.
The New York Times reports that in Georgia, around 65,000 voter registrations have been challenged—many for alleged address issues; 22,000 ballots in Michigan were challenged after a group in that state claimed voters had incorrectly asked for absentee ballots for the August primary, and in Texas, the eligibility of over 6,000 voters in Harris County, where Houston sits, were questioned. Thankfully, most of the challenges have been rejected.
All of these recent voting disputes are coming from MAGA Republican groups who falsely believe that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump in a bizarre conspiracy that has been debunked by more than 60 judges and, at this point, hundreds of officials from every rank of government.
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According to a transcript of an event obtained by the Times, Catherine McDonald, who works for the Voter Integrity Project, a citizen-run organization that believes elections in America are “hacked,” told participants recently that she believed Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock won their seats because judges refused to listen to the Voter Integrity Project’s bogus complaints of voter fraud.
“There were more than enough illegal votes. [...] None of the judges in Fulton or DeKalb would take the case,” McDonald said.
In addition to attempting to purge voters, MAGA conspiracy theorists (such as MyPillow founder Mike Lindell) are flooding elections offices nationwide with records requests from the 2020 presidential election—an election they lost handily, according to all lawsuits challenging it, but have refused to believe was fair and democratically won by Joe Biden.
Vasu Abhiraman, senior policy counsel for the ACLU of Georgia, tells Reuters that groups such as VoterGA, which supports the Big Lie theory, are bringing "tens of thousands of what we would call baseless challenges that take up the resources of offices that really have better things to be doing at this time."
The move is intended to overwhelm elections boards ahead of the midterm elections already underway, in the hopes that there won’t be enough time left in a work day to help regular voters get absentee or mail-in ballots, or register in time to vote.
According to reporting from The Washington Post, small counties across the country are being overwhelmed with what appear to be duplicate requests for “cast vote records,” as they’re called by Lindell.
Dele Lowman Smith, chairwoman of the DeKalb County Board of Elections in Georgia, told the Times, “It’s a tactic to distract and undermine the electoral process.”
In the 2021 Senate runoffs, the Texas group True the Vote, the group behind the making of the deceptive and factually-ridiculous documentary 2000 Mules, attempted to challenge and purge over 360,000 registered voters in Georgia, the Times reports.
Using “election integrity” as the impetus, groups have organized via private Zoom calls, training, and meetings, and mobilized with the financial backing of notable Big Liars.
The Times reports participants are vocal about their aspirations: Get Republican candidates into office and keep Democratic voters in big cities (code for Black and brown Americans) from voting.