The highly controversial and irregular 2020 election taught us that the devil is always in the details. True the Vote has taken this lesson to heart and will apply it to the midterm elections. Catherine Engelbrecht, the founder of TTV, describes the situation as “fool you once, shame upon you; fool me two, shame on me”.
Preparation is key to preventing irregularities and other shenanigans in the 2022 midterm elections. Engelbrecht presented a webinar titled “5 Things You Can Do Now for an Honest Election In November.” Engelbrecht explained five steps citizens could take to ensure fair and competent elections in their communities. You can access the full presentation here (for Locals subscribers only). We viewed the webinar and summarized the key points below.
Englebrecht stated that election rules are not going to be followed if they aren’t enforced. She stated that 2020 was an illegal election and should not have been certified due to numerous breaches of standards and compliance.
Englebrecht stated that the integrity of election voting has been deteriorating year by year and that there is no consistent truth from one place to another. However, laws and rules are important and must be enforced.
Englebrecht mentioned the 1994 case Roe V. Alabama (no. not that Roe), which was decided by the 11th Circuit, and confirmed by the Supreme Court. This case dealt with the all-too-familiar situation where the Republican incumbent was ahead on Election Night, but the Democrat had enough absentee votes to win the day. Because the ballots weren’t sealed in an envelope signed and notarized by the voter or two witnesses, many of them were not compliant with state law. The final decision by the courts was that the contested ballots “diluted the ballot box” and they were disqualified.
Englebrecht concluded that when it comes down to substandard vote casting the law is on our side and has been confirmed by the courts. The rules are the rules. Either the election officials follow them completely or the election can’t be certified. It is important to be ready in the event that we have to stop the certification of tainted votes.
Englebrecht elaborated further on five simple things that ordinary citizens can do to help candidates and parties win in court when they are contesting funky elections.
1: Register to Serve
Englebrecht believes it is crucial that more Republican voters get involved in the process. It is important to address the fact that there is currently no parity among election workers.
You can get involved by becoming a poll observer. If you’ve never worked in an election, this is a great way for you to see the process from afar and learn a lot. Reach out to your chosen party or candidate to sign up. Candidates can appoint poll watchers in each precinct.
You can also become a poll worker. Interested? Click on My State to go to TrueTheVote.org You will be working for the county as a poll worker and will receive a stipend. There are many positions available. Unfilled positions will be filled by the county. If there aren’t enough volunteers, the county will close polling stations and send voters to another one.
Staffing the polls has the ostensible goal to achieve parity in a party. The ideal situation is for both Democrat and Republican poll workers to be equal. The truth is that Republicans are often under-represented.
Englebrecht cautioned that it is not easy to sign up to poll work. You should be prepared to do a lot of follow-ups. Keep pushing until you get on the list. Your political party may be able to help you get on the list in certain cases. Once you are accepted, the county will train and mentor you.
Do not be afraid to show your potential or prove you aren’t capable. To work in elections, the country needs you. If not you then who?
2: Check out the drop boxes.
Make sure you know how dropboxes in your state will be monitored. Check online first, and then contact election officials. You can request records.
TTV attempted to contest 2020 certifications due to dropbox abuse. The organization discovered that surveillance video was either ineffective or non-existent. You can help by making sure that your county surveillance cameras are located close enough to dropboxes and properly focused.
Englebrecht spoke of a county sheriff, who called election administrators and asked them to stream surveillance cameras to his office. This allowed sheriffs to monitor dropboxes from officials. The idea was praised by Englebrecht, who recommended it to law enforcement.
Tailgate parties for Dropbox are another option. For example, CleanElectionsUSA.org already has 37,000 people signed up to watch dropboxes. If you are volunteering to look after a dropbox, it is important to be respectful and not infringe on anyone’s right to vote. Do not make it difficult for voters, or put yourself in someone’s way. Most importantly, have fun and meet people with like-minded interests.
3: Give notice of 22 months.
Notify your election officials in advance that auditable items must be kept for at least 22 consecutive months after an election. This includes all voter documentation and surveillance video.
Englebrecht stated that her organization requires good records. They did not have any in 2020. She explained that “substantial compliance” with election laws is not compliance. “If you don’t follow the law you cannot certify that the election was certified.” When officials are given notice they must maintain proper documentation, they can’t claim they didn’t know.
4. Confirm the elector group.
Federal law requires that every state has a set of eligible electors, also known as the voter roll. The voter roll must be verified, correct, and accessible prior to the election. Notify your state officials in advance that this is necessary and request a copy.
You can say “This is the auditable set that went into this election after the election.” These electors did they vote? Where did these extra votes come from?
TTV found gaps when it compared 2020 votes cast records from voter rolls with the tallies provided by the counties to the states. “There shouldn’t be. Engelbrecht says they should be perfect matches. While most state records are within a fraction of one percent to 1% of each other, she said that some states were out of balance.
Englebrecht warned that states who can’t reconcile their numbers are excuses. She said, however, that the correct answer is “No.” You don’t certify if the numbers aren’t compatible.
How can we stop the certification of substandard results from happening again in 2022 Englebrecht stated, “Eyes on it,” Englebrecht stated, “As the votes begin to count, these numbers should be able to be reconciled.” — and this is something we should be closely watching.
Englebrecht pointed out that the same-day registration system will allow states to have an additional voter set. However, this should be possible. She stressed that “if it doesn’t reconcile and if counties don’t have their votes in,” you cannot certify who voted if they can’t tell you who.”
There was no equal protection in 2020 because the standards were different from one county to another, but TTV lawsuits were hampered by a lack of data. Without a case, no judge would make major decisions in this politicized environment.
5: Do you see something?
You can prepare ahead by identifying who you can contact in your network if you spot something suspicious. Know what to do. Keep numbers close at hand. For reporting purposes, states have an 800 number, and secretaries usually have one. They are unlikely to respond quickly. Keep local contacts on speed dial.
Engelbrecht stated that watchers can also call True the Vote’s Election Integrity Hotline at 855-885-2022. You can also fill out an incident report on their website. All actionable reports will be immediately forwarded to the local police. In late September, the TTV tipline 2022 goes live.
BONUS action: Vote!
Engelbrecht stated that voting in person on Election Day is the best way to ensure secure elections. This includes highly secure paper ballots and fully-staffed offices and sites. However, life isn’t always perfect. Early or absentee voter is acceptable. If you are working at the polls, then you must vote before Election Day. If you are out of town, the same applies.
Engelbrecht says America has the lowest voter participation of any industrialized country. Don’t be a purist, we need to increase the numbers. This is the continuum:
Better: Vote in person
Best: Vote in person on Election Day.
Englebrecht answered the question, “Yes.” You get your vote in early voting. Sometimes things can go wrong on Election Day, and you might not get to the polls as scheduled.
Englebrecht summarizes that elections are won or lost by the process. It is important to ensure that all artifacts are kept for at least 22 months and that there is an elector set record prior to the election.
Englebrecht suggested that we need to position ourselves in a way that allows us to move quickly out of the gate. We must point out that the 2022 election results cannot certifiable if the standards aren’t followed. She says, “It’s really so simple.”