That’s all that’s left until mid-term elections.
There are those who argue elections don’t matter, that the fix is in.
And while right-wing billionaires like the notorious Koch brothers and the Mercers are prepared to spend up to $400 million to prove that premise a fait accompli, they wouldn’t be bothering if it were true.
As primaries all over the country ahead of November mid-term elections report record turnout and our attention is on the “blue wave” liberals and progressives hope will result in Democrats wresting Congress from GOP control, we find that even in progressive bastions like New York, voter suppression is still very much a problem.
By now, we’ve all heard Donald Trump spout the demonstrable lie that three to five million people voted illegally in 2016, leading to his losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton.
That lie led to the formation–and subsequent dissolution–of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity (PACEI).
But there is another organization intent on preventing people from exercising their civic duty at the polls.
Meet the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), an advocacy group based in Indianapolis that released a document September 25 warning “24 states show corrupted voter rolls.”
PILF’s purported objective is to make sure voting rolls are up to date, and in a two-part report titled “Alien Invasion,” replete with front cover illustrating a UFO hovering over a “Virginia is for aliens” billboard, it warns audiences:
“Your vote is at risk. New alien voters are being added to the rolls month after month, and swift changes must be made to ensure that only Americans are choosing American leaders.”
PILF is publishing on the internet names, home addresses, and phone numbers of “ineligible aliens registering to vote and casting ballots.”
The problem is, these are not “ineligible aliens.”
According to a recent piece in The Guardian:
“Alien Invasion is one of the more startling examples of a growing rightwing push to pressurize election officials across the country to purge large numbers of people from the registered voter rolls…Voting rights experts warn that hundreds of thousands of eligible voters could face hurdles as they try to get to polling stations in November. African American, Hispanic or other minority communities, as well as young voters, are especially vulnerable to purges as they more frequently experience the kind of bureaucratic hiccups that can lead them to them being mistakenly ruled ineligible.”
The Brennan Center for Justice states “Alien Invasion” undermines its own central claim.
“The paper shows that many of these alleged non-citizens are not scheming to get on our rolls and influence our elections. In fact, it is just the opposite. The paper claims that 76 percent of the non-citizens identified properly admitted their citizenship status at the outset, but were processed anyway by government officials.”
“Despite the sensationalist claims — and the unreasonable interpretation of numbers in their favor — the Public Interest Legal Foundation has shown that non-citizen registration is very, very rare and non-citizen voting is very, very, very rare.”
Also, PILF’s numbers are “sloppy.”
“Election administrators, who have investigated allegations of non-citizen voting, report that sometimes eligible Americans check the wrong box for citizenship or do not check any box at all. This warrants a very careful look given the overwhelming majority of alleged cases that come from this source.”
Simply put, PILF is another entity out to make it more difficult for people to vote and intimidate those who already do.
The National Voter Registration Act, aka, “Motor Voter,” requires state departments of motor vehicles and other social service agencies to offer voter registration opportunities to those seeking government services and benefits, like drivers’ licenses and food assistance. It also empowers community groups to register voters in public places.
“Alien Invasion” encourages amending the “Moter Voter” law so no one is able to register without submitting proof of citizenship.
As The Brennan Center says:
“No one should buy PILF’s feigned concerns for non-citizens, or their exaggerated claims. The public needs education as to eligibility. Election administrators need resources, training, and streamlined processes. No one needs a misleading paper that ultimately just shows what we already know — non-citizen registration and voting are very rare occurrences.”
Image credit: Public Interest Legal Foundation