They've got muck; we've got rakes. TPM Muckraker

True The Vote: Voter Intimidation Claims Come From 'Partisan Operatives'

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Newscom

Justice Department lawyers have interviewed witnesses who say they witnessed intimidation at the polls in Harris County, Texas. True the Vote -- an outgrowth of the King Street Patriots -- targeted the voter registration effort called Houston Votes, which has since received threats via e-mail.

Catherine Engelbrecht, the head of the Tea Party group, had said at a meeting that Houston Votes headquarters was the location of the New Black Panther Party office.

True the Vote said they weren't responsible for the actions of individuals, who they said were properly trained.

"Any alleged actions that may have occurred of that nature were purely individual actions, and not in any way representative of, or connected to, True the Vote," the group said in the statement. "True the Vote conducts extensive citizen training of poll watchers and makes it explicitly clear in the training that poll watchers are never to impede, interact, challenge or interfere with any voter."

Hiram Sasser, a lawyer representing True the Vote, referred TPMMuckraker to the statement, and said he couldn't know for sure if those accused of voter fraud had been trained by the organization.

"We don't know the answer to that question," Sasser said. "We would like to know but we don't know that answer to that."

Here's True the Vote's statement, in full:

A STATEMENT BY TRUE THE VOTE ABOUT PURPORTED POLLING PLACE CONDUCT (October 20, 2010)

True the Vote exists to protect the right to vote and the integrity of the election process. Claims by partisan operatives and bloggers with an agenda that voter intimidation was conducted by True the Vote are false and libelous, and they should be retracted immediately. True the Vote has never, and will never, condone or promote voter intimidation at a polling place.

Any alleged actions that may have occurred of that nature were purely individual actions, and not in any way representative of, or connected to, True the Vote. True the Vote conducts extensive citizen training of poll watchers and makes it explicitly clear in the training that poll watchers are never to impede, interact, challenge or interfere with any voter. The poll watchers are exercising rights as poll watchers under Texas law to observe the conduct of the election. They will continue to do so in a lawful manner, and Harris County elections will be better for it. Any poll worker who engaged in behavior to the contrary did so in complete contradiction to the the training of True the Vote and conduct of a member of our organization.

True the Vote is dedicated to promoting integrity in the electoral process. We have uncovered likely violations of law in Harris County including non-citizens registering to vote, potential forgeries in voter applications, and multiple registrations for the same person. We have provided law enforcement authorities evidence of this activity, and we hope they act to remedy the problem as soon as possible.

True the Vote trains citizens that a polling place is a sensitive site and all actions must be carried out in a civilized and lawful manner. True the Vote is dedicated to ensuring that elections in Harris County are free from fraud and intimidation of any voter. False claims to the contrary will not interfere with that important public service.