Summary of the Call and Links for More Information
To make a difference and to improve election integrity in Georgia and across the nation, it will require improvements to our election system here in Georgia, and improvements to the election systems in other states. In addition, we will have to guard against an attack from the left against our sacred right to vote. We need to be thoughtful, well-versed, equipped with the knowledge of how to engage, and willing to act. We certainly have the willingness to act here in Georgia.
At Tea Party Patriots Action, we are working to ensure you understand what happened here in Georgia and across the nation, the likely effects of changes we may want implemented, an understanding of what may or may not be possible, and an ability to assess when to engage in action and when to wait for better opportunities.
Our call Friday focused a lot of time on briefing and training you. Here is a highlight of what we heard, and links for you to read more information. Please take the time to read this information and understand it. As we outline future actions, it is important that we understand what our issues are, and what the possible solutions are. This will make us more effective as we communicate with local, state, and federal elected officials, as well as our family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers on the issues.
We heard from The Honorable Kenneth Blackwell, who among many other titles and positions is the former Undersecretary to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, Secretary of State of Ohio, and serves on the Foundation for Electoral Systems. You can click through to read his bio. You may follow Ken on Twitter at @kenblackwell.
Ken gave an overview of the work various groups are doing nationally to ensure election integrity. Notably, he highlighted the work of J Christian Adams, Hans von Spakovsky, Cleta Mitchell, The Heritage Foundation, Heritage Action for America, and Tea Party Patriots Action. He understands elections from both a candidate and an administrative perspective. As such, he is a valuable member of this coalition in Georgia, and as we expand our efforts nationally to protect our sacred right to vote.
Next, we heard from Alex Kaufman, who was a member of President Trump’s Georgia Legal Team to have an update of the kind of issues on which the Trump Legal Team focused in Georgia. He also mentioned in broad strokes what a task force in the Georgia Republican Party has worked on for legislation at the state level.
Since our call, the full memo from the Georgia GOP has become public. You may read it here to have more details of the Georgia Republican Party recommendations to improve election integrity in Georgia.
Then we heard from J. Christian Adams, President and General Counsel of the Public Interest Legal Foundation. From 2005–2010 he served in the Voting Rights Section of the United States Department of Justice. He is one of the top fighters on the center-right in fight for voting rights and secure elections. He is knowledgeable, thoughtful, and strategic. You can follow his foundation on twitter at PILFoundation.
Christian discussed many of the problems with HR 1, which is moving through Congress right now. The Public Interest Legal Foundation has a great website with studies, reference materials, and their tour of the bill. Please bookmark his website on HR 1. Here are just a few highlights about the problems with HR 1. As you read this list, consider how it would codify many of the problems we learned existed in Georgia in 2020.
- Prohibits states from requiring more than a signature to verify a person’s eligibility to register to vote. [Sec. 1004]
- Prohibits states from requiring voter ID at the polls – a sworn statement is all that can be required for identification. [Sec. 1903]
- Forces states to use same-day registration, requiring only signature attestation as to a registrant’s eligibility, and requiring that the registrant be allowed to cast a vote that day, with no mention of it being provisional. [Sec. 1031]
- Forces states to use ballot drop boxes for absentee and early voting, and have them available at least 45 days before the election and “during all hours of the day.” [Sec. 1907]
- Requires all “contributing” state and federal agencies, defined as those that possess a person’s name, address, birthdate and citizen status, to send that information to the state election official for automatic registration. [Sec. 1014]
- Expands list of agencies that must offer automatic voter registration to those utilizing its services to include: state agencies that regulate gun sales (state Attorney General in most states), state departments of education, the Social Security Administration, the VA, the Defense Manpower Date Center of the Department of Defense, the Employee and Training Administration of the Department of Labor, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons, which must automatically register a convicted felon to vote so long as the felon has completed “any part of” of his sentence. [Sec. 1013(e)]
- Criminalizes challenging any registrant’s eligibility to register or vote, with fines and imprisonment up to one year per offense. [Sec. 1201(d)]
- Click through to read a more complete list of problems with HR 1.
Next, Christian talked about changes he thinks as citizens we may want to consider changing in Georgia. The most important change he noted is a ban on outside fund contribution toward election administration. This means banning money from outside the government being donated to the government (as opposed to campaign donations) to run elections. Christian would recommend absolute bans on third parties offering grants or any other vehicle to fund regular election administration operations and/or special projects not specifically prohibited by existing state, federal, or local laws. The influx of private funds into election procedures creates opportunity for undue influence towards implementing procedures that state legislatures did not approve.
PLEASE NOTE: This is not the same as a ban on money from out of state for elections. Tea Party Patriots Action would likely oppose such a ban and limit on funding for elections, since our donors reside across the entire country.
To understand why Christian thinks this is such an important issue, I urge you to read the Capital Research Center report titled, Georgia Election Officials, a Billionaire, and the “Nonpartisan” Center for Tech & Civic Life, as well as this update. Of the various conclusions the Capital Research Center notes in its report, this one stands out as noteworthy: Even more ominous, CTCL gave grants to nine of the ten counties with the greatest Democratic shifts in their 2020 voting. Those nine grantees averaged a 13.7 percent shift blue-ward, and two of those counties (Cobb and Gwinnett) were in the four counties that delivered Biden the most votes.
Here is the list of full highlights from the Capital Research Center Report, Georgia Election Officials, a Billionaire, and the “Nonpartisan” Center for Tech and Civic Life:
- Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) did fund more counties won by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump than by Democratic candidate Joe Biden: 27 Trump counties vs. 17 Biden counties.
- But that’s a function of how many more Georgia counties went for Trump. A better comparison: CTCL funded 21 percent of Trump counties vs. 55 percent of Biden counties. So, a Biden county was over two-and-a-half times more likely to receive funding.
- Nine out of ten of CTCL’s largest known grants in Georgia went to Biden counties.
- Even more ominous, CTCL gave grants to nine of the ten counties with the greatest Democratic shifts in their 2020 voting. Those nine grantees averaged a 13.7 percent shift blue-ward, and two of those counties (Cobb and Gwinnett) were in the four counties that delivered Biden the most votes.
- Of the four counties won by Biden that delivered him votes in six figures, CTCL funded all four.
- Of the 29 counties won by Biden that delivered him votes in five figures, CTCL funded 19, or 66 percent. (No counties delivered either candidate more than six-figure vote totals.)
- So, Biden carried 33 counties that delivered him votes in five- and six-figures, and 70 percent received CTCL grants.
- By contrast, 46 counties carried by Donald Trump delivered him votes in five-figures (no county supplied the president a six-figure vote). CTCL funded only nine such counties, or 20 percent.
- So, the most vote-rich counties for Biden were three-and-a-half times more likely to be funded than the most vote-rich counties for Trump.
- Nine counties were both top vote-producers for Trump and also received CTCL funds. Five of these counties were among the top ten most blue-shifting counties in the state.
Please read these links and understand what happened in your county as Mark Zuckerberg funded part of your government’s election processes.
Next, we heard from Cleta Mitchell, who was also on the Trump Legal Team in Georgia. Cleta has 40 years of experience in law, politics and public policy, and, among her other accomplishments, notably served as co-counsel for the National Rifle Association in the Supreme Court case involving the 2002 federal campaign finance law.
Cleta continued the discussion about the election problems encountered in Georgia, and also about the cancel culture she and Alex have faced because they advised President Trump in a professional manner. We will have more actions related to the cancel culture, free speech, and other items related to this in coming weeks. That likely will be a different coalition/issue effort with Tea Party Patriots Action. Cleta is working to document several of the issues with the Georgia elections furthers. When that is available, we will send the link.
Heritage Action’s James Quarles spoke next. As noted above from Ken Blackwell, he highlighted the work of Heritage Foundation, Heritage Action, and Hans von Spakovsky, who heads their Election Law Reform Initiative, and is a past Chairman of the Fulton County GOP and past member of the Fulton County Election board. Many of you might have been involved in some of their efforts already. We are coalescing with Heritage to ensure you as a volunteer are more efficient and productive. Jessica Anderson, the Executive Director of Heritage Action, and I are building a national coalition on election integrity. Heritage Action has a website on HR 1 called Save Our Elections and specific state-level election reform recommendations.
Here is a summary of the state-level election reform recommendations Heritage proposes:
What States Should Do
- Voter Registration
- Verify the accuracy of voter registration lists.
- Verify citizenship of voters
- In-Person and Absentee Voting
- Require voter ID
- Limit absentee ballots
- Prevent vote trafficking.
- Allow election observers complete access to the election process
- Provide voting assistance
- Counting Votes – Prohibit early vote counting
- Election Litigation – Provide state legislatures with legal standing
What States Should Not Do
- No same-day registration.
- No automatic voter registration.
- No private funding of election officials and government agencies.
Finally, you heard from Tea Party Patriot Action Project Manager Kurt Potter. He will be your major point of contact for election integrity issues in Georgia and will help issue future calls to action. He closed our briefing call with an inspiring story about Mrs. Elizabeth Willing Powel.
You have heard of Mrs. Powel many times in your life and in the Tea Party movement. She was the lady who asked, “Dr. Franklin, what have you given us, a Monarchy or a Republic? Benjamin Franklin replied, “A Republic, madam, if you can keep it.” You can read more about her in this history of her life from Mount Vernon. Kurt pointed out that, unlike each of us, she did not have the right to vote, when in fact, she could not even hold elected office when the Constitution passed. She did host many of our Founding Fathers in her home and often spend the evening talking with them rather than with the ladies after dinner. She got to know them and developed her own influence and had her own kind of power. Most notably, she was friends with President George Washington. November 1792, the night before he was going to deliver his speech to Congress at Liberty Hall to not run for a second term of office, he stayed at the Powel home. While at her home, she wrote a letter to him and had it slipped under his door – outlining the negative consequences to the nation, our Republic, if he did not run for a second term. As you know, ultimately, President Washington ran for a second term. She used her power and influence, even when she did not have the right to vote, to help influence and sway the politics of the day. We, too, must use our power and influence today.
I hope you found this story as compelling as I did. America can seem so bleak these days as we look at Washington, DC. You may even feel a bit hopeless. We still have the right to vote in this country. Yes, we have serious doubts about the integrity of the outcome of the election. Even with those serious doubts, we have the ability to get to know our elected officials, build relationships with them, and work to urge them to vote as we would have them vote. I have no doubt, you will be like Mrs. Powel and work to keep this Republic and restore the faith in our election process in Georgia!
You made it through this entire email and update. Thank you. Please make the call to your Congressman or Congresswoman to tell him or her to vote against HR 1.
Stay tuned as we have additional briefings and calls to action.
One Final Note: One of the attorneys who volunteered to take affidavits from you after the November, 2020 election, sent us a list of election integrity-related bills in Georgia, which may be tracked on the State Assembly website. He recommended you pay special attention to bills coming from the Special Committee on Election Integrity, and noted all of these bills are not necessarily good bills.