Trump loyalists knock on voters’ doors in latest quest to find 2020 election fraud
“They said they were with something called ‘the election verification committee’ or something – something I had never heard of,” said Snell, a retiree and former Democratic candidate for the election. state legislature.
More than a year after the election, door-to-door reports have surfaced across the country – from battlefield states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan and Florida, to solidly red Utah . An Ohio scientist popular in circles associated with former President Donald Trump recently told a Wisconsin legislative committee that he has already formed prospecting teams in 30 states.
Snell said women, in their quest to uncover voter fraud, wanted to know if his stepmother actually voted in the 2020 general election, he said. She did, but she did it from her address, after moving from her assisted living facility to her family’s home during the pandemic, Snell said.
âThey were looking for something that didn’t exist,â Snell said this week. “This is an example, from my point of view, of the crazy and illogical things people believe because the man at the top, Donald Trump, said so.”
The door-to-door activity has sounded the alarm bells for some state and local election supervisors and voting rights advocates who fear it could confuse voters, or worse yet, veer off the beaten track. intimidation of voters.
While attempts to âauditâ the 2020 election results either failed or failed to produce the âlensâ that election deniers were looking for, they âhave shifted tactics,â said former Matthew Masterson. senior cybersecurity advisor at the Ministry of Homeland Security who worked on electoral security issues. He is now studying election disinformation as a political researcher with the Stanford Internet Observatory.
The canvassing approach, he said, “moves the harassment to the streets of neighborhoods.”
Voting rights activist Hannah Fried, who is national campaign manager for All Voting is Local, said home visits from people who don’t believe the 2020 election results could be “really scary” for voters .
âWhat other message can a person get from this other than, ‘Your vote is not welcome’,â she said.
The activity also triggered warnings from election officials. In Michigan, for example, an official in Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson’s office released a statement earlier this fall, telling voters they did not have to answer canvassers’ questions.
“Any effort to violate the privacy of citizens or intimidate them into coming to their doorstep asking how they voted is a desperate attempt to further cast doubt on the election results which were a sure and accurate reflection of the will of the voters, “said Benson spokeswoman Tracy Wimmer.
In Florida, door-to-door reports prompted Pasco County Election Supervisor Brian Corley, a Republican, to issue a public statement, clarifying that county employees were not involved in the effort.
There is no indication that Trump is working to organize the canvassing, but he applauded the efforts.
In a statement to CNN, Trump spokeswoman Liz Harrington said, âPresident Trump supports the cleaning of voters lists and the eradication of voter fraud. If we do not have secure elections, we will no longer have a constitutional republic.
She said “patriots” seeking to eliminate fraud “should be applauded for doing the job politicians will not do to ensure our elections are free and fair.”
“Jacky Eubanks took it upon himself to go and document the electoral fraud,” Trump said in a statement. “This courageous young woman has been door-to-door in Macomb County and Detroit asking voters if they really voted, and she finds further evidence of widespread voter fraud in 2020.”
Eubanks, who did not respond to CNN interview requests, said his group had interviewed more than 1,200 people and discovered several examples of fraudulent votes.
In Macomb County, County Clerk Anthony Forlini said a first batch of four or five questionable votes that Eubanks reported to county election officials earlier this year was investigated by state police and that no fraud had been discovered.
In one case involving a postal vote, the voter told Eubanks he voted in person, Forlini told CNN. But Forlini said the issue turned out to be a misunderstanding: the voter used a mail ballot but delivered it in person.
Forlini, a Republican, said those early cases don’t necessarily mean Eubanks didn’t discover issues with other ballots. He also ordered an “audit” of the county election server. Trump won Macomb last November, but lost the state to President Joe Biden.
Spread across the country
A key figure in the door-to-door canvassing campaign, Ohio scientist Douglas Frank, said the effort was spreading quickly.
Frank, who rose to prominence in the Trump world with his theories of a stolen election, says he has so far trained teams in 30 states on how to examine their voting lists for fraud potential and others have asked for help. This is part of his claim that state voters lists have been swollen with fraudulent or “ghost” voters.
At a recent legislative hearing in Wisconsin, Frank described knocking on the door as the best way to uncover the fraud he says has infiltrated the US electoral system.
“How would you know whether or not someone has submitted a ballot on behalf of someone else? There really is only one way to find out,” Frank told committee members. of the Wisconsin Assembly on Campaigns and Elections. âYou have to go knock on the door and ask them, ‘Did you send that ballot or not?’ “
In an interview with CNN, Frank said that no central national group had launched the door-to-door campaign, which he described as organically born out of activists.
âWhat I usually find is that there will be a core group that will come together and then they will say, ‘Look at all this fraud. What can we do about it? And they’ll start reaching out to people like me. “
The purpose of the solicitation is to provide evidence of a fraudulent vote to state and local election officials in order to trigger a further investigation, he said. “It is increasing. It is not going to go away. It is increasing.”
“The end of the game,” said Frank, “is for people to understand that their elections are no longer real. They are being manipulated.”
“Such investigative efforts can have a significant intimidating effect on qualified voters, which may deter them from seeking to vote in the future,” wrote Pamela Karlan, senior deputy attorney general in the ministry’s civil rights division. of Justice at the time.
The FBI and the Justice Department declined to say whether the agencies were reviewing any of the ongoing canvassing efforts.
Jonathan Diaz, senior legal advisor for voting rights at the Non-partisan Campaign Legal Center, said there was a balance between “protecting civic engagement activity and preventing harassment.”
Voters who aren’t comfortable with canvassing can decline to participate, and they should also call their local election office if they want to find out more about what happened to their poll last year, he said. -he declares.
âPeople may have a First Amendment right to solicit, but there is no obligation to provide these people with information or documents,â Diaz added.