Just two weeks ago a Rasmussen poll showed that 64 percent of Americans believe voter fraud exists. That poll was a major hit with the folks at the pro–voter ID True the Vote conference held over the weekend in Houston. No less than three speakers mentioned it to the crowd of roughly 200 attendees. According to conference host and True the Vote president Catherine Engelbrecht, thirty-two states were represented here for their third national summit, but it was clear most in the room were from Texas. Many appeared to be part of one Tea Party group or another (True the Vote is the 501c3 arm of the King Street Patriots, a Texas Tea Party group), and none seemed to be aware that they were far from losing the war on voting.
They were stuck in a reality that was unfamiliar to anyone who’s been paying attention to voter issues. Speakers—among them Heritage Foundation’s Hans Von Spakovsky, Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton and former title-challenged DOJ employee J. Christian Adams—spoke about the voter ID cause as if they were failing, as if sixteen states didn’t pass photo voter ID laws, most of them in just the past eighteen months. As if a federal court didn’t just validate a strict photo voter ID law in Arizona the week before the conference.
It didn’t stop there. Liberals own the media and have been framing the debate around voter IDs while giving favorable coverage to the Obama administration, said a conservative consultant during a PowerPoint on who “real mainstream Americans” are. He claimed this after mentioning the Rasmussen poll that seemed to indicate otherwise and during a weekend when one of the top trending stories was how Obama was getting more negative press than Mitt Romney.
Topping it off, former Congressman Artur Davis (yes, that one) had some kind words for the protesters outside the conference. But if there were actual protesters, they must have been invisible. The only people gathered outside the conference hotel were a bunch of African-American motorcycle clubs on their bikes, a few of whom told me they had no idea who True the Vote was or that they had a conference going on.
As for those actually there to hear True the Vote, there were as many African-Americans found in the audience as are found cases of voter impersonation fraud, less than one percent. I was one of maybe six African-Americans scattered among the group. Two others were Davis and Anita Moncrief, a “whistleblower” for True the Vote’s old enemy ACORN. Between her and Davis—both opening speakers for the conference—they gave the Tea Partyin’ (Starbucks coffee&endash;gulping) crowd enough ammo for their weaponization against their new enemies: the Advancement Project, the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, the Brennan Center for Justice and their archnemesis, the Department of Justice.