The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute provided support for this article.
From familiar stories about “illegal” electioneering by ACORN and the Black Panthers to Sharron Angle’s recent claim that Harry Reid is trying to steal the election by offering prospective voters free food—the myth of widespread voter fraud is now commonplace among Republicans. In just one example, an unconfirmed assertion that Nevada voting machines already had Reid’s name checked off became a national story, with Rush Limbaugh claiming that the “New Black Panther Party,” with the “imprimatur of the Justice Department,” was “running fraudulent elections” across the country.
In this swirling storm of misinformation and propaganda, a half-dozen Republican activists met in the community room of the Tri City National Bank in Sturtevant, Wisconsin on October 27, to receive training on how to be an election observer. Lou D’Abbraccio, an official with the Racine County Republican Party, laid out a parade of voter fraud horribles to the assembled men, from fraudulent voter registrations to vans organized by “leftists” ferrying people “incentivized” with money or coupons to cast multiple votes at different polling locations.
“There are polling locations where the election workers are largely Republican, and we have less concern,” said D’Abbraccio, a member of the Racine Tea Party, the local chapter of Koch brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity. “Then there are polling places where, not so much. Historically we have observed things there that are issues.”
This year, the Wisconsin GOP, Americans for Prosperity and Wisconsin tea party groups are working together, through the GOP and the tea party-affiliated website We’re Watching Wisconsin Elections, to combat this alleged scourge on the democratic process.
D’Abbraccio went on to recount “war stories” from previous elections, particularly 2004, which he claimed was “the worst election I’ve experienced in Racine.”