My Faith Votes, a political organization devoted to turning out conservative Christians to support right-wing candidates, has jumped on the very crowded voter-suppression bandwagon with a new project called “Election Integrity Now.”
Voter suppression in the name of “election integrity” has become the Republican Party’s top strategy for taking and keeping political power in the wake of the 2020 elections, whose record turnout put Democrats over the top in key states. It’s getting hard to keep track of the number of right-wing projects promoting state laws to make it harder for people to register and vote.
In a Thursday email promoting the new project, My Faith Votes refers to a “big lie” about the elections. But they’re not talking about the real big lie that is being used to justify a wave of voter suppression laws at the state level—that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump, with a subtext implicating Black and brown voters. No, according to My Faith Votes, the “big lie that’s being perpetrated by the media and big corporations” is that the country can’t “help every eligible voter cast their ballot AND introduce reasonable safeguards into our election.”
“The 2020 elections revealed genuine concerns in the election process that could threaten election integrity and our Constitutional Republic’s very foundation,” claims the Election Integrity Now site. “Yet, even more damaging than election fraud is the lost confidence many Christians now have in the election system. The resulting apathy leads Christians to once again sit on the sidelines of the civic process.”
One suspects that the real “problem” that My Faith Votes is trying to address is the election of President Joe Biden and, in Georgia, Senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.
Back in December, My Faith Votes CEO Jason Yates told pro-Trump religious-right activists that groups dedicated to mobilizing conservative evangelical voters were collaborating to a historic degree in the Georgia Senate runoff elections that ultimately yielded victories for Democrats Warnock and Ossoff. Yates previously told donors that the Georgia races were the group’s “#1 focus.” In a Dec. 1 email he claimed, “The Georgia Senate runoff elections will impact our churches’ freedom to remain open, protection for the unborn, stopping the spread of socialism, the preservation of the family as God designed it, the protection of Israel, and much more.”
The website for My Faith Votes’ new “election integrity” project encourages activists to take three steps: oppose “dangerous” federal voting-rights legislation; support “election reforms” at the state level; and “engage locally.” The so-called “reforms” taken up by state legislatures have included mandated purges of voter rolls and restrictions against providing food or water to people waiting to vote at polling stations.
My Faith Votes calls the For the People Act—a voting rights and election protection bill that has passed the House and is awaiting action in the Senate—“very dangerous” and “irresponsible.” The group claims that the legislation would rob states of their “constitutional responsibility to administer and manage elections”—despite the fact that the bill leaves the responsibility for administering elections to the same local jurisdictions that have done so up until now.
The group’s “honorary national chairman” is right-wing politician-turned-pundit Mike Huckabee, who claims that the For the People Act “codifies all the worse abuses that made the 2020 elections the most divisive and suspect election of our lifetimes.” In other words, Huckabee and My Faith Votes don’t like that the For the People Act would protect expanded access to the ballot and overturn new voting restrictions being put into place in states controlled by Republicans.
When it comes to state laws, My Faith Votes promotes recommendations from “policy experts at the Heritage Foundation,” the right-wing “think tank” with a long track record of promoting bogus claims about voter fraud and backing restrictive voting laws. Its list of “reforms” includes limiting vote-by-mail to people with disabilities or who will be out of town on election day, requirements that states require proof of citizenship to register and should “cross reference” information with Department of Homeland Security records.” Mother Jones reported Thursday that representatives of the Heritage Foundation’s political arm bragged to its donors about writing voter-suppression bills taken up by state legislatures across the nation, all while remaining in the background so “it has that grassroots, from-the-bottom-up type of vibe.”
For the third action My Faith Votes asks activists to take—“engage locally”—the group is partnering with True the Vote, an organization that promotes voter fraud conspiracies and backs restrictive voting laws. True the Vote is the subject of a federal election complaint for coordinating with the Georgia Republican Party.
Between the November election and the Jan. 5 Senate runoffs, True the Vote partnered with Republicans to challenge the eligibility of more than 364,000 voters. Last year, when Team Trump was fighting efforts to expand mail-in voting, True the Vote’s leader, Catherine Engelbrecht, told religious-right activists that the struggle over voting by mail was a “spiritual struggle” for “control of the free world.”
In 2016, My Faith Votes co-hosted a pivotal meeting between then-candidate Donald Trump and hundreds of religious-right leaders, at which Trump sealed the support of some skeptical evangelicals by promising to make them more politically powerful by abolishing restrictions on churches’ politicking and pledging to give them the Supreme Court of their dreams.
Shortly before the 2016 election, My Faith Votes hosted a teleforum featuring Christian nationalist “historian” and political operative David Barton, who told participants that they would have to answer to God if they failed to vote for Trump.
Last year, former Florida Rep. Allen West, who has since become chair of the Texas GOP, signed a fundraising email for My Faith Votes. “What if the silent majority of Bible-believing Christians across this nation realized that we are bigger than the anarchist and Marxist mobs (we are), and that we, not they, will decide the future?” West wrote, saying that My Faith Votes “is working to turn this vision into a reality.”
In 2020, My Faith Votes was one of the partners for a “Fifty Day Fight” project designed, according to organizers, to defeat Satan and his demons and ask God for a “second miracle” that would keep Trump in the White House. The project has continued since the election, with My Faith Votes still listed as a partner.
My Faith Votes is also asking its activists to tell their senators to vote against the Equality Act, which would add protections against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity to the nation’s civil rights laws.