True the Vote, which calls itself a “voters’ rights organization” while supporting restrictive voting laws, announced in a press release Wednesday that it has filed a lawsuit against Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of State Kathryn Boockvar “to contest illegal ballots that were counted in the recent elections.”
True the Vote is making the highly dubious claim that there is sufficient evidence to cast doubt on President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in Pennsylvania—which is currently larger than the margin by which Trump won the state in 2016.
A week earlier, True the Vote announced the establishment of a “Validate the Vote” initiative and a million-dollar “whistleblower compensation fund” to “incentivize election malfeasance reporting”—in other words, to pay people to allege voter fraud. The group’s press release claims that it “aims to facilitate a discussion that reflects credible facts, evidence, and demonstrably actional incidents of voter fraud.”
True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht struck a different tone in May when speaking to the pro-Trump “prayer warriors” of Intercessors for America. She warned that the struggle over efforts to expand vote-by-mail was a “spiritual battle” for “control of the free world.” She claimed that vote-by-mail advocates “want to cause chaos” and that the spirit of chaos “is from Satan.”
In 2016, Engelbrecht told Breitbart that the Obama administration was intentionally registering noncitizens to vote, and True the Vote claimed that Hillary Clinton would try to steal the presidential election through voter fraud. After the 2016 election, True the Vote defended and set out to prove Trump’s debunked claims that he would have won a popular vote majority that year if not for millions of people who voted illegally.
As Right Wing Watch noted in May:
True the Vote describes itself as a nonpartisan “citizen-led movement” working for “free and fair elections.” It has a track record of challenging voter registrations, supporting voter ID laws and voter-roll purges, and fielding election observers who provoked allegations of voter intimidation. It is planning to field off-duty police officers and veterans to patrol polling places this year.
After Trump claimed without evidence that he would have won the 2016 popular vote if not for “millions” of people voting illegally, True the Vote launched a “national audit” of the election and one of its leaders claimed it had verified more than 3 million non-citizen votes before the group abandoned the effort, Engelbrecht said at the time, for lack of funds.
Back in 2014, Dallas Morning News reporter James Drew exposed how a racially charged speech by Engelbrecht led then-Attorney General Greg Abbott to investigate a voter registration effort called Houston Votes. No charges were filed against the group, but under pressure from the investigation, the group and its efforts to register low-income voters shut down.
That same year, when Congress was considering the Voting Rights Amendment Act in response to the Supreme Court’s 2013 gutting of key provisions of the Voting Rights Act, Engelbrecht claimed that the law would “turn our elections over to Eric Holder and Barack Obama” and move the country “toward race-based segregation.”