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Americans For Prosperity’s Troubling Record On Voting Rights And Voter Registration

2014: Americans for Prosperity Mailed Incorrect Information to North Carolina Voters

Americans for Prosperity Mailed Incorrect Voter Registration Information to Hundreds of Voters In North Carolina.  According to The News  & Observer:   “Hundreds of North Carolinians – and one cat – have received incorrect voter registration information, according to the N.C. State Board of Elections.  The information – an “official application form” – was sent by Americans for Prosperity, a national conservative group with a state chapter based in Raleigh.”  [News & Observer, 9/25/14]

AFP Under Investigation By North Carolina State Board Of Elections For Inaccurate Mailers. According to MSNBC, “A Koch brothers group is being investigated for sending mailers with incorrect information about how to register to vote to hundreds of North Carolina voters—and one cat. Joshua Lawson, a spokesman for the state board of elections, said his office opened the probe Monday after receiving a formal sworn complaint from the state Democratic Party about the mailers, which were sent recently by American for Prosperity (AFP). Lawson said state law requires the board to open an investigation if it receives a sworn complaint.” [MSNBC.com, 9/29/14]

This Is Not AFP’s First Time Sending Out Inaccurate Voting Information.  According to MSNBC, “AFP has said the mailers were an honest mistake, not an effort to mislead voters. But this isn’t the first time that the group, which came to prominence as part of the tea party movement, has sent out inaccurate voting information. And it’s also been involved in organized efforts to make voting harder.” [MSNBC.com, 9/29/14] 

In 2010, “AFP Discussed A ‘Voter Caging’ Scheme With The Wisconsin GOP And Tea Party Activists” Targeting Minority And Student Voters.  According to MSNBC, “AFP is also alleged to have played an active role in helping Republicans suppress the vote. According to a report by One Wisconsin Now, a liberal group, in 2010, AFP discussed a ‘voter caging’ scheme with the Wisconsin GOP and tea party activists, in which a mailer was to be sent to minority and student voters, telling them they had to confirm their voter registration. Any mailers returned as undeliverable were then to be used by tea party volunteers to challenge the eligibility of voters at the polls. AFP’s Wisconsin director said at the time the effort aimed to combat voter fraud. It’s not clear how much of it was put into practice.” [MSNBC.com, 9/29/14]

AFP “May Have A Similar Sloppiness Problem To ACORN,” Which Was “Hounded Out Of Existence” By “AFP And Its Allies…”  According to MSNBC, “As for AFP itself, there’s an irony here. ACORN was hounded out of existence thanks largely to sloppy procedures in its voter registration drives, which let some employees turn in registration forms that had fraudulent information. AFP and its allies seized on those mistakes to allege massive voter fraud, with essentially no evidence to support the charge. Even assuming Americans for Prosperity is guilty only of honest mistakes, it may have a similar sloppiness problem to ACORN. After all, it’s happened more than once. But don’t hold your breath waiting for ‘election integrity’ advocates to demand action.” [MSNBC.com, 9/29/14]

2012: Americans for Prosperity Co-Sponsored Events With True the Vote

ProPublica: True The Vote “Has Co-Sponsored Events With Americans For Prosperity, The Conservative Group Backed By The Billionaire Koch Brothers.”  According to ProPublica:  “True the Vote has helped get out its name by partnering with larger, more prominent organizations. It has co-sponsored events with Americans for Prosperity, the conservative group backed by the billionaire Koch brothers and collaborated with other nonprofits such as Tea Party Patriots in places from Colorado to Alabama to host “Election Integrity” fundraisers and recruitment events.”  [ProPublica, 9/27/12]

Americans for Prosperity Has Hosted Events Featuring The Organization True The Vote. According to the New York Times, “In the past year, Americans for Prosperity, an organization founded by the billionaire Koch brothers, and other Republican-leaning independent groups have sponsored meetings featuring Ms. Engelbrecht and other True the Vote speakers. A spokesman for Americans for Prosperity said that the group had hosted events including True the Vote speakers but that election integrity was not a focus of his group.” [New York Times, 9/16/12]

  • True The Vote Is A National Conservative Organization Dedicated To Looking For Voter Fraud That “Grew Out Of A Tea Party Group” In Texas. According to the New York Times, “It might as well be Harry Potter’s invisible Knight Bus, because no one can prove it exists. The bus has been repeatedly cited [sic] by True the Vote, a national group focused on voter fraud. Catherine Engelbrecht, the group’s leader, told a gathering in July about buses carrying dozens of voters showing up at polling places during the recent Wisconsin recall election […]While she portrays True the Vote as nonpartisan, it grew out of a Tea Party group, King Street Patriots, that she founded in Texas. An examination shows that it has worked closely with a variety of well-financed organizations, many unabashed in their desire to defeat President Obama.” [New York Times, 9/16/12]

2011: Americans For Prosperity Mailed Voters Absentee Ballots With Wrong Date In Wisconsin Special Elections

During 2011 Recall Elections, AFP Mailed Voters Absentee Ballots With The Wrong  Election Date. According to Politico, “The conservative third-party group Americans for Prosperity said absentee ballot applications sent to Wisconsin voters this weekend with the wrong election date were the result of a ‘printing mistake.’ ‘The date on the ballot application was meant solely for the elections held on Aug. 16. Due to a mistake during printing, all applications were sent out with the Aug. 11 date,’ said AFP-Wisconsin state Director Matt Seaholm. ‘Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin did not intend to print the incorrect absentee deadline or confuse voters in any way.’ The fliers from the advocacy group informed voters they should return ballots to their city clerk before Aug. 11 — even though the next election day is Aug. 9. The upcoming recall elections of six Republican state senators could flip control of the state Senate, as Republicans currently hold just a 19-14 majority in the chamber.” [Politico, 8/2/11]

  • The Applications Told Voters To Return The Material By August 11th Even Though The Election Date Was Aug. 9th.” According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “The Election Had Already Happened. According to the Milwaukee “The state chapter of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative advocacy group, is mailing out absentee ballot applications to voters in two state Senate recall districts with instructions to return the material after the date of the election. The fliers tell voters to return the absentee ballots to their city clerk before Aug. 11, even though the election date for the two districts receiving the mailers is Aug. 9.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 8/1/11] 

AFP Seemed To Acknowledge In An Email That The Misleading Applications Were Sent To All Six Wisconsin Districts Where Republicans Were Facing Recalls. According to the Washington Post, “Now AFP has sent out a new email to supporters — forwarded by a labor source — that seeks to clarify the situation. And it appears to acknowledge that the misleading ballot was actually sent to all six districts where Republicans are facing August 9th recalls. Here’s the key part: ‘Recently, Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin sent a mailer to provide our members, like you, with the opportunity to vote by way of absentee ballot. The absentee ballot mailing was mailed only to AFP-Wisconsin members in the eight Senate Districts that have recall elections. The return date included on the absentee ballot application (August 11th) was intended solely for the two senate districts with elections on August 16th. However, the printer sent that version out to all districts, including those that have elections on August 9th.’” [Washington Post, 8/5/11]

2010: Wisconsin Tea Party Organizer Was Taped Describing Plans to Coordinate with Americans for Prosperity-Wisconsin to Challenge Mailed Voter Registrations

Tape of Wisconsin Tea Party Organizer Described Plans To Coordinate With Americans for Prosperity’s Wisconsin Branch to Challenge Mailed Voter Registrations.  According to National Journal:  “In Wisconsin, a liberal watchdog group has asked state and federal officials to investigate after it unearthed another surreptitiously recorded tape, this one featuring a state tea party activist describing an elaborate plan to mail out thousands of postcards to targeted voters and challenge the registrations of those returned as undeliverable.On the tape, state tea party organizer Tim Dake described plans to work with the state GOP and the Wisconsin branch of Americans for Prosperity, a secretive conservative group underwritten in part by Koch Industries. Americans for Prosperity organizers in Washington and Wisconsin did not return calls and e-mails seeking comment.”  [The National Journal, 10/18/10]