Election Fraud Task Forces and the Threat of Voter Intimidation

State “voter fraud” task forces have cropped up across the country. Behind language about ensuring fair elections, the groups use the specter of widespread voter fraud to undermine confidence in elections and dissuade voters from participating in democracy, including through mail-in ballots.

The boogeyman of widespread voter fraud haunted the 2020 election, having lived on even after former President Donald Trump’s Presidential Advisory Committee on Election Integrity disbanded without having come up with any new or credible evidence of such a threat. One form it has taken is that of state “voter fraud task forces” — groups that purport to be for the safeguarding of fair elections, but whose existence serves to heighten fear over legitimate forms of democratic participation.

Trump’s and conservatives’ repeated claims of the democratic dangers of absentee voting are unfounded, but they turned the issue of access to the ballot during a deadly pandemic into one of partisan wrangling and misguided anxiety. And as more states looked to increase access to vote-by-mail during the 2020 election, those that launched voter fraud task forces to investigate the supposed threat created a new method of suppressing the vote.

At the same time, similar efforts at the national level, including the Republican Party’s multimillion-dollar plan to recruit tens of thousands of volunteer “poll watchers,” also created a possibility for voter intimidation. American Oversight is looking into the work of these groups in multiple states, from Georgia’s Absentee Ballot Fraud Task Force to Kentucky’s Absentee Ballot Integrity Task Force and Nevada’s Election Integrity Task Forces. 

Updates

From Voter-Fraud Myths to Bogus Election Audits: The Evolution of the Big Lie

September 13, 2021
On Monday, American Oversight published an in-depth look at the "Big Lie" and the decades-long campaign by conservative activists and lawmakers to hype up the threat of voter fraud.

News Roundup: New Hearing in Lawsuit for Arizona ‘Audit’ Records

July 9, 2021
The more we learn about the origins and operations of the Arizona Senate's partisan recount of Maricopa County ballots, the clearer it becomes that those who instigated the exercise did not have the public's interest in mind. And as we outlined last week, we've already learned a great deal.

How State Voting Restrictions Perpetuate Voter-Fraud Lies and Continue Efforts to Undermine the 2020 Election

June 4, 2021
Top officials — including Georgia’s Gabriel Sterling — who stood firm against former President Trump’s stolen-election lies have nonetheless avoided criticizing, or have even voiced support for, anti-democratic voting restrictions.

News Roundup: The Big Lie Becomes Big Policy

March 25, 2021
The sheer number of voting-restriction bills currently floating in state legislatures makes it hard to keep track of where each proposal stands. But they all point to the fact that conservative leaders and fundraisers have increasingly adopted such restrictions as a primary policy position.

News Roundup: Power Failures and Power Plays

February 18, 2021
Severe winter weather swept across the nation this week, wiping out power for millions. And several states unleashed a new wave of voting-restriction measures.

Investigations Update: Florida Vaccine Distribution, Anti-Protest Measures, and Trump’s Efforts to Overturn Georgia’s Election Results

February 9, 2021
See the latest in our investigations into the coronavirus pandemic response and into officials’ attempts to interfere with democracy.

Open Questions About President Trump’s Abuses of Office

December 28, 2020
Trump’s time as president was defined by multiple financial conflicts of interest and unprecedented abuses of power that touched nearly every aspect of public life — and there’s still a lot the American public needs to know.

Investigations Update: Political Interference in Coronavirus Data, Texas Election Lawsuit, and State Officials’ Voter-Fraud Allegations

December 15, 2020
See the latest in our investigation into attempts to overturn election results and efforts to meddle with pandemic-related scientific work.

Investigations Update: ‘Burrowing In,’ Medicaid Block Grants, and Pennsylvania County Election Certifications

December 1, 2020
See the latest in our investigations into troubling appointments, Oklahoma’s withdrawn block grant waiver application, and the administration’s attempt to exclude undocumented immigrants from the census apportionment.

Investigating the Firing of Key Election Security Official Who Defied Trump

November 23, 2020
Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Chris Krebs was ousted after vouching for the security of the 2020 election — we’re seeking records about how it went down.

Investigations Update: ‘Sharpiegate,’ the Census, and Barr’s ‘Voter Fraud’ Investigations

November 17, 2020
See the latest in our investigations of the Justice Department’s voter fraud probes, the rush to finish the census, and criminal charges against protesters.

News Roundup: Lessons from Election Week

November 6, 2020
While Americans have waited days for the results to become clear, certain truths about the threats to Americans’ voting rights were put into stark relief.

Open Questions About Trump Administration Policies

October 29, 2020
The tragically botched pandemic response and devastating practice of separating immigrant families are just some of the Trump administration’s actions that bear further scrutiny.

Investigations Update: Poll Watchers, Vaccine Communications, and Continued Political Interference in Pandemic Response

October 27, 2020
See the latest in our investigations into state elections operations, political interference in the pandemic response, and the executive order to cease federal diversity and inclusion training.

Georgia’s Secretary of State Releases Records in Response to American Oversight’s Lawsuit

October 24, 2020
The office finally released thousands of pages of records related to the state’s voter fraud task force, election preparedness, and communications with political campaigns and proponents of voting restrictions.

Investigations Update: Hatch Act Violations, Covid-19 Vaccine Contracts, and South Carolina Ballots

October 20, 2020
See the latest in our investigations into the misuse of government resources for political purposes, the administration’s pandemic response, and voting rights in the states.

News Roundup: Restricting the Vote

October 15, 2020
As the election draws nearer, political observers are increasingly turning attention to poll results in states across the country. But of course, poll numbers don’t mean much if ballots aren’t counted — or if people can’t vote in the first place.

Investigations Update: Vote-by-Mail Disinformation Campaigns, Drug Coupons for Seniors, and 2020 Census Interference

October 13, 2020
See the latest in our investigations into outside influence in the judicial nominations process, foreign disinformation campaigns, and Trump administration’s continued meddling with the 2020 census.

Investigations Update: The White House Outbreak, the Administration’s Naturalization Policy, and Texas’ Ballot Drop Boxes

October 6, 2020
See the latest in our investigations into the administration’s immigration policy, absentee voting requirements, and voter suppression in the states.

Investigations Update: New Kentucky Voter Fraud Task Force Lawsuit, and Our Supreme Court Short List Investigation

September 23, 2020
See the latest in our investigations into Trump’s potential Supreme Court nominees, the CDC’s removal of updated Covid-19 guidelines, and foreign interference in U.S. elections.

American Oversight Sues for Records Related to Kentucky’s Ballot Integrity Task Force

September 22, 2020
On Tuesday, American Oversight sued the attorney general of Kentucky for documents and communications that could shed light on the work of its task force investigating supposed voter fraud.

Investigations Update: Pompeo’s RNC Speech, DeJoy’s Calendars, and Kentucky’s Voter Fraud Task Force

September 9, 2020
See the latest in our investigations into the administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, Pompeo’s unprecedented convention appearance, the cost of Chad Wolf’s July trip to Portland, and more.

Investigations Update: Operation Legend, Crossfire Hurricane, and the Rush for a Coronavirus Vaccine

September 1, 2020
See the latest in our investigations into the Trump administration’s politicized Operation Legend, the rush for school reopenings and a Covid-19 vaccine, and partisan FBI responses to congressional requests.

News Roundup: The Levers of Power

August 6, 2020
Americans may have long taken for granted the reliability of the national mail service and the accuracy of the decennial census. But it seems the Trump administration is doing its best to make sure we won’t do so again.

Investigations Update: ‘Burrowing In,’ Voter Fraud Task Forces, and Federal Law Enforcement

July 28, 2020
Our latest investigations into political appointees moving to permanent positions, the designation of "antifa" as a terrorist group, and state-level voter fraud task forces.

Voter Fraud Task Forces and Their Threat to Democracy

June 8, 2020
An inconspicuous but potentially effective form of voter suppression is growing across the country. (English/Español)
Show all updates

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Kentucky Department of Military Affairs
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