Is True the Vote Intimidating Minority Voters From Going to the Polls?


In response, Engelbrecht said that the remarks were taken out of context and were presented during the course of a longer conversation about the use of the group's publicly available research.

In a statement, she said, "True the Vote's research template was designed to identify potential inaccuracies in the voter rolls and support challenges or concerns by citizens so they may directly participate in the citizen challenge process. This important legal process was designed to protect voters from fraud and abuse, and relies on citizens to ensure the integrity of our voter rolls. Given the enormous value of this work, we, as an organization, take reasonable steps to help prevent the misuse of our data that supports the noble efforts of well-intended citizens who stand in the gap so every American vote is counted."

Read the full statement HERE

Engelbrecht insisted True the Vote is nonpartisan, and the volunteer training videos on its website do say that.

But there is evidence to suggest otherwise. Engelbrecht runs a Tea Party group in Houston and True the Vote recently donated $5,000 to a Republican organization.

Engelbrecht told "Nightline" the donation was a mistake, and said that her Tea Party group and True the Vote are two separate organizations. But True the Vote organizes national summits where members have made clear they want to see President Obama out of office.

"I'm not being over the top here: I fear the Obama gang is setting themselves up to steal the elections, if possible," one volunteer leader said.

But again, Engelbrecht denied that the group had a political agenda.

"Our agenda is to make sure that the election process is as free and as fair as it can be for all American voters," she said. "To the extent that the administration is standing in the way of that, I take exception."

True the Vote has said it is mobilizing one million poll watchers to go to voting places across the country. The problem, critics said, is that those watchers are mostly white and many of the polling places they target serve mostly black or minority voters.

In 2010, people in Texas complained that poll watchers who were affiliated with True the Vote were being overly aggressive and intimidating. According to Douglas Ray, the senior assistant county attorney for Harris County, Texas, the county where Engelbrecht lives, there were several complaints of True the Vote volunteers being disruptive to voters.

Ray said he went to the True the Vote offices and saw push pins on a map that he interpreted as the group's intention to target specific minority areas. This year, he said, his office has already received complaint calls about True the Vote volunteers at early voting locations.

The county attorney's office directed "Nightline" to an early voting location in Houston where there were Caucasian poll watchers in a predominantly African-American neighborhood, where citizens have already begun to complain.

Despite all the controversy the group has kicked up, study after study -- by the U.S. Department of Justice, investigative journalists and a bipartisan commission -- has found voter fraud to be virtually non-existent.

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