Pro-Trump group sent armed members door-to-door in Colorado to "intimidate" voters: Lawsuit | Salon.com

  
Via:  Devangelical  •  5 months ago  •  32 comments

By:   Igor Derysh (Salon)

Pro-Trump group sent armed members door-to-door in Colorado to "intimidate" voters: Lawsuit | Salon.com
Lawsuit accuses Colorado group linked to Mike Lindell of violating the Ku Klux Klan Act and voting rights laws

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trumpsters feel the need to be armed when intimidating minority voters face to face... go figure...


S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



Voting rights groups have filed a lawsuit seeking to stop a pro-Trump group from going door-to-door in Colorado in search of evidence to support voter fraud allegations that have already been debunked and rejected by courts.

The lawsuit alleges that the U.S. Election Integrity Plan — led by Shawn Smith, an ally of former Trump strategist Steve Bannon and MyPillow founder Mike Lindell — is sending armed members door-to-door in areas with large numbers of voters of color, questioning people about how they voted and taking photographs of their homes.

The lawsuit, which is backed by the state chapter of the NAACP, the League of Women Voters and Mi Familia Vota, alleges that the "voter intimidation" campaign violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, a post-Civil War law aimed at preventing white vigilantes from terrorizing Black people to stop them from voting.

The lawsuit cites the "County & Local Organizing Playbook" used by the group, which instructs members to "undertake citizen audit activities to either refute or confirm serious allegations of election malfeasance" in order to "support future legal action." The group, some of whose members are armed, has been going door-to-door in El Paso, Mesa and Weld counties in Colorado, using public voter lists to identify areas where they believe ballots were fraudulently cast, the Colorado Times Recorder reported last year. The report prompted an alert from Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, who warned voters of unofficial canvassing efforts and urged residents to report harassment and threats to local law enforcement or the Justice Department.

"Defendants' objectives are clear. By planning to, threatening to, and actually deploying armed agents to knock on doors throughout the state of Colorado, USEIP is engaged in voter intimidation," the lawsuit states. "USEIP's public-facing actions are a clear signal to Colorado voters — especially voters of color — that to vote in an upcoming election means facing interrogation by potentially armed and threatening USEIP agents at their doorstep thereafter."

The lawsuit claims that some members have worn "badges" and falsely accused voters of fraud.

"Sometimes armed and donning badges to present an appearance of government officiality, USEIP agents interrogate voters about their addresses, whether they participated in the 2020 election, and — if so — how they cast their vote," the complaint says. "It is reported that multiple agents have claimed to be from 'the county,' and have, without any evidence, falsely accused the residents of casting fraudulent ballots."

The voting rights groups say the group's efforts to seek out areas where they believe voter fraud occurred has largely focused on high-density housing areas and communities experiencing a growth in the number of minority voters.

"No one should have to be afraid to go to the polls or fear that doing so will mean being threatened in their own homes," Courtney Hostetler, senior counsel for Free Speech for People and one of the lawyers leading the lawsuit, said in a statement. "Free and fair elections can only occur when people know that they are able to safely vote without reprisal or intimidation."

The group's "playbook" thanks Lindell, a leading election conspiracy theorist. Smith, the group's founder, attended Lindell's election conspiracy-laden "symposium" last year in South Dakota along with former Colorado election clerk Tina Peters, who was indicted earlier this month for her role in leaking sensitive voting system data that was published by QAnon conspiracy theorists and right-wing websites. Griswold's office said earlier this year that Smith had also convinced another election official, Elbert County Clerk and Recorder Dallas Schroeder, to make copies of his office's hard drives that he later gave to "unauthorized people in violation of Election Rules."

Shawn Smith, the head of USEIP last month led a "lock her up" chant while discussing Griswold at a rally and said that "if you're involved in election fraud, you deserve to hang."

He can also seen in a video among a group of violent Trump supporters who clashed with police outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. He was accompanied by Colorado state Rep. Ron Hanks, a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate who has also pushed false election claims.

Smith is also the president of another "election integrity" group called Cause of America, also funded by Lindell, which Smith announced on Bannon's "War Room" podcast.

USEIP appears to have fully embraced the QAnon conspiracy theory. Its website and the first page of its "playbook" include the slogan "We Are the Plan," frequently associated with QAnon believers. During a presentation organized by Sherronna Bishop, the former campaign manager for Rep. Lauren Boebert, USEIP leader Cory Anderson (who is also a member of the anti-government Three Percenter militia) described the briefing as "being red-pilled," according to the Times Recorder. (That expression, originally drawn from "The Matrix," is popular among QAnon followers and other far-right conspiracy theorists.)

The lawsuit names Smith, as well as co-founders Holly Kasun and Ashe Epp, who was also at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

It alleges that their attempted canvassing for election fraud evidence had the "purpose and effect of intimidating Coloradans from voting, trying to vote, helping others to vote, supporting or advocating for certain political beliefs, or exercising the right to speak, peaceably assemble, or petition the government for redress of grievances, in violation of Section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act." The suit also accuses the group of violating a section of the Ku Klux Klan Act that bans "conspiracy to interfere with civil rights."

"Sadly, efforts to intimidate voters are nothing new," NAACP general counsel Janette McCarthy Wallace said in a statement. "The NAACP has a long and proud history of opposing those who would seek to thwart democracy. We could not sit idly by and allow voters to potentially be bullied out of exercising their rights."

The lawsuit does not offer specific examples of voters being intimidated or harassed by armed canvassers, but last year USEIP leader Charity McPike urged armed members to provide "security" for the group.

"We are attempting to line up security. However, anyone who carries protection might want to let us know so we can offer your cell phone numbers to those who are concerned," McPike said, according to Colorado Pols.

"No voter should ever feel threatened in the safety of their own homes," Celina Stewart, League of Women Voters chief counsel, said in a statement. "The nefarious actions of the USEIP are a blatant form of voter intimidation used to target and with the intent to silence Colorado voters of color, which is in clear violation of the Voting Rights Act."

The USEIP is also working with the Colorado Republican Party on its "Election Integrity Operations," according to the Times Recorder. A USEIP member is in charge of the GOP's program and has given joint presentations with Epp, the group's co-founder. Heidi Ganahl, the leading Republican candidate for Colorado governor, promoted the group during a recent event, declaring that they are "doing great things."

USEIP did not respond to a request for comment. The group's website says it plans to expand to other states, including Arizona, Georgia and New Hampshire. Its training materials are already being used by conspiracy theorists in Utah who call themselves the Utah Voter Verification Project, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

Residents in Hurricane, Utah, alerted Washington County officials in December that members of the group, who refused to identify themselves, showed up at their doors with personal voter information, according to the report. The members also recorded voters without their consent.

"We can record anyone without telling them. We don't need permission," one unidentified trainer told the outlet. The group's training manual also stressed that "you do not have to identify yourself at all."

The goal of the Utah group appears to be to collect affidavits from voters who claim to have evidence of illegal votes. In the wake of Trump's 2020 defeat, his legal team attempted to submit voter affidavits to prove their debunked allegations, but those efforts were almost entirely rejected by judges and discredited by election officials.

There has been no credible evidence of voter fraud in Utah, which Trump won by more than 20 points. Republican Gov. Spencer Cox and Lt. Gov. Deidre Henderson condemned those who are spreading "misinformation" about the election and dismissed claims of fraud as "absolute falsehoods."

Other Trump supporters have tried similar door-to-door audits. Cyber Ninjas, the bankrupt company that led Arizona's failed "forensic audit," sought to send canvassers door-to-door in Maricopa County but ultimately relented after the Justice Department warned that such an effort would violate federal laws against voter intimidation.

Another group called the New Mexico Audit Force also sent its members door-to-door in heavily Republican Otero County, which had already spent $50,000 on an "audit" confirming that Trump had won the county by more than 25 points. The House Oversight Committee last Thursday announced a probe of the effort, warning that the audit "illegally interferes with Americans' right to vote by spreading disinformation about elections and intimidating voters."

USEIP also appears to have had trouble vetting its volunteers. The group's training manual says that the group intends to check volunteers' social media and called on them for a "gut check," saying leaders had "learned (roundaboutly) that there were a couple of people in our group, who were volunteering for our events, who had a criminal history of sexual misconduct," and adding, "it's unfortunate that we must check volunteers for pedophilic leanings."

 


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devangelical
Professor Principal
1  seeder  devangelical    5 months ago

Trolling, taunting, spamming, and off topic comments may be removed at the discretion of group mods. NT members that vote up their own comments, repeat comments, or continue to disrupt the conversation risk having all of their comments deleted. Please remember to quote the person(s) to whom you are replying to preserve continuity of this seed.

[deleted]

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.1  seeder  devangelical  replied to  devangelical @1    5 months ago

(deleted)

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
1.1.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  devangelical @1.1    5 months ago

What did you do now?

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.1.2  seeder  devangelical  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.1.1    5 months ago

the grand dragon POS is coming in to flag stuff in retaliation.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
1.1.3  Trout Giggles  replied to  devangelical @1.1.2    5 months ago

That's bullshit. He's probably bored

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2  seeder  devangelical    5 months ago
leaders had "learned (roundaboutly) that there were a couple of people in our group, who were volunteering for our events, who had a criminal history of sexual misconduct," and adding, "it's unfortunate that we must check volunteers for pedophilic leanings."

common sense, especially for the largest segment of that cult...

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
2.1  Ender  replied to  devangelical @2    5 months ago

Sending pedophiles door to door...what could go wrong...

 
 
 
Ozzwald
Professor Quiet
2.1.1  Ozzwald  replied to  Ender @2.1    5 months ago

Sending pedophiles door to door...what could go wrong...

And armed pedophiles in some cases.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
3  JohnRussell    5 months ago

This should be featured on every national news outlet. 

 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
Professor Participates
3.1  Dismayed Patriot  replied to  JohnRussell @3    5 months ago
This should be featured on every national news outlet.

If the right wing media platforms aren't covering this on repeat every hour on the hour then they're violating the first amendment! The RWM are silencing progressives!... /s

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
4  Kavika     5 months ago

Amazing that the POS are still breathing.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
4.1  seeder  devangelical  replied to  Kavika @4    5 months ago

pffft, too bad they're only doing it in the teabag counties. I could never be so lucky to have them knock on my door. these trumpsters are doing their best to insure that colorado remains a blue state. good job, boneheads.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
4.1.1  Kavika   replied to  devangelical @4.1    5 months ago

They are not known for their high IQs.

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
5  JBB    5 months ago

Is it any wonder that the once Grand Old Party of Abraham Lincoln is now known merely as the gop?

If you find yourself mired in the gop try to get out!

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
5.1  seeder  devangelical  replied to  JBB @5    5 months ago

GOP = грандиозная старая вечеринка

 
 
 
Ender
Professor Principal
6  Ender    5 months ago

These assholes need to arrested.

The trump people know no bounds.

 
 
 
Paula Bartholomew
Professor Guide
7  Paula Bartholomew    5 months ago

If his peeps show up at some doors, they might just get the business end of a double barrel for their effort.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
7.1  seeder  devangelical  replied to  Paula Bartholomew @7    5 months ago

... especially in Colorado. "make my day" Q nuts...

 
 
 
cjcold
Professor Quiet
7.1.1  cjcold  replied to  devangelical @7.1    5 months ago

Spent many years living on the Eastern slope. The worst it got was door-to-door Mormons in starched white shirts riding mountain bikes and spreading their word.

 
 
 
Ozzwald
Professor Quiet
7.1.2  Ozzwald  replied to  cjcold @7.1.1    5 months ago
The worst it got was door-to-door Mormons in starched white shirts riding mountain bikes.

They never came back after my 150 lbs Rottweiler greeted them at the front door.

Of course he was just a big pussy cat, but they didn't know that.

 
 
 
cjcold
Professor Quiet
7.1.3  cjcold  replied to  Ozzwald @7.1.2    5 months ago

Tended to tell them that I worshipped Satan because he gave me so much stuff.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
7.1.4  seeder  devangelical  replied to  cjcold @7.1.1    5 months ago

they're still pedaling the word that way. white short sleeve shirt and tie, cheap slacks, and dress shoes on mountain bikes.

 
 
 
cjcold
Professor Quiet
7.1.5  cjcold  replied to  devangelical @7.1.4    5 months ago

Love living way out in the country now. Pretty sure I get to shoot anybody who comes to my door.

 
 
 
pat wilson
Professor Guide
7.1.6  pat wilson  replied to  devangelical @7.1.4    5 months ago

My friend in Chile said they used to refer to them as pelotas (balls) 'cause they always traveled in pairs.

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Expert
7.1.7  Hal A. Lujah  replied to  devangelical @7.1.4    5 months ago

 
 
 
sandy-2021492
Professor Principal
8  sandy-2021492    5 months ago

Lock 'em up!

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
9  Trout Giggles    5 months ago

These people should be arrested for impersonating code/law enforcement

 
 
 
pat wilson
Professor Guide
9.1  pat wilson  replied to  Trout Giggles @9    5 months ago

Or terrorism.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
9.1.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  pat wilson @9.1    5 months ago

that's even better

 
 
 
RU4Real
Freshman Silent
10  RU4Real    5 months ago

Pathetic cowards.  Perform the actions against the very people they falsely accuse of performing that very same action.

But honestly, is that not SOP for these POS?

 
 
 
Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom
Professor Guide
11  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom    5 months ago

Cyber Ninjas, the bankrupt company that led Arizona's failed "forensic audit," sought to send canvassers door-to-door in Maricopa County but ultimately relented after the Justice Department warned that such an effort would violate federal laws against voter intimidation.

Cyber Ninjas went bankrupt?  I guess those idiots expected to get paid for their services.  

 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
Professor Participates
11.1  Dismayed Patriot  replied to  Sister Mary Agnes Ample Bottom @11    5 months ago
Cyber Ninjas went bankrupt?

That's just another way to say the founders of "Cyber Ninja's" paid themselves a butt load of money that they took from gullible conservative suckers who donated, then claimed the company can't pay its bills and filed for bankruptcy so they only have to pay back pennies on the dollar to the vendors they hired to do the actual audit work. It's not unlike what Trump did with the Atlantic City Casino where he paid himself $32 million for "consulting" and then filed bankruptcy so all the contractors who were owed for the construction got shafted.

 
 

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