Parental rights and election integrity are emerging among the top issues concerning voters ahead of the 2022 elections, in which all 435 seats in House of Representatives and 35 of the 100 Senate seats will be contested.
In states such as Virginia, Texas, Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia, political leaders and candidates are building their campaigns around these issues.
The last few years have underscored the importance of parental rights to Americans as these rights have come under attack by the Left. In school districts across the nation, parental protests over the forced masking of children and the vaccinations of minors ignited a flame that spread across the political and cultural spectrum.
What was originally a conservative cause slowly became more mainstream. The same is true regarding parental opposition to “critical race theory (CRT),” a radical doctrine that preaches that racism is embedded in American society and that all social evils arise from “white power and white privilege.”
This destructive ideology is being promoted in the nation’s schools by progressives who have the backing of the Biden administration. Key components of CRT include socialist-Marxist ideas that capitalism is a pillar of inequality, and that all people fit into either the mold of “oppressed” or “oppressor.”
Parents across the country have packed school board meetings to denounce the implementation of this doctrine in children from K-12 in public and charter schools.
Parent bodies in many school districts have also objected to their young children being instructed in “woke” culture (viewing all issues through the prism of “racism”), and the inclusion of graphically violent and inappropriate literature in some school reading programs.
A Burning Issue At the Ballot Box
In November 2021, Republican Glenn Youngkin was elected as governor of Democratic-leaning Virginia in part by pledging to “stand up for parents” in fights with educators.
In Jan, Gov. Greg Abbott, R-TX, put parental rights at the center of his reelection platform. Abbott made a pitch that he wants to solidify parental rights as an amendment to the Texas Constitution.
“Parents will be restored to their rightful place as the preeminent decision-maker for their children,” Abbott assured those at the campaign event in Lewisville, Texas.
“That move inspired Republicans across the U.S. to introduce legislation that would restrict conversations on racial theory” and topics violating traditional boundaries in schools, wrote the Texas Tribune.
In Michigan, the GOP’s choices for two of the biggest statewide races – for attorney general and secretary of state – signals a focus on shoring up parental rights and securing the elections process in that state.
Matthew DePerno, who is running for attorney general, and Kristina Karamo, running for secretary of state, have both built their candidacies around promises to close the loopholes in Michigan’s election systems and to stand up for parental rights.
DePerno has vowed to ban classroom teachings of CRT, which he said were “designed to make our children hate their county, parents, and G-d.”
“On day one, I will issue an opinion declaring CRT unconstitutional and banning this divisive concept,” DePerno’s campaign website reads. “I will end this hateful ideology and advance Michigan as a place of freedom and America First principles.”
The two candidates endorsed by the GOP to run for the State Board of Education, Linda Lee Tarver and Tamara D. Carlone, have similarly vowed to ban CRT from K-12 schools and empower Michigan parents. The two have also pledged to ban any mask and vaccine mandates during the pandemic, according to MichiganLive.
Florida, Michigan, Texas, Georgia, Wisconsin Push Election Integrity
Matthew DePerno, Michigan’s Republican candidate for attorney general, has promised, if elected, to “prosecute the people who corrupted the 2020 election…whether from fraudulent mail-in ballot campaigns, misappropriation of HAVA funds, or the deletion and destruction of voting records,” according to his website.
“Our nation cannot survive as a Constitutional Republic if the government allows …illegitimate or ghost votes, or the absence of any semblance of operational integrity in the electronic systems used to process ballots and tabulate votes,” the website asserts.
DePerno is referring in part to the Dominion voting machines used in Michigan and 27 other states that he said were hooked up to the internet, and vulnerable to hackers on Election Day. The attorney general candidate filed a lawsuit in Michigan charging that the voting tabulators had been manipulated and had yielded falsified voting tallies for the presidential candidates.
Similar allegations were carried by several news corporations about Dominion machines’ reportedly flawed performance in multiple states.
Spokesmen for Dominion have disputed these claims and have launched billion dollar defamation lawsuits against news corporations and Trump attorneys who made the charges. Trial proceedings are currently ongoing in Dominion’s lawsuit against Fox News.
Legal action, threats and the combined censorship power of mainstream and social media exerted a massive chilling effect on election fraud discourse for many months.
But changing political dynamics and the upcoming midterm elections have pitched the subject of election integrity back into the headlines.
An election integrity bill signed into law by Florida Gov. Ron Desantis two weeks ago is part of these dynamics, inspiring similar legislative measures in a number of states.
“Twenty years ago, nobody thought Florida was a prime example of how to conduct elections, but we have become a national leader by running the most secure elections in the country,” DeSantis said, according to SunCoast.com.
The voter integrity bill “will strengthen election security measures by requiring voter rolls to be annually reviewed and updated, and by strengthening ID requirements,” a press release from the governor’s office said.
The bill also establishing the Office of Election Crimes and Security—a special police unit– to investigate election law violations and increasing penalties for violations of election laws. Election law violations will go from a misdemeanor to a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison, a $5,000 fine and up to five years of probation, according to the bill’s provisions.
“We need to do more to ensure our elections remain secure,” DeSantis said at the signing ceremony. “We have ended ballot harvesting, stopped drop boxes and the mass mailing of ballots, and banned ‘Zuckerbucks,’ (a reference to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who has donated money to elections offices across the country).
DeSantis claimed that people from outside the state have been trying to influence elections by giving money and engaging in other nefarious activities. Ballot harvesting (collecting and mailing ballots from multiple individuals) is apparently rampant, the governor said, and that will be prohibited. This bill will give us more resources to make sure bad actors are held accountable.”
Tightening Voter ID Requirements
Following the 2020 presidential election which many believe was tainted by voter fraud, 16 Republican states took proactive measures to ensure greater voter-integrity, tightening laws and closing loopholes that made it easy to cheat.
These include laws restructuring voter-ID requirements, banning electioneering in front of poll booths; limiting or eliminating drop boxes; outlawing ballot trafficking; empowering poll watchers to more effectively do their job; shortening absentee ballot deadlines to 10-11 days before and more.
A few examples: Georgia now requires voters who lack driver’s licenses or state ID cards to include in their absentee ballot application a photocopy of another government-issued ID such as a passport.
Previously, absentee voters’ identities were verified by matching signatures. But shocking disclosures at Georgia’s post-election public hearing revealed that a staggering 10,315 ballots appeared to be cast by voters who were dead by Election Day.
In addition, 2,506 felons are alleged to have voted illegally in Georgia, attorney Ray Smith told the committee. He said another 2,423 voters weren’t registered to vote; 1,043 of those who cast ballots registered at a post office box, church or commercial property; and 4,926 voted despite registering to vote after the deadline.
These massive irregularities catalyzed the state legislature to pass the new voter legislation tightening voter ID criteria.
Texas’ law permits voters to use a broader set of IDs than that allowed in some states when applying for and casting mail-in ballots. But due to recently passed laws, the voter’s ID is rejected if it doesn’t match the ID number the voter provided when initially registering to vote, according to Texas Tribune.
Harris County, which contains Houston, reported in February that it had rejected more than one-third of all mail-in ballot applications for failing to comply with the new rules.
Ballot Drop Boxes Under the Microscope
A Wisconsin judge ruled in January that absentee ballot drop boxes are not allowed under Wisconsin law. His ruling came after he determined that “in looking at the statutes, there is no specific authorization for drop boxes.”
Judge Michael Bohren noted that while the Elections Commission’s guidance went into great detail on the construction and placement of drop boxes, the law did not provide for them. “All of that is good and nice, but there’s no authority to do it,” Bohren said, as quoted by Wisconsin Public Radio.
In one of the most sweeping voting law reversals, a Pennsylvania court sided with Republican legislators in January in striking down a pandemic-related state law that had eliminated barriers to voting by mail, removing the potential for ballot harvesting.
Democrats actively used mail in voting in 2020, helping Joe Biden win the state by some 80,000 votes, sparking multiple lawsuits alleging illegal voting, and allegations of ballot trafficking. The lawsuits were all dismissed.
Ballot drop boxes were a major flashpoint in the debate over the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election, as they potentially make ballot harvesting or “trafficking” all too easy for unscrupulous actors. A newly released documentary by conservative commentator and filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, titled “2000 Mules,” brings the hypothetical scenario of ballot trafficking shockingly to life.
“2000 Mules” provides a closer examination of the 2020 presidential election, with its focus on just the “swing” or “battleground” states, including Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin and Arizona. The “mules” in the documentary’s title are the operatives that deposit huge numbers of illegal ballots into drop boxes.
The most compelling evidence of illegal ballot harvesting to date, “2000 Mules” joined forces with election integrity group “True The Vote” to expose this surreptitious practice in the “swing” states.
Using cellphone geo-tracking and surveillance video (routinely used by law enforcement and marketing companies), it shows a network of “mules” in battleground states—men and women of different ages and backgrounds—busily collecting ballots from get-out-the-vote organizations, stuffing them into multiple drop boxes, often in the dead of night.
Through these cell phone records, along with footage from security cameras in cities in the battleground states, “2000 Mules” documents as many as 400,000 potentially harvested ballots in the 2020 presidential election.
Cell Phone “Pings” and Surveillance Video
True the Vote co-founder Catherine Engelbrecht said her group spent $2 million to obtain three trillion geo-location signals from cellphones that were near drop boxes and also near election nonprofits, from Oct. 1, 2020, through the election on November 3, 2020.
According to Newsweek, she also paid $20,000 to obtain video surveillance via open-records requests to counties and cities in five states where it appeared Trump was winning, until mail-in and drop-box ballots were counted: Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
From there, she says she and her staff cross-referenced the times and locations of the cell phones whose users (the mules or operatives) visited multiple drop boxes, with the 4 million minutes of video obtained from city and county governments.
“The geo-spatial data was the driver,” Engelbrecht said. The mules were tracked by the pings of their cell phones, each of which showed up on the screen as a unique ID number.
She also said she’ll be turning over time- and date-stamped video that shows the same people inserting ballots into sometimes dozens of different drop boxes to various law-enforcement officials.
To help law enforcement hone in on the ringleaders, Engelbrecht said her organization would soon release the addresses of the left-wing NGOs (non-profit government organizations) where the operations were based, and which supplied the mules with tens of thousands of ballots.
In plotting out the investigation which began 15 months ago, data analyst Gregg Phillips set a threshold for each operative to visit at least 10 drop boxes within a defined area and at least five visits to one or more NGOs.
“We wanted a number that would stand out as strikingly aberrant and conspicuous before we began to investigate,” explained Engelbrecht on the Charlie Kirk show.
In the Atlanta-metro area, the investigators drew a line around 309 drop boxes and bought all the cellphone data of people that had been near those drop boxes and NGOs.
That narrowed the search to 2,000 “mules.” For each operative, the average number of drop box visits was between 23 and 38, each time with an average of five ballots to deposit.
True the Vote investigators then went looking for public surveillance camera footage of those particular drop boxes. “The results are stunning. When a mule is matched with video, you can see the scheme come to life,” writes the New York Post.
The documentary captures scores of ballot trafficking scenes, some images grainy, others crystal clear. In one sequence, a car pulls up at a drop box after midnight. A man gets out, looks furtively around, approaches the box, stuffs in a handful of ballots, takes a picture of the ballot and the box, and hightails it out of there. Then he goes on to the next drop box and the next, repeating the procedure multiple times.
“Through whistleblowers, we were able to identify the stash-houses that supplied the ballots; we were told the mules received from ten to forty dollars a ballot, depending on the city,” Catherine Engelbrecht recounted on the Charlie Kirk show.
The impact of “2000 Mules” has been immediate in at least one of the states the documentary features. The Georgia Election Board has sent subpoenas to True the Vote staff and co-founders Engelbrecht and Phillips, to produce evidence related to “a ballot harvesting operation in Georgia.”
The specific claims under investigation are that 242 ballot “traffickers” made an average of 23 runs per day to drop boxes, totaling 5,662 ballot drops in the weeks and days leading up to the 2020 election, continuing until Jan 6, the day of the run-off elections in Georgia.
The subpoenas seek “the identity and contact information of [the whistleblowers] regarding personal knowledge, methods, and organizations involved in ballot trafficking in Georgia, and any recordings, transcripts, testimony, witness interviews, notes or other documents describing what those individuals said.”
Although some states allow a voter’s family member or caregiver to mail in their ballot, in Georgia and the states monitored by True the Vote, only one such ballot is allowed per person, and never for payment.
The subpoenas also ask for the identities of the “non-governmental organizations” which allegedly worked together to execute the ballot trafficking scheme.
Secretary of State Brad Raffenspeger has been issuing statements about his “fight for election integrity” and is now calling for a federal ban on ballot harvesting. It remains to be seen whether government leaders and law enforcement bodies in the other states featured in the documentary will be similarly galvanized to investigate evidence of a sweeping, cartel-like conspiracy to subvert the election.
Could Ballot Trafficking in the Swing States Have Changed The Election’s Outcome?
The pivotal question the documentary raises is whether the numbers of ballots that were allegedly trafficked would have changed the outcome of the election. Using the documentary’s findings, D’Souza breaks down the numbers to suggest an answer.
“For each of the 2,000 mules the average number of drop box visits was 38, with an average five ballots deposited per visit. That’s 380,000 suspect votes,” he contends.
In Michigan, 500 mules averaged 50 drop box visits, at five ballots per drop, yielding 125,000 suspect votes, not enough to overwhelm Biden’s 154,000-vote advantage over Trump, the NY Post quotes from the documentary.
The article goes on to compute the numbers: “In Wisconsin, 100 mules averaged 28 drop box visits each, which gives us 14,000 suspect votes, 6,000 votes short of giving Trump the win.
“But in Georgia, where 250 mules averaged 24 drop box visits each with five or more ballots, the tally is 30,000 suspect votes, more than enough to overcome Biden’s 12,000 vote advantage.”
“Georgia’s 16 electoral votes hypothetically move over to Trump,” the article reasons. “In Arizona, 200 mules averaging 20 drop box visits makes 20,000 suspect votes, giving another 11 hypothetical electoral votes to Trump.
“In Philadelphia alone, 1,100 mules averaged 50 drop box visits, yielding 275,000 suspect votes which would flip the Pennsylvania result to Trump, giving him another 20 electoral votes,” the NY Post article continues.
“Shockingly, even this narrow way of looking at just our 2,000 mules in these swing states changes the election outcome,” attests D’Souza in an interview. He says the number 2000 “is a ridiculous undercount” of the actual number of mules.
“The real number is much greater,” he said. “The Democrats employed them in all the key states. This is not ‘a big lie,’ as they charge; it is not misinformation. It is a proven fact.”
What the documentary falls short of offering on film is visible evidence of payment being received by the mules from the people running the stash-houses.
Nevertheless, experts say the graphic evidence of operatives taking pictures of the ballots and drop boxes, making sure to wear gloves to hide their fingerprints, and repeated visits to the left-wing organizations that supplied them with ballots, is sufficiently incriminating to warrant a full-blown investigation.
Gov. DeSantis: ‘I Wear That Like a Badge of Honor’
Fueling the growing parents’ rights movement is recent trailblazing legislation signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. The Parental Rights in Education Act entitles parents to full knowledge of and input into their child’s school curriculum. It encourages parents to strengthen their advocacy as they see the Left’s “woke” culture take aim at children.
The new law, fiercely opposed by Democrats, sets clear guidelines on age-appropriate discussions with young children and gives precedence to parents’ rights to choose what their children learn.
“The law states that parents must be notified about health care services offered at the school, with the right to decline any service offered, and that parents must give permission before a questionnaire or health screening is given to young students,” a CBS News article said.
According to provisions in the bill, parents will be able to sue districts over violations.
When asked about the outraged response of critics, particularly those of certain entertainment celebrities who push traditional moral boundaries, DeSantis said, “If those are the types of people who are opposing us on parents’ rights, I wear that like a badge of honor.”
Following Florida’s lead, legislators in Alabama, Arizona, Iowa Louisiana, Missouri and Oklahoma, Tennesse, Ohio and Texas are considering comparable legislation. Some of these states already have laws on the books limiting the inclusion of controversial topics in curricula for younger children.
Parents and teachers are not equal in terms of their rights over children, asserts a Washington Examiner op-ed. “Parents are not on equal footing with members of the government or ‘the village.’ Parents know what’s best for their children and will fight to protect them from increasing secularization, especially at an early age.”
Liberals may have underestimated the collective outrage and power of American parents. If the campaigns to trample traditional boundaries continue, “it may bring Democrats some major electoral woes,” the op-ed predicts. “Parental rights have proven to be a burning issue at the ballot box.”