IV3 Newsletter - The Wrap-Up
IV3 Newsletter - The Wrap-Up
Hello Team IV3!This will be our Midterm wrap-up newsletter. I have a lot to share with all of you, so I hope you’ll stick with me through the end.
Why a Wrap-up? Most states “close the rolls” 90 days before an election. We are now inside of that 90 day window. We’ve helped hundreds of citizens file hundreds of thousands of challenges!
From now until early 2023, IV3 will stop taking new challenges. We will wait until new rolls come out next year, cross match against existing challenges and start again with fresh data and a new, enhanced version of IV3.
Challenge Delivery: Last week, we sent challenge files and affidavits to our volunteers in Florida, Montana, Nevada and Texas who completed at least one challenge in IV3. Not only did they arrive at the last minute, but for some of you we limited your challenges to 1000 records. To address this head on, we know you only had one day to get your challenges submitted to your county, and we apologize for putting each of you in that position. To our volunteers who were able to submit your challenges, thank you. Your hard work salvaged our delays. To our volunteers who were not able to submit your challenges, please know your hard work this year has not gone to waste. We still have all of your challenges and will help you submit them to your counties when we re-open IV3 in early 2023.
What Happened? Timing: As you all know, we originally built IV3 for you to complete challenges using our tools and for our team to handle the rest. However, after going over our plan for delivering challenges to the counties with our legal team to get final sign-off, it was their advice that we have you submit your own challenges directly. Ultimately it was their judgment that this approach would be most consistent with the intent of challenge statutes. Because we were not built to operate that way, we had to come up with a plan; our data team exported and built the challenge files and populated the affidavits, and I personally emailed each of our volunteers their files. We had to move to manual processes, which took a great deal of time.
Capped Challenges: We were also advised to limit challenges to a maximum of 1000 records. True the Vote was sued in Georgia by Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight over challenges that were filed in 2020, with complainants pointing to the sheer volume of our challenges – nevermind that it highlighted the scope of the issues with the Georgia voter file. Still, we ultimately agreed with our legal team.
Those who completed more than 1000 challenges, don’t worry. We still have them and we’ll make sure you get an opportunity to submit them to your county in the future.
In Georgia: We expect the Fair Fight lawsuit to wrap-up soon. Until then, we chose to hold off on submitting additional challenges. The good news? We are able to submit challenges much later in Georgia, and just as soon as the lawsuit wraps up we will touch base with our Georgia volunteers to initiate challenge submissions.
In Ohio: The Ohio Secretary of State has issued Form 257 for challenging voter registrations, and requires that one form be submitted for each record being challenged. The bad news, of course, is that we are not built to execute this process. The good news is that, like Georgia, we have longer to work. The guiding language on the form itself allows for challenges up to 30 days prior to the election. We will work with our Ohio team to get these done, but we ask that you be patient with us while we figure out the best path forward.
In Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania election officials hit us with the most significant obstacles of the cycle. Their interpretation of the statute is that challenges must be completed at the precinct level, not at the county level. Because IV3 is not permissioned at the precinct level, many of our challenges are ineligible. More significantly, Pennsylvania also requires a notarized and signed affidavit for each challenge you submit, at a cost of $5-7 each. Think about that for those of you who completed 20, or 50, or 100, or several hundred challenges. It was never our intent for this process to cost our volunteers any money, much less hundreds to thousands of dollars just to ask your county to check and verify the rolls. We will be talking to election attorneys and Pennsylvania officials about this statute. It needs to be changed.
To our Volunteers who helped us run test submissions and navigate the challenge process with your local election officials: thank you. You were put in the position of being the bearers of bad news most of the time, but your efforts answered key questions. Thank you, I’ll be reaching out to you soon.
What We’ve Learned – So Far.The main takeaway so far is also one that we expected: many local election officials do not know the processes they are assigned to oversee, or the statutes that direct them. Many are good people who work hard and care about doing a good job. Many others have been less than polite to our volunteers, even when they have been wrong. I’ve shared a few examples below that highlight some of the more egregious reactions and responses our volunteers have received.
- In Texas, a county election administrator came out of his office and told our volunteer that a citizen can’t just walk in off the street and turn in a list of voter registrations to be challenged. This is of course not true, but even when the office assistant commented about the number of names in the file, and the volunteer added that both of their neighbors who moved away years ago are still on the rolls, the administrator was no more receptive.
- Another election administrator in Texas told our volunteer that their affidavit did not need to be notarized, even though we got that direction from attorneys in the Secretary of State’s office. Do they not know the process, or was it an intentional ploy to justify tossing the volunteer’s challenges? Regardless, it doesn’t breed a ton of confidence.
- Over in Florida, we’ve had conflicting guidance from county election supervisors over which election triggers the 90-day countdown, the Primary or the General. If they don’t know for sure, who does?
- Several have pointed to a challenge oath whose language specifically says you are accusing someone of illegally voting. That’s not what IV3 does, so we do not believe this law or its oath applies to the challenges our volunteers submitted.
- Yet another county administrator told our volunteer they would have to complete the oaths in front of the administrator and their staff. One of the administrators referenced above even attempted to intimidate a volunteer by pointing to the frivolous challenge portion of the statute, which is a first degree misdemeanor for each offense and carries a $1000 fine with each conviction.
This is just some of what we learned in the first few days after our inaugural round of IV3 challenge submissions. We know that as we begin following up and asking questions, engaging attorneys for advice on how to address certain issues, and running Open Records Requests to find out more about how counties reacted to our challenges internally and how they maintain their voter rolls, that we’re going to learn even more.
To put the credit where it belongs, we could not have done this without each and every one of you. Each of you stepped up and signed up for our beta test in the wild, and in getting some challenges submitted we now have election administrators on the record driving home one of our biggest points: election officials often do not know the laws or processes they are assigned to oversee. This, in addition to broken voter rolls and bad data, is a recipe for disaster.
What Comes NextYou have likely already noticed that we turned off the challenge buttons in IV3. We’ll be shutting off access to users entirely in the next few days after we get things wrapped up. Even though we will close IV3 for development, please continue to encourage your friends, family, neighbors and fellow patriots to sign up so that we can continue processing registrations and have an IV3 Patriot Army ready to roll in 2023!
We’ll also be sending users a survey so that you can tell us about your experience in IV3 this year, any suggestions you have that you think will improve the app, and any program suggestions that you think could make us, and me, better.
For l users in Georgia and Ohio, please be on the lookout for emails from me or other members of our IV3 Team. As we get clarity on a path forward in your states, we’ll be reaching out to you.
To Our IV3 TeamA relatively small team has done enormous and incredible work behind the scenes bringing Catherine’s vision for a tool that empowers citizens to engage in cleaning voter rolls to life. Our data and development teams and our user support team were dedicated to you and helped make what we achieved possible. I want to thank them here for all of their hard work. I cannot wait to see what they bring to the table for the future of the IV3 program!
To The IV3 Grassroots ArmyAlthough we are winding down IV3 for a few months there is still a lot to be done to be prepared for the November Midterm Elections, and so much going on in the life of True The Vote.
First, please consider getting involved in elections locally. Volunteer for candidates you believe in, become a poll worker or election judge, rally your friends and family to vote (in person, if possible!), and anything else you can think of to advance election integrity and turnout in November.
If you are currently a member of a local election integrity group, or would like to start a local election integrity group, or want to get connected with one, let us know! We’re meeting new groups every week from all over the country. We’d love to hear from you.
Also, if you haven’t already please sign up for the True the Vote Newsletter and follow us on social media. Catherine hosts weekly live events on Locals where she shares with you what is happening at TTV, and the community of patriots from around the country is growing every day. Join us!
By now you have probably seen coverage of our event this past Saturday, The Pit. If you weren’t able to watch the livestream I encourage you to do so when you get a chance. There were some terrific speakers and wonderful ideas presented for our election integrity community during the streamed portion of the day. We also pulled the #Ripcord, launching Open.Ink as an open-source, research driven repository where you’ll have access to everything we’ve found in our research. Not only that, but it will provide you with the tools to get started on research of your own. Check it out and dig in!
Finally, one more thank you.I hope that all of you will take pride in what was accomplished this year. We all took on a big lift in launching and working in IV3 together. The lessons we learned and processes we navigated enable us to be better positioned for success in the future.
We couldn’t have done any of it without you.
Cole HughesExecutive DirectorTrue the Vote