RLI, Bopp Law Firm win lawsuit against Gary, Indiana, sanctuary law

11/17/2020 WASHINGTON, D.C.—Yesterday, in a major victory against sanctuary policies, Indiana’s Lake Superior Court struck down an ordinance that the City of Gary, Indiana, had enacted to protect illegal aliens, even ones with criminal records, from federal immigration law enforcement. The decision is a complete victory for the plaintiffs, who are represented by the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) and The Bopp Law Firm.

Lawyers at IRLI and Bopp had argued, and the court yesterday found, that the ordinance violates several Indiana statutes prohibiting governmental bodies in the state from refusing to cooperate with federal immigration law enforcement. The statutes, which IRLI had helped draft, require local jurisdictions to cooperate with such enforcement to the full extent contemplated in federal law.

“Indiana’s law banning sanctuary cities in Indiana clearly bans what the City of Gary and other Hoosier cities have done with so-called ‘Welcoming City’ ordinances,” said James Bopp, Jr. of The Bopp Law Firm. “We are pleased that, after extended litigation, the court has recognized the obvious fact that such ordinances are illegal in Indiana. There must be no more such ordinances in Indiana, and those in existence are clearly in violation of Indiana law.”

Residents of Gary and other sanctuary cities are victimized by such unlawful non-cooperation policies. According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement estimates, roughly 2.1 million alien criminals are living in the U.S., over 1.9 million of whom are removable. Because of policies, like Gary’s, that prohibit state and local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration officials, alien criminals are able to stay in communities and commit more crimes.

“IRLI applauds the court’s decision,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “Sheltering illegal aliens from immigration authorities not only flagrantly violates duly-enacted Indiana law, but represents a serious public safety and national security risk. When cities such as Gary insist on putting the interests of illegal aliens above those of their own citizenry, they have to be stopped, and we are pleased the court did just that yesterday.”

The case is Nicholson v. City of Gary, Indiana, No. 45D05-1802-MI-000014 (Lake Superior Court).

For additional information, contact: Brian Lonergan • 202-232-5590 • blonergan@irli.org

Wisconsin Voters Believe There is Sufficient Suspicion of Illegal Voting, Warranting Thorough Investigation

11/14/2020 HOUSTON, Texas – True the Vote, as part of its “Validate the Vote” initiative filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin against the election officials in Menominee, Milwaukee, and Dane counties, along with the Wisconsin Elections Commission (WEC) and Gov. Tony Evers. The complaint seeks immediate access to nonpublic election information, such as registration data and other key voter information, so that the voters’ experts can analyze who voted, using sophisticated data analytics, to determine if actual illegal votes were cast, and how many.

“Voters in Wisconsin deserve to have their voices heard and their doubts resolved about the presidential election results,” said True the Vote Founder and President Catherine Engelbrecht. “There is no question that were numerous voting irregularities in the November 3 elections in Wisconsin and True the Vote is seeking access to the data that will allow us to confirm to what extent illegal votes were counted and whether they impacted the final results of the election. All we want are the facts – regardless of the final outcome – so that we can determine where vulnerabilities in the election system exist and take steps to fix them. The right to vote is one of our most sacred civil rights as Americans. True the Vote is committed to preserving those rights and ensuring the integrity of all elections.”

If the study of voter rolls reveals sufficient actual illegal votes that place in doubt the presidential election results, the voters would seek to overturn the results in the counties where that evidence exists, because those illegal votes dilute the lawful votes, which is a violation of the voting rights of Wisconsin’s legitimate voters and a violation of the equal protection clause.

Leading True the Vote’s litigation efforts is True the Vote’s General Counsel James Bopp, Jr., who played a key role in the Bush v. Gore case and successfully brought Citizens United v. FEC.

The voters represented in the litigation provide personal testimony of suspicious and possibly illegal election activity that would justify this investigation, including:

  • One voter went to her polling place to vote in person. When she arrived and attempted to sign in and obtain a ballot, poll worker told her that she had already requested an absentee ballot by mail. However, the voter had never requested an absentee ballot, and therefore requested a ballot to vote in person. When she told the poll worker that she had not requested an absentee ballot and wanted to vote in person, the worker replied “That’s OK” and gave her a ballot.
  • The same voter’s daughter once started the process to register to vote online, but decided not to upload her identification, so never completed the online process and never requested an absentee ballot by mail. However, the daughter later received an absentee ballot by mail anyway.
  • One election supervisor in the Village of Menomonee Falls was asked many times by poll workers if a voter who had been issued an absentee ballot was allowed to vote in-person when the ballot’s signature box is printed “Absentee Issued.” She advised the workers that the voter could vote in person as long as the voter had not returned the absentee ballot. Through the day, at least 10 of those voters stated to the effect, “I didn’t even ask for this ballot.” The election supervisor and workers asked those voters to tear the absentee ballots before voting in person. The voters did so and gave the torn ballots to the workers to include with election materials.
  • One vote canvasser in Prescott, Wisconsin, working on behalf of the Susan B. Anthony List, was told by a resident that the resident had received 10 ballots in the mail from the WEC, even though he did not request them. He stated that his neighbors had also received 10 ballots without requesting them.
  • Two Wisconsin voters Eau Claire received instructions from the WEC by mail advising how to request ballots and vote by mail. They did not respond and did not request ballots from WEC, either by mail or online. However, each received a ballot from the WEC personally addressed to them. They destroyed the ballots and voted in person.
  • A college student in North Dakota, registered to vote in Wisconsin, requested to be mailed an absentee ballot so that she could vote by mail. She received instructions from WEC to submit ID. However, before returning the request and submitting ID, she received a ballot by mail and never did submit the ID. She destroyed the ballot and returned to Wisconsin to vote in person.

The suit requests that the Court expedite discovery of poll lists and other key information necessary to conduct the investigation and, if the investigation results in sufficient illegal votes being documented, take action before the December 8, 2020 deadline for the state to certify the results of the presidential election. The acceptance of unlawful ballots by election officials in any of these three counties would draw into question the veracity of Biden’s lead.

True the Vote has also filed litigation on behalf of voters in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Georgia to conduct similar investigations and will continue pursuing all legal avenues to ensure that voters voices are heard and election inconsistencies and malfeasance are thoroughly analyzed and investigated to see if it resulted in sufficient actual illegal votes to invalidate the election.

The following is a timeline of key dates surrounding final certification of elections and vote of the Electoral College, prior to Inauguration Day:

  • Dec. 8: “Safe Harbor” – date by which states must certify results and assign electors. If an election is in dispute, state legislatures may assign electors.
  • Dec. 14: Electors meet in their states to cast votes for the president and Vice President.
  • Jan. 3: New Congress is sworn in; 117th session starts.
  • Jan. 6: Electoral votes are counted in House chamber by members of House and Senate; if neither candidate has 270 electoral college votes, the election is in dispute.
  • Jan. 20: Inauguration Day – new president takes oath of office. In a disputed election, the House will appoint the president and Senate will choose the Vice President.

# # #

True the Vote (TTV) is an IRS-designated 501(c)3 voters’ rights organization, founded to inspire and equip volunteers for involvement at every stage of our electoral process. TTV empowers organizations and individuals across the nation to actively protect the rights of legitimate voters, regardless of their political party affiliation. For more information, please visit www.truethevote.org.

Georgia Voters Believe There is Sufficient Suspicion of Illegal Voting, Warranting Thorough Investigation

11/14/2020 HOUSTON, Texas – True the Vote, as part of its “Validate the Vote” initiative filed a lawsuit in Georgia on behalf of four legally registered voters in order to conduct a thorough investigation of the actual illegal votes in Georgia. The lawsuit names the members of Boards of Elections and Registrations for eight counties along with Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger as defendants.

“The election inconsistencies displayed in Georgia deserve a thorough investigation in order to ensure that the voting rights of legal voters in the Peach State are defended,” said True the Vote Founder and President Catherine Engelbrecht. “The events surrounding Georgia’s elections are a disgraceful representation of the election system in the United States. Our litigation seeks to follow the law, to find the facts, and to discover the vulnerabilities that exist in order to do a thorough investigation of voter rolls to determine if actual illegal votes were cast and to ensure fair results of the most recent presidential election.”

As a result of the credible suspicion of illegal election activity in Georgia, the lawsuit demands that election officials produce poll lists and other key information so that the voters’ experts can analyze who voted, using sophisticated data analytics, to determine if actual illegal votes were cast, and how many.

The lawsuit seeks to investigate eight Georgia counties – Chatham, DeKalb, Fulton, Clayton, Gwinnett, Cobb, Richmond, and Henry. If the study of voter rolls reveals sufficient actual illegal votes that place in doubt the presidential election results, they would seek to overturn the results in the counties where that evidence exists, because those illegal votes dilute the lawful votes, which is a violation of the voting rights of Georgia’s legitimate voters and a violation of the equal protection clause.

Leading True the Vote’s litigation efforts is True the Vote’s General Counsel James Bopp, Jr., who played a key role in the Bush v. Gore case and successfully brought Citizens United v. FEC.

The voters represented in the litigation provide personal testimony of suspicious and possibly illegal election activity that would justify this investigation, including:

  • An absentee ballot requested and submitted in voter’s name although he voted in person and did not use an absentee ballot.
  • A voter told she had early voted when she had not done so, then given an absentee ballot to fill out and submit, but never received confirmation the issue was resolved.
  • A voter in the military who requested, but never received his absentee ballot
  • A voter whose mother received a ballot in the mail addressed to someone she knew to be deceased and who lived in Florida prior to her death.
  • Additionally, the lawsuit alleges voting machine glitches, election officials tabulating votes in secret after telling poll watchers they were done counting ballots for the night, and evidence that some counties’ voter registration lists exceed 100 percent of the eligible voters in that county. Prior to Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger announcing a hand recount of the presidential results, Joe Biden was leading President Donald Trump by less than 13,000 votes or .2 percent of the total.

The suit requests that the Court expedite discovery of poll lists and other key information necessary to conduct the investigation and, if the investigation results in sufficient illegal votes being documented, take action before the December 8, 2020 deadline for the state to certify the results of the presidential election. The acceptance of unlawful ballots by election officials in any of these eight counties would draw into question the veracity of Biden’s lead.

True the Vote has also filed litigation on behalf of voters in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsini to conduct similar investigations and will continue pursuing all legal avenues to ensure that voters voices are heard and election inconsistencies and malfeasance are thoroughly analyzed and investigated to see if it resulted in sufficient actual illegal votes to invalidate the election.

The following is a timeline of key dates surrounding final certification of elections and vote of the Electoral College, prior to Inauguration Day:

Dec. 8: “Safe Harbor” – date by which states must certify results and assign electors. If an election is in dispute, state legislatures may assign electors.

Dec. 14: Electors meet in their states to cast votes for the president and Vice President.

Jan. 3: New Congress is sworn in; 117th session starts.

Jan. 6: Electoral votes are counted in House chamber by members of House and Senate; if neither candidate has 270 electoral college votes, the election is in dispute.

Jan. 20: Inauguration Day – new president takes oath of office. In a disputed election, the House will appoint the president and Senate will choose the Vice President.

# # #

True the Vote (TTV) is an IRS-designated 501(c)3 voters’ rights organization, founded to inspire and equip volunteers for involvement at every stage of our electoral process. TTV empowers organizations and individuals across the nation to actively protect the rights of legitimate voters, regardless of their political party affiliation. For more information, please visit www.truethevote.org.

Represents Michigan voters in litigation seeking full investigation into voting irregularities that diluted legal votes and possibly influenced outcome of the election

11/13/2020 Houston, Texas–True the Vote, on behalf of four Michigan voters, has filed a federal lawsuit against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and county officials in Wayne, Washtenaw, and Ingham Counties to contest illegal ballots that were counted in the recent elections. The lawsuit alleges that evidence exists to cast sufficient doubt on the current results of the Presidential election in Michigan and seeks to invalidate the presidential election results in counties where illegal ballots and ballot-counting were so widespread that the overall results cannot be trusted.
“One of the most fundamental rights that we as Americans possess is the right to vote. It is a critical part of our freedom of speech, yet we are seeing that basic freedom silenced in states all across the country that refuse to implement adequately fair and secure elections – Michigan being one of the worst offenders. Every illegal vote that is counted dilutes the voting rights of law-abiding American citizens, and jeopardizes Americans’ trust in their electoral process. Enough is enough. True the Vote is taking a stand on behalf of Michiganders – and all Americans – to stop bad actors who are stripping away citizens’ most basic rights by refusing to secure our election process. We will take proper action to put an end to it.”
The lawsuit states that there exists sufficient evidence to doubt the results of the November 3 presidential election, including issues with transparency, fraudulent changing of dates, a software glitch, clerical errors, illegal votes – including dead people and felons, excluded poll watchers, vote dumps, backdated ballots, and many other issues and irregularities.
“The irregularities of the vote count in Michigan are overwhelming and widespread,” said True the Vote legal counsel James Bopp, Jr. of The Bopp Law Firm, PC. “It is our desire to ensure that these reports are thoroughly investigated to better determine the impact of maleficent and erroneous activity that could call into question the entire result of the presidential election in Michigan. True the Vote’s lawsuit will ensure that legal voters have their voices heard and their votes counted.”
A sampling of the evidence presented in the lawsuit includes:

  •  A credentialed poll challenger was excluded from the absentee counting process, contrary to Michigan law. Additionally, it is alleged that absentee counting boards conducted counts without inspectors from each party being present and that challengers were denied access to video of ballot boxes, contrary to Michigan law.
  • Election officials in Wayne County refused to permit statutorily designated challengers to observe the conduct of the election and the processing of ballots. This included being denied meaningful opportunity to observe the counts; denial of access to the facility; denial of re-entry; lack of replacement of Republican challengers; social distancing enforced in a partisan manner; blocking by election officials; being forced to observe at unreasonable distances; windows being covered to prevent viewing; and intimidation, threatening, and harassment by election officials. Election officials also ignored and disregarded valid challenges.
  • Challengers were prohibited from observing the ballot duplication process, which were only performed by Democrats.
  • Officials counted ineligible ballots, including those being repeatedly run through tabulation machines, mismatched ballots being counted, illegal addition of voters into poll books, counting of ballots with no voter record, ballots counted without signature or postmark, ballots counted that all contained the same signature, ballots being “corrected” then counted, the counting of provisional ballots, officials changing ballots, harvested ballots being dropped off, counting of deceased voters, etc. Moreover, some election officials pre-dated ballots that were not eligible to be counted by altering the date the ballot was received.
  • Ballots were allowed to be dropped into unattended drop boxes, contrary to Michigan law.
  • Michigan postal workers were issued a directive to collect ballots, separate them, and hand stamp them with the previous day’s date. This directive was given on November 4, 2020, the day after the election. Michigan law requires that votes be received before the close of the polls on election day. This directive was an obvious attempt to circumvent Michigan law and count late votes. It is unclear how many illegal ballots were accepted and counted as a result of this scheme.
  • There have been reports that more than 10,000 people confirmed or suspected dead have returned their mail-in ballots to vote in Michigan.
  • GOP Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel detailed 131 affidavits and 2,800 incident reports documenting fraud and other irregularities in the election in Michigan. She also detailed reports from a whistleblower alleging: “being told by a supervisor to backdate ballots that came in after the legal deadline; witnessing poll workers encouraging voters to vote straight Democrat; and even poll workers going into the booths with voters.”
  • In Antrim County, a software glitch caused at least 6,000 ballots to be counted for Democrats that were actually cast for Republicans. Similar glitches could have affected many other Michigan counties, as it has been reported that 69 of Michigan’s 83 counties use the same software.
  • Wayne County uses the same software as Antrim and “tested only a single one of its vote tabulating machines before the election.”
  • Specifically, in Oakland County, it was initially reported that Adam Kochenderfer lost by a few hundred votes. However, after an error was found and fixed, Kochenderfer was found to have won by over 1,000 votes.
  • A Republican candidate for state legislature initially only received two votes, an error that was later corrected. Of particular note, the program that caused the error is used by at least 33 other Michigan counties.
  • There are also reports of multiple ballots being sent to a single address. Mark Springer, a Michigan resident, received seven mail-in ballot delivered to his mailbox.
  • Over 50 Michigan counties, including Wayne and Washtenaw, had “more registered voters than eligible voting-age citizens. Of particular relevance here, Wayne County registration rate was 107% and Washtenaw County was 113%. This alone raises suspicion of the accuracy and validity of the election.
  • Complainants, represented by the Great Lakes Justice Center, summarized the following issues:
    • Defendants systematically processed and counted ballots from voters whose name failed to appear in either the Qualified Voter File (QVF) or in the supplemental sheets. When a voter’s name could not be found, the election worker assigned the ballot to a random name already in the QVF to a person who had not voted.
    • Defendants instructed election workers to not verify signatures on absentee ballots, to backdate absentee ballots, and to process such ballots regardless of their validity. After election officials announced the last absentee ballots had been received, another batch of unsecured and unsealed ballots, without envelopes, arrived in trays at the TCF Center. There were tens of thousands of these absentee ballots, and apparently every ballot was counted and attributed only to Democratic candidates. Defendants instructed election workers to process ballots that appeared after the election deadline and to falsely report that those ballots had been received prior to November 3, 2020 deadline.
    • Defendants systematically used false information to process ballots, such as using incorrect or false birthdays. Many times, the election workers inserted new names into the QVF after the election and recorded these new voters as having a birthdate of 1/1/1900.
    • On a daily basis leading up to the election, City of Detroit election workers and employees coached voters to vote for Joe Biden and the Democrat party. These workers and employees encouraged voters to do a straight Democrat ballot. These election workers and employees went over to the voting booths with voters in order to watch them vote and coach them for whom to vote.
    • Unsecured ballots arrived at the TCF Center loading garage, not in sealed ballot boxes, without any chain of custody, and without envelopes. Defendant election officials and workers refused to record challenges to their processes and removed challengers from the site if they politely voiced a challenge.
    • After poll challengers started discovering the fraud taking place at the TCF Center, Defendant election officials and workers locked credentialed challengers out of the counting room so they could not observe the process, during which time tens of thousands of ballots were processed.
    • Defendant election officials and workers allowed ballots to be duplicated by hand without allowing poll challengers to check if the duplication was accurate. In fact, election officials and workers repeatedly obstructed poll challengers from observing. Defendants permitted thousands of ballots to be filled out by hand and duplicated on site without oversight from poll challengers.

Finally, the lawsuit calls for action to be taken quickly, in plenty of time before the December 8 election certification deadline.
Following is a timeline of key dates surrounding final certification of elections and vote of the Electoral College, prior to Inauguration Day:

  • December 8: “Safe Harbor” – date by which states must certify results and assign electors. If an election is in dispute, state legislatures may assign electors.
  • December 14: Electors meet in their states to cast votes for the president and Vice President.
  • January 3: New Congress is sworn in; 117th session starts.
  • January 6: Electoral votes are counted in House chamber by members of House and Senate; if neither candidate has 270 electoral college votes, the election is in dispute.
  • January 20: Inauguration Day – new president takes oath of office. In a disputed election, the House will appoint the president and Senate will choose the Vice President.
    # # #

True the Vote (TTV) is an IRS-designated 501(c)3 voters’ rights organization, founded to inspire and equip volunteers for involvement at every stage of our electoral process. TTV empowers organizations and individuals across the nation to actively protect the rights of legitimate voters, regardless of their political party affiliation. For more information, please visit www.truethevote.org.

True the Vote Submits Public Record Requests to Government Agencies to Verify Legal vs. Illegal Ballots; Ensure Only Legal Votes are Counted in Final Vote Tally

11/11/20 Houston, Texas–True the Vote, as part of its “Validate the Vote” initiative, today submitted public record requests with the Michigan Department of State, Michigan Department of Corrections, and Wayne, Washtenaw, and Ingham counties requesting data that will determine potential illegal votes that were cast and counted in the most recent election.

“Despite media outlets having called the elections in Michigan, the fact remains that the ballot counting process was rife with credible complaints of maleficence, mismanagement, and potentially illegal action,” said True the Vote founder and president Catherine Engelbrecht. “True the Vote is an organization committed to election integrity, to ensuring that every single legal vote cast is counted, and that illegal votes are not counted. Given the widespread problems with mail-in ballots and legitimate complaints throughout the ballot-counting process, we believe it is critical to ensure that before the Michigan elections are certified on December 8, all due diligence is carried out to nullify any illegal votes and guarantee that every legal ballot submitted on or before Election Day is counted. Regardless of the outcome or ultimate victor of this process, we have a basic obligation to follow the law and uphold the tenet of our Constitution that guarantees the right to vote to every law-abiding American citizen.”

Under Michigan’s public records law, True the Vote requested documents including:

· Poll books
· Voter registration lists
· Records of mail-in, absentee, provisional, and limited ballots
· Driver license and state ID records
· Information about voters contacted to “cure” rejected ballots
· Citizen complaints pertaining to election integrity

Government bodies are required by law to respond no later than five days after the request, though they may also obtain a 10-day extension.

“Despite reports that Vice President Joe Biden has already ‘won’ the election, there is credible evidence of widespread malfeasance in Michigan and elsewhere that could have led to a substantial number of illegal votes,” said True the Vote legal counsel James Bopp, Jr. of The Bopp Law Firm, PC. “Every vote in the impacted states should be verified to ensure that Americans get the President they actually chose. Regardless of the outcome, the results of the 2020 election should not be decided until known irregularities have been fully addressed. True the Vote’s investigation will shed needed light on active threats to the integrity of our elections.”

Following is a timeline of key dates surrounding this contested election:
· December 8: “Safe Harbor” – date by which states must certify results and assign electors. If an election is in dispute, state legislatures may assign electors.
· December 14: Electors meet in their states to cast votes for the president and Vice President.
· January 3: New Congress is sworn in; 117th session starts.
· January 6: Electoral votes are counted in House chamber by members of House and Senate; if neither candidate has 270 electoral college votes, the election is in dispute.
· January 20: Inauguration Day – new president takes oath of office. In a disputed election, the House will appoint the president and Senate will choose the Vice President.

# # #

True the Vote (TTV) is an IRS-designated 501(c)3 voters’ rights organization, founded to inspire and equip volunteers for involvement at every stage of our electoral process. TTV empowers organizations and individuals across the nation to actively protect the rights of legitimate voters, regardless of their political party affiliation. For more information, please visit www.truethevote.org.

Today, True the Vote asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reaffirm that state legislatures have the constitutional authority and expertise to balance election access and integrity concerns, so their statutes must control federal elections.

True the Vote’s friend-of-the-court brief was filed in Wise v. Circosta, Case No. 20A71. The case involves the deadline for receipt of mail in ballots. Though the legislature recently revised their election law to adjust the law for COVID-19 concerns, the legislature did not extend the deadline, which required mail in ballots to be received by election day. The North Carolina election board, however, illegally ordered election official to count ballots received up to 6 days later.

The Fourth Circuit appellate court en banc upheld the extension of the absentee-ballot-receipt deadline by the North Carolina election board even though they acknowledged that it was illegal under North Carolina election law. An important three-judge dissent said the failure to follow the constitutional mandate that state legislatures control such laws “incentivizes an avalanche of partisan and destabilizing litigation duly enacted by state legislatures.”

True the Vote highlighted that this case presents a unique opportunity to abate the chaotic flood of near-election litigation inundating this Court and our Republic as a result of a well-funded nation-wide litigation effort by Democrats to strike down many of the anti-fraud provisions in current election laws and to sow chaos in voting procedures so that after the election the Democrats can have lawyers and judges determine the outcome of the election, rather than voters. True the Vote asked the Court to provide guidance regarding the flawed constitutional analysis employed by lower courts struggling to deal with current and future near-election changes in election laws by state officials and courts.

True the Vote noted that 411 cases have been filed involving COVID-19 claims in elections and this litigation flood will continue to overwhelm the courts if the Supreme Court doesn’t reaffirm that only legislatures have the authority and expertise to balance election access with election-integrity concerns, such as ballot fraud and a sudden flood of mailed ballots.

True the Vote said the Court should reemphasize the primacy of long-standing legislative enactments and that its tests and guiding principles protect them. And it should make clear that near-election changes in state election laws by state officials or courts, overturning long-standing legislative enactments, should not be allowed. This reemphasis will reassert what the Constitution requires, abate the litigation flood, and restore confidence in elections.

James Bopp, Jr., of The Bopp Law Firm, PC, General Counsel for True the Vote, says: “Without a definitive ruling from the Supreme Court, making clear that under the U.S. Constitution only legislatures have the authority and expertise to prescribe how an election is to be conducted, courts will continue to be inundated and overwhelmed by election lawsuits. The U.S. Supreme Court must take this opportunity to reemphasize the constitutional mandate that only long-standing, legislatively enacted laws govern elections, not last-minute illegal changes by state bureaucrats and state courts. Doing so will stop the flood of lawsuits and restore the confidence of voters in the integrity of our elections.”

The Amicus Brief is available here.

Today, Montana voters, candidates, and a local Republican party (collectively “Voters”), who sued Montana Governor Bullock’s Directive setting aside key provisions of Montana’s election law and, thereby, letting Montana counties to choose “mail ballot” voting the November 3 general election, asked the U.S. Supreme Court to enjoin the mail balloting schemes and to order that mail ballots not be sent out on October 9, when Montana counties plan to send them.

Montana already has no-excuse “absentee ballots,” which any qualified voter can obtain by a simple application. And in-person voting is already being done for early voting in compliance with the safeguards in the Montana Governor’s own COVID-19 Phase 2 reopening order. So there was no COVID-19 emergency to justify the Governor invoking of any emergency powers to suspend Montana state election law and to authorize mail balloting. The Governor is a candidate for U.S. Senate in the November election.

“Mail ballots,” which are sent to all registered voters automatically without application, pose a heightened risk of ballot fraud and lost, tardy or disqualified ballots due to the sudden flood of mail ballots. And while Montana election law allows mail ballot in some local elections, it expressly bans them for federal, general elections as is happening on November 3.

Voters challenged Bullock’s Directive on four grounds. (1) It violates the U.S. Constitution’s requirement that state election laws and procedures be adopted by the legislature, not the governor, (2) It creates a substantial risk that Voters will have their votes diluted by fraudulent votes, violating their right to vote. (3) It creates a substantial risk that Voters voting by absentee ballots will have late or lost ballots, violating their right to vote. (4) It violates the equal-protection rights of voters in counties not participating in the mail-ballot scheme, because voters in mail-ballot counties have enhanced voting power overall, in violation of Bush v. Gore.

Voters also point out to the Court that nearly 350 cases have already been filed, and many more are expected before and after the election, by the Democrat Party, and their liberal allies, claiming that COVID-19 justifies setting aside numerous anti-fraud provisions of state election laws. This litigation flood is likely to overwhelm the courts and the Supreme Court if the Supreme Court doesn’t clearly and immediately reaffirm that only legislatures, not state officials or the courts, have the authority under the Constitution to adopt election laws by balancing election access with election-integrity concerns, such as ballot fraud and a sudden flood of mailed ballots. Voters ask the Court to explain that long-standing state election laws should not be overturned by state officials or state courts on the eve of an election, as Governor Bulluck’s Directive does.

Catherine Engelbrecht, President of True the Vote, which helped bring the lawsuit, says: “The Democrat Party and Democrat state officials, such as Governor and Senate candidate Bullock, are spearheading a nationwide effort to overturn state election laws that prevent fraud and abuse and to design new election procedures that they think favor their election. True the Vote and our allies are on the front lines to fight for election integrity and preserve state election laws.”

James Bopp, Jr., of The Bopp Law Firm, PC, lead counsel for the Voters and General Counsel for True the Vote, says: “Montana already had no-excuse ‘absentee ballots,’ and in-person voting is already being conducted safely under the Governor’s own reopening guidelines. So there was no COVID-19 problem with voting, no need to flood the state with ‘unsolicited ‘mail ballots,’ and no emergency to trigger the Governor’s emergency powers to set aside state laws.”

Bopp continued: “Under the U.S. Constitution, the Legislature, not a Governor, has the authority to prescribe how an election is to be conducted, and the Montana Legislature banned unsolicited mail ballots in general elections, which the Governor has set aside. The Directive opens Montana up to election fraud and the chaos of mail-in voting evidenced already across the country.”

Finally, Bopp said: “The U.S. Supreme Court needs to immediately step in to reaffirm the constitutional mandate that only long-standing, legislatively enacted laws govern elections. Otherwise, we will continue to suffer this chaotic flood of litigation which will deprive Voters of their right to vote by diluting their votes or by them not being count at all.”

The application to the U.S. Supreme Court is available here.

HOUSTON, Texas – True the Vote this week took action representing several Montana voters, two state office candidates, and a local Republican Party (collectively “Voters”) in a lawsuit filed against Montana Governor Steve Bullock’s order allowing counties to choose all-mail elections for the November 3 general election.

Catherine Engelbrecht, founder and president of True the Vote, said, “Democratic government officials and candidates, such as Governor Bullock, are spearheading a national effort by the left to dispense with any notion of fairness in elections. By authorizing an all-mail election two months before election day, Governor Bullock has invited more voter disenfranchisement and election fraud into the process and blatantly disregarded the rights of Montana voters to push through his own political agenda to run for U.S. Senate. True the Vote and our allies are on the front lines as we fight on behalf of all voters to preserve election integrity and to uphold state election laws in Montana and nationwide.”

James Bopp, Jr., of The Bopp Law Firm, PC, lead counsel for the voters and General Counsel for True the Vote, said, “There was no need for Governor Bullock’s all-mail-election order because in-person and absentee-ballot voting were already compliant with the Governor’s own order reopening Montana. The Governor has no authority to override the legislature’s balancing of election access and integrity. His order violates the right to vote of Montana voters by opening Montana up to election fraud and the chaos of mail-in voting evidenced already across the country.”

The Governor claims emergency laws and COVID-19 allow him to displace the legislature’s ban on such elections. However, his own Phase 2 order reopening Montana permits voting in-person with social distancing precautions among other measures. Additionally, Montana offers no-excuse absentee balloting by simple request for those with special needs. Therefore, an in-person election with absentee ballots was already fully compliant with the Governor’s Phase 2 order, and no emergency justifies the all-mail election allowed by Governor Bullock, who also happens to be a candidate for U.S. Senate in the November election.

The voters challenged Bullock’s order on four grounds.

  1. They argued that the Governor’s order violates the U.S. Constitution’s requirement that state elections involving federal candidates be done as the legislature, not the governor, prescribes. No emergency authority overrides that constitutional requirement.
  2. The voters argued a violation of their right to vote based on the fact that all-mail elections create a substantial likelihood of illegal votes being counted, which dilutes legitimate votes.
  3. The voters argued a violation of their right to vote because the flood of votes caused by all-mail elections creates a substantial risk that votes will be lost or tardy and so not counted.
  4. The voters argued that in counties that choose all-mail voting, the voting power of county voters would be enhanced over that of voters in counties that decline all-mail voting, violating the right to vote and equal protection of voters in non-mail-vote counties.

True the Vote commended the Trump campaign’s lawsuit in Montana last week on behalf of his campaign, the RNC, and the Montana Republican Party. The True the Vote case today is different in two ways: (1) True the Vote is representing voters and state candidates as Plaintiffs, and (2) the True the Vote case makes additional claims for violation of the right to vote by direct disenfranchisement of voters caused by the universal mail-in balloting and by the failure to have uniform statewide voting standards as required by Bush v. Gore. The True the Vote case is expected to be consolidated with the Trump campaign’s case.

The complaint is available here and the preliminary injunction memo is here.

True the Vote continues to take action in states across the country to preserve election integrity in the 2020 election and has already initiated lawsuits in Michigan, Nevada, Virginia, New Mexico, and now, Montana. As the country’s largest voters’ rights and election integrity organization, True the Vote has been on the front lines of election fraud prevention since its founding in 2009.

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True the Vote (TTV) is an IRS-designated 501(c)3 voters’ rights organization, founded to inspire and equip volunteers for involvement at every stage of our electoral process. TTV empowers organizations and individuals across the nation to actively protect the rights of legitimate voters, regardless of their political party affiliation. For more information, please visit www.truethevote.org.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Sues a Chicago Mortgage Company Alleging “Redlining” Violations Based on Political Speech and Social Commentary Broadcast on Conservative Radio Station.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), the controversial brainchild of Senator Elizabeth Warren, filed suit in Chicago Wednesday against Townstone Financial, a small mortgage company, charging “redlining” violations based on political speech and social commentary broadcast on a conservative radio station. The Complaint alleges that statements made about crime in Chicago and support for police discouraged African-Americans from applying to their company and that the fact that their weekly radio show was broadcast on a conservative talk radio station discriminated against African-Americans.

James Bopp, Jr. of The Bopp Law Firm of Terre Haute, Indiana and co-counsel for Townstone, said that “The CFPB is using this case to drive all banking and mortgage companies away from advertising on conservative talk radio and to punish mainstream conservative political speech and social commentary. The CFPB has long been controversial and just lost a case in the United States Supreme Court for being improperly structured. They have been waiting years to file a case on the eve of a Presidential election to damage conservative voices. This is another federal agency weaponized to attack conservatives that needs to be stopped.”

I. What This Case is Really About

The CFPB’s Director Kathy Kraninger has taken the unprecedented step of filing suit against a small three-person business, accusing it of discrimination based on its political speech about the crime rate and other societal problems in Chicago and in support of police in Chicago. The case is based entirely on the facts that: (1) Townstone advertised primarily on Chicago’s AM 560 “The Answer,” a Salem media radio station; and (2) its owner and staff engaged in speech with which the left disagrees. Essentially, Director Kraninger is saying in this lawsuit that financial institutions are engaging in unlawful discrimination if they advertise too much on conservative media, or if their owners, executives, or staff express conservative political viewpoints such as statements in support of the police. This is the next step in the left’s “cancel culture.” They are now using the enforcement powers of the federal government to attack the free speech that they do not want you to hear.

Significantly, this case will have chilling effects on free speech leading up to the November presidential election for those in the financial services industry. This is especially true as the presidential race shifts to a focus on law and order, as this case basically makes it a fair lending violation to make statements about the crime rate in Chicago and in support of the police. To avoid fair lending risk, financial institutions and their owners and executives will have to curb their conservative political speech and advertising in conservative media or at a minimum give “equal time” to advertising on liberal media outlets. The CFPB is engaging in an outrageous trampling on the First Amendment.

Regardless of the content of the political speech, whether it is liberal or conservative, neither the political speech of a financial services company or its owners or executives, nor the political leanings of the media outlets on which a financial services company advertises should be the basis of a fair-lending allegation by the CFPB or any other agency.

II. Facts

The CFPB began this investigation in June 2017. The CFPB referred the matter to the Housing & Civil Enforcement Section of the Department of Justice (DOJ). The DOJ declined to pursue any enforcement action and recently closed out its investigation in this matter. Now, almost one year later, the CFPB has filed suit.

Townstone is based in Chicago, Illinois, and advertised on a one-hour weekly radio show on a politically conservative AM talk radio station in Chicago, Illinois (AM 560 “The Answer”). In addition, Townstone has advertised on another conservative AM talk radio station in Chicago (WLS AM 890, a Cumulus Media radio station), as well as other AM talk radio stations (WGN AM 720, a Nexstar Broadcasting radio station, and WSCR AM 670 “The Score,” a Entercom Communications radio station). Townstone was a six-employee mortgage lender until 2018. Between 2014 and 2017, Townstone averaged only about $177 million in loan volume per year. Because of a difficult mortgage market at the time, Townstone downsized to become a mortgage broker in 2018 and now only has two employees.

III. The CFPB’s Lawsuit Casts Townstone in an Egregiously Inaccurate Light

The CFPB alleges that Townstone did not reach out to minority areas of Chicago. However, Townstone decided to advertise on AM radio specifically to reach as broad a geographic area as possible. It is widely known that AM radio’s signal strength is better than FM radio, and these AM radio stations’ coverage maps reach as far as neighboring states. As a result, there cannot be a legitimate claim of actual, physical “redlining.” Further, these radio stations broadcast professional sports, which has a broad demographic that Townstone intended to reach. Townstone advertised on AM radio to reach as many listeners from as many backgrounds as possible.

Townstone has made active efforts to reach minority, including African American, audiences in the past. Prior to focusing on an all-AM radio strategy, Townstone previously advertised on two FM radio stations in 2014, including one in Chicago that played popular music and one that played hip-hop music to a predominately African American audience in Hammond, Indiana. In addition, in part because Townstone employed Arabic and Chinese speakers, Townstone advertised in Arabic and Chinese language newspapers. Further, contrary to CFPB’s allegations in the complaint, Townstone has employed an African American loan processor in the past as well as other minority employees, including Hispanic loan officers and Asian employees.

Townstone has been in business since July 2002 and has not received any fair lending complaints in its entire history 18-year history. And of the hundreds of thousands of Townstone’s emails and other documents, the CFPB has not cited one with any racial slurs or other potentially offensive terminology in its Complaint.

Townstone is outraged by the inaccurate and defamatory allegations made by the CFPB because Townstone is dedicated to helping each and every consumer obtain the dream of homeownership, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or gender. While most other small lenders work primarily from referrals from real estate brokerages and agents, Townstone advertised directly to the public and provided free information in its radio program because it wanted to help consumers. The public can see this for themselves by doing their next loan with Townstone.

IV. Townstone’s Advertising on AM 560 and its Podcast

  •  Townstone conducted a one-hour radio show on AM 560 “The Answer” on Saturday mornings during the time period mentioned in the lawsuit. The show was hosted by the owner of Townstone and the company’s two loan officers at the time.
    • The radio show provided a mix of political discussion and discussion of the real estate and mortgage markets, including occasional guest speakers from these industries.
    • Townstone also took questions and provided answers to callers during the show.
    • The political discussion included discussion of recent events occurring in the world or issues facing the Chicago community, such as the problem with violence in the city of Chicago.
    • Because the owner and the loan officers on the radio show and podcast have different political viewpoints, the show presents a mix of different political viewpoints.
  • Townstone also still conducts a weekly podcast that provides a similar mix of political and real estate/mortgage discussion.
  • The radio and podcast comments cited in the CFPB’s lawsuit are taken out of the context of a larger discussion, and do not reflect Townstone’s radio and podcast. Townstone used the radio show and podcast to reach a wide geographic area and generate as many listeners as possible from all walks of life. In doing so, Townstone discussed current events that were happening during the week of those episodes, in addition to discussion of mortgage-related topics.
    • The comments cited by the CFPB represent less than .1% of Townstone’s total radio and podcast programming. Imagine someone taking a few sentences you uttered a few years ago out of context, and out of hundreds of hours of programming, to sue you under federal law, because they disagree with your conservative political viewpoints.
    • Further, the comments are fact-based, citing facts about societal problems in the South Side of Chicago area with violence and the lack of adequate grocery stores.
  • Jungle Jewel. It is well-known that people in Chicago called the grocery store referenced in the complaint “Jungle Jewel.” See http://theginaspot.com/?m=20121201 for a blog post from an African American blogger about the store.
  • Hoodlum Weekend. The “hoodlum weekend” comment was simply referring to a term that Chicago police officers had used. In addition, the word “hoodlum” is not an inherently racial term, as the CFPB alleges. The word “hoodlum” is defined as “a violent person, especially one who is member of a group of criminals.” See https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/hoodlum. The word “hoodlum” is often used in normal discourse and not as a proxy for an African American.
  • Regarding the “war zone” comment: it is a well-known fact – recognized by people from across the political spectrum – that the South Side of Chicago has a high crime rate. Chicago’s South Side has often been described as a “war zone” by many people who are working to quell violence on the South Side. NBC News interviewed Deborah Gorman-Smith, Dean at the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration and Director of the Chicago Center for Youth Violence Prevention about growing up on the South Side of Chicago and she stated, “it’s like navigating through a war zone.” https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/they-re-soldiers-chicago-s-children-are-learning-save-lives-n1018196. President Trump has also repeatedly described Chicago’s violence as worse than Afghanistan, an actual war zone.
  • Statements in support of our police are not discriminatory.
  • Skydiving. We simply do not see how this statement is at all offensive. The South Side of Chicago has a high crime rate, a factual statement that cannot be refuted. Walking at night in a high crime area is dangerous. Skydiving similarly is dangerous. In fact, Townstone believes anyone who has lived in any urban area, not only the South Side of Chicago, would understand the concern with, or warn friends and relatives from walking around in the middle of the night, regardless of the racial demographics of the area.
  • Confederate Flag. This was a statement by Townstone’s former co-owner, who left the company in June 2015. The comment is about “taking down” a Confederate flag, not putting one up. It is not discriminatory to talk about taking down a Confederate flag.
  • Markham. This was also a statement by Townstone’s former co-owner, who left the company in June 2015. As noted above, if an area has a high crime rate, that is a fact. Discussing facts and how one should stay safe in an area of high crime cannot be the basis of a fair lending violation.
  • Women having lower credit scores is a societal problem that has been found by studies by reputable organizations, including a Credit Sesame study in 2016. The discussion of a societal problem cannot be the basis of a fair lending violation. These issues are discussed in this blog post. https://www.creditsesame.com/blog/mortgage/the-womans-guide-to-buying-a-home/ Reputable news organizations have also reported on this study and this societal problem. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/get-there/wp/2016/02/17/how-being-a-woman-can-ding-your-credit-score/
  • The CFPB is struggling so hard to find evidence of discrimination that it has reached back over five years to quote two statements made by a former owner, and not by anyone currently at Townstone.

V. Research Shows No Discrimination by Townstone

  • Consumer Testing of the Clips Cited by CFPB Shows No African American Participants Offended
    • Townstone’s counsel engaged an outside firm to conduct consumer testing of the audio clips from the Townstone radio program and podcasts that the CFPB had cited as problematic in its investigation. The goal was to gauge the reactions of African American testing participants from the South Side of Chicago and explore if there was any perception of discrimination from particular content of Townstone’s radio show and podcasts.
    • The CFPB is basing its case on how the CFPB’s Enforcement attorneys assigned to the matter believe African American consumers in Chicago should react to such statements. Townstone’s consumer testing shows how African American consumers from Chicago actually reacted after they listened to such statements.
    • Townstone’s counsel engaged Kleimann Communication Group, Inc., a research and consumer testing firm that the CFPB and many other federal agencies have used to support their rulemakings (the CFPB used Kleimann for its largest rulemaking, the TRID rule)
  • The consumer testing found that:
    • No participant commented on the radio show or podcast as discriminatory.
    • Most participants were willing to consider Townstone for a mortgage of their own. In fact, two participants asked for the name of the company, because they wanted to apply to Townstone.
    • Most participants stated that they would suggest their friends and family consider Townstone if they needed a mortgage.
  • HMDA Peer Analysis Shows Townstone is Not an Outlier
    • Townstone’s counsel also engaged a nationally-renowned compliance and fair lending consulting firm, CrossCheck Compliance LLC, to provide an analysis of public Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data to compare Townstone’s level of applications from African American majority areas of Chicago to its “peers,” to determine whether Townstone was an outlier in its level of applications from African American majority areas of Chicago.
    • Chicago-based CrossCheck Compliance LLC found that Townstone was not an outlier compared to its “peer” institutions.

*****

Townstone is represented by Richard Horn of Garris Horn LLP, Sean Burke of Mattingly Burke Cohen & Biederman LLP, Marx Sterbcow of The Sterbcow Law Group LLC, and James Bopp, Jr. of The Bopp Law Firm.

For more information, please contact James Bopp, Jr. at jboppjr@aol.com

The Bopp Law Firm, PC
National Building
1 South 6th Street
Terre Haute, IN 47807-3510

PRESS RELEASE
July 6, 2020
Contact: James Bopp, Jr.
Cell Phone 812/243-0825; Phone 812/232-2434; Fax 812/235-3685; jboppjr@aol.com

Supreme Court Upholds “Faithful Elector” Laws

Supreme Court Upholds “Faithful Elector” Laws

Today, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Colorado’s “faithful elector” law as constitutional. Colorado, like several other states, has adopted a faithful elector law, which provides a mechanism to ensure that Presidential Electors vote in accordance with the popular vote in the state. The Colorado law was passed to prevent the chaos that would ensue if a faithless elector changed the outcome of a presidential election by casting a vote contrary to the popular vote in her state.

In 2016, a Colorado Presidential Elector attempted to cast his ballot for John Kasich, instead of Hillary Clinton, who had won Colorado’s popular vote in the 2016 presidential election. This “faithless” Presidential Elector was removed under Colorado’s faithless elector law and his replacement voted for Hillary Clinton. He later filed suit in federal court to challenge the constitutionality of Colorado’s law.

The Court today upheld the Colorado law in a per curiam decision based on its decision, also today, that the State of Washington could penalize a Presidential Elector who violated his pledge to vote for the Presidential candidate who won the vote and thus voted contrary to the will of the people. The Court held that the Constitution authorizes states to appoint their Electors in the “manner” the state legislature directs. The Court reasoned that this broad authority is supported by both federal statute and case precedent, which supports the principle that the states are free to regulate electors until their ballot is formally cast and that an elector does not have absolute freedom to choose the candidate of her individual choice, if pledged otherwise under state law.

The Uniform Law Commission (ULC) had filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in support of the Colorado law, authored by The Bopp Law Firm.  The ULC has approved the Uniform Faithful Presidential Electors Act (UFPEA), which operates just like the Colorado law upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The ULC amicus brief emphasized the constitutional and statutory framework that supports both the Colorado law and its own similar uniform law, the UFPEA. The ULC also highlighted the public policy arguments supporting these laws. First among these is the states’ interests in bolstering individual political empowerment by laws requiring the execution of the will of the people’s votes in each state. Security is another vital public interest supporting these laws — federalism and the decentralization of presidential elections, by virtue of broad state control over the process, protects our presidential election system from interference. 

James Bopp, Jr. of The Bopp Law Firm, PC, a ULC Commissioner and a member of the ULC Drafting Committee that drafted the UFPEA and lead counsel for amicus curie ULC, says: “We are pleased by the Court’s recognition of bedrock principles concerning federalism. Today’s decision confirms that the power to regulate and protect the presidential election process in this nation is best left to the states. It is critical that the voters can trust that the will of the majority of voters in the state will be carried out when the Electors cast their ballots for President. If a faithless elector actually determined the outcome of a presidential election that was contrary to the will of the people, our republic would suffer a constitutional crisis the likes of which we have never seen before. The states’ critical role in our democracy has again been protected by the Supreme Court.”

The ULC is made up of approximately 425 Commissioners, appointed by state governments, representing each state, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The ULC’s purpose is to provide non-partisan, well-conceived, and well-drafted legislation that brings clarity and stability to critical areas of state statutory law. The ULC drafts and approves “uniform laws” dealing with a wide variety of legal issues, which individual states can then enact, either in full or as modified.

The case is Chiafalo v. Washington, upon which Colorado Department of State v. Baca is based, and it is available here. The ULC amicus curiae brief is available here at www.bopplaw.com.

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