In what has become an escalating war of words between a longtime Democratic Congressman and a good-government advocacy group, True The Vote (TTV) on Monday accused Maryland Congressman Elijah Cummings of “defamation per se” based on remarks Cummings made on MSNBC; a presentation where he accused TTV of “illegal activities” and having “very strong evidence” TTV was coordinating efforts with the Republican Party. Cummings did not elaborate on his accusations or evidence in his brief segment, though.
Cummings’ witch hunt began last month when he wrote to TTV head Catherine Engelbrecht demanding an accounting of voter registration actions the group has embarked upon in Ohio, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and here in Maryland. In response, Engelbrecht offered to meet with Cummings to explain the actions but apparently was rebuffed – instead, Cummings chose to go on MSNBC with his wild, unverified claims. That television appearance led to the newest communication with Cummings from TTV attorney Brock Akers demanding a retraction of his MSNBC comments.
It’s interesting that Cummings, who according to his mouthpiece is “extensively involved in the presidential re-election efforts…and for Senator Cardin” had time to make up these accusations. But he doesn’t have time to meet with TTV – or, for that matter, debate GOP opponent Frank Mirabile either. Yet Cummings is trying to engage TTV with the sort of intimidation tactics that the voter integrity group is fighting against. His missive demanded a large amount of information at a time when TTV is most busy with training poll watchers and working to clear voter rolls of those who don’t belong there. Far from being an inconvenience, the idea behind having voters who were challenged on the rolls provide the proof they should be there is more like something which should be standard procedure – each time I’ve moved I’ve made sure to update my voter registration in a timely manner, so why can’t other people?
While those of us who are citizens of this great land have the right to vote (provided we are of age and not restricted by felony or other similar prohibition) we also have the right to not have our voice drowned out by fraudsters who exercise these rights but shouldn’t. The Democratic nominee for Congress here resigned her nomination for the crime of voting twice (once each in Maryland and Florida) while others who shouldn’t get to vote once because they’re not citizens are handed voter registration cards when they receive their driver’s license.
Yet using Maryland as an example, Election Integrity Maryland has simply looked for duplicate or non-existent addresses and those who they have verified have died. Just that cursory check has provided over 9,000 names which have been flagged. They’re also training additional eyes and ears at the ballot box, which obviously Cummings is afraid of.
But why? The answer to that may be self-evident.