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Ben Weingarten

Federalist Senior Contributor; Claremont Institute Fellow

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Democratic voter registration scheme gains momentum

Apr 9

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Over 158 million Americans voted in the 2020 elections, representing roughly two-thirds of all eligible U.S. voters. Despite this historic engagement, U.S. voter participation continues to lag behind that of similarly advanced democracies around the world.

Straight Arrow News contributor Ben Weingarten argues that in their efforts to mobilize more voters, various U.S. organizations, including public and non-profit groups, have effectively participated in a Democrat-led scheme. The scheme, Weingarten alleges, targets Democratic-leaning persons and places, and intentionally results in more registered Democratic voters than anything else.

Donald Trump faces a veritable lawfare barrage from Democrats, an effective information war from corporate media and Big Tech – save for Xand a whole slew of other challenges as he tries to take back the White House. Despite all that, in much of the national and battleground state polling, Trump continues to lead incumbent President Joe Biden in 2024.

To me, there’s an under-the-radar threat looming over these numbers that Republicans will have to overcome to prevail from top to bottom on the ticket. Democrats have developed something like a vertically-integrated voter registration and get-out-the-vote machine, one that seems unethical if not illegal in nature, that persists and appears to have proven decisive in 2020.

Now, it has the full backing of the federal government – funded with our tax dollars – in the form of so-called Bidenbucks. In March 2021, the president introduced Executive Order 14019. The directive on “promoting access to voting” orders every federal agency, more than 600 in all, to register and mobilize voters – particularly “people of color” and others the White House says face “challenges to exercise their fundamental right to vote.” It directs the agencies to collaborate with ostensibly non-partisan nonprofits in pursuit of its goals. The order is portrayed as noble and non-political, but the reality is different.

Donald Trump faces a veritable lawfare barrage from Democrats, an effective information war from corporate media and Big Tech – save for X, and a whole slew of other challenges as he tries to take back the White House.

 

Despite all that, in much of the national and battleground state polling, Trump continues to lead incumbent President Joe Biden in 2024.

 

To me, there’s an under-the-radar threat looming over these numbers that Republicans will have to overcome to prevail from top to bottom of the ticket.

 

Democrats have developed something like a vertically-integrated voter registration and get-out-the-vote machine – one that seems unethical if not illegal in nature – that persists and appears to have proven decisive in 2020.

 

Now it has the full backing of the federal government – funded with our tax dollars – in the form of so-called “Bidenbucks.”

 

In March 2021, the president introduced Executive Order 14019.

 

The directive on “promoting access to voting” orders every federal agency, more than 600 in all, to register and mobilize voters – particularly “people of color” and others the White House says face “challenges to exercise their fundamental right to vote.” It directs the agencies to collaborate with ostensibly non-partisan nonprofits in pursuit of its goals.

 

The order is portrayed as noble and non-political, but the reality is different.

 

It seems to have been designed by left-leaning think tank Demos and implemented in consultation and sometimes coordination with a slew of progressive, labor, and identity-focused groups with the goal of generating up to 3.5 million new or updated voter registrations annually.

 

And the demographics targeted – those interacting with government agencies – disproportionately tend to vote Democrat.

 

The administration has closely guarded almost everything about this directive.

 

We know however that there’s been efforts to drive voter registration via prisons, public housing authorities, child nutrition programs, voluntary tax preparation clinics, naturalization ceremonies, and on-campus via work-study funds.

 

Two dozen Pennsylvania state legislators challenged the order via lawsuit in January.

 

An amicus brief noted that among:

 

federal agencies…[the watchdog behind the brief] identified as taking active steps to carry out EO 14019 [they all] have one thing in common: They provide government welfare benefits and other services to groups of voters the vast majority of which have historically voted Democrat.

 

So in practice, this looks like a Democrat vote mobilization juggernaut sponsored by the Joe Biden White House – partisan electioneering using our tax dollars — violating myriad laws arguably prohibiting such the activity and reserving elections to the states.

 

That’s what the plaintiffs argued.

 

On March 26, a district court dismissed the case not on the merits, but on technical grounds – for lack of standing.

 

The plaintiffs reportedly intended to appeal their case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

Meanwhile, Democrats have another “electioneering super-weapon” in their arsenal, Capital Research Center analyst Parker Thayer told me.

 

That is the use of progressive-oriented 501(c)(3)s, charitable organizations, to engage in a sprawling campaign to register the voters, deliver them the ballots, and figuratively and sometimes literally harvest the Democrat votes necessary to defeat Donald Trump.

 

Analytically oriented and prominent Democrat Super PAC called these efforts in a leaked memo to donors in advance of the 2020 election “the most cost-effective investments to increase net Democrat votes in critical races” – 4 to 10 times more effective on an after-tax basis than digital campaigns or ad buys – and urged them to contribute accordingly.

 

Here’s the issue: These nonprofits, critics say, flout the law by registering and mobilizing demographics behind a veil of non-partisan democracy promotion that – like under the “Bidenbucks” plan – tend to vote disproportionately Democrat.

 

This could be illegal. The IRS permits charities to engage in voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives only if they neither “refer to any candidate or political party,” nor conduct their activities “in a biased manner that favors (or opposes) one or more candidates prohibited.”

 

That certainly seems to be happening.

 

Dozens of tax-exempt groups rake in upwards of $500 million annually as part of a universe of like-minded organizations in the space collectively generating well over $1 billion in revenues per year.

 

The 501c3s are particularly potent because they have unlocked a massive pool of funds. Billionaire-backed private foundations and donor-advised funds are prohibited from funding political activities. But they can and do contribute to the 501(c)(3)s that claim non-partisanship. Also, wealthy donors get the tax-deductibility of contributed to the charities, and with no limits on their contributions.

 

Leading groups in this space are explicit that they are seeking to close the “voter registration gap in communities of color,” and targeting a “New American Majority” of “young people, people of color, and unmarried women,” with evidence showing they target swing states, and again receive contributions at the urging of major Democrat Super PACs.

 

You’ll get no beef from conservatives about electioneering. The issue is when you do so arguably illegally, exploiting the tax code.

 

There is nothing remotely approximating this machine on the right, some speculate because of a chill among conservatives about potentially running afoul of an IRS that targeted the Tea Party under the Obama administration.

 

When you layer these efforts on top of left-leaning nonprofits’ efforts to fund and exert control over election offices and processes that are supposed to be non-partisan – i.e. Zuckbucks, which have been reprised in some states – Democrat lawfare and legislative action aimed at easing election laws to drive remote voting, ballot harvesting, and no ID requirements, you only increase the unease among millions of Americans that there is minimally the opportunity for fraud and corruption – for collecting ballots, potentially out of coercion, with limited chain-of-custody or ability to audit them – rather than earning votes.

 

If the GOP is to win in 2024, these are all factors they will have to overcome.

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