Pigpen Project Targeted in NYT Hit Piece on Voter File Clean-ups

(Chuck Muth) – Today, the New York Times published an article attacking efforts across the country to clean up voter files headlined, “Trump’s Allies Ramp Up Campaign Targeting Voter Rolls.”

It starts off with this…

“A network of right-wing activists and allies of Donald J. Trump is quietly challenging thousands of voter registrations in critical presidential battleground states, an all-but-unnoticed effort that could have an impact in a close or contentious election.

“Calling themselves election investigators, the activists have pressed local officials in Michigan, Nevada and Georgia to drop voters from the rolls en masse. They have at times targeted Democratic areas, relying on new data programs and novel legal theories to justify their push.”

At the end of the article, the reporters referenced our Pigpen Project but got a number of important things wrong.  So I wanted to bring these inaccuracies to your attention…

1.)  “In Nevada, the Pigpen Project has set out to clean the voter rolls. Two longtime conservative activists, Chuck Muth and Dan Burdish, have organized door-to-door canvassing and enlisted landlords to compare voter rolls with their leasing records.”

We didn’t “enlist” landlords.  Some of them learned of our project and came to us.  They asked if we could help with the problem of ballots piling up in their mail rooms for people who no longer lived there.

This is a legitimate concern and problem we’re trying to fix.

One apartment owner and I met with Clark County election officials months ago to try to figure out how to address that problem within the requirements and constraints of election law, but haven’t nailed down a solution yet.

Nevertheless, how is that something nefarious?  If the registered voter no longer lives where they’re registered to vote, how does it make sense to keep mailing them a ballot where they won’t receive it…or worse, could be picked up by someone other than the voter?

A spokeswoman for Clark County told the NYT that we did, indeed, submit a test list of names of voters who the landlord said no longer live in their apartment.  That list, in and of itself, was deemed to be insufficient “evidence” to change the voter’s status but was, in fact, “enough for the election department to do research and investigate.”

2.)  “The Pigpen Project…uses a platform based on data from VoteRef.com, a database that has been criticized by election officials as unreliable.”

This is 100% false.

When I read that, I didn’t even know what “VoteRef.com” was.  So I checked with our team.  And no, we absolutely do NOT use their data.

The data we’re working with is the most current, official voter file as provided by the Clark County Registrar of Voters office, as well as the official “National Change of Address” (NCOA) file provided by the U.S. Postal Service.

3.)  “On a video call in November, Mr. Burdish displayed a map of Clark County…that was littered with blue dots supposedly identifying residences with problematic voters.  In the video, Mr. Burdish said his volunteers would be knocking on those doors and describing themselves as part of a quasi-governmental effort, despite having no connection to Clark County.”

This is total horsesh*t.

We have NEVER described ourselves as a “quasi-governmental effort” and our volunteers are trained to not even suggest otherwise.

We are a completely separate non-profit organization that is simply working in communication with the election department to MAKE SURE everything we’re doing is legal, ethical, and according to the processes and procedures established and required by the Registrar of Voters.

Yes, our volunteers are knocking on doors.  We don’t just “assume” a data discrepancy is accurate.  We go right to the source and VERIFY our information before submitting it to the election department.

The fact that we’re operating within the law and communicating with the Registrar of Voters to make sure we’re doing everything correctly and legally is the RESPONSIBLE thing to do…and why we’ve been successful in our efforts while others, including the GOP, have come up with bupkis.

Contrary to popular opinion, the election officials we’ve communicated with have been nothing but professional and helpful.  When we have a question as to what to do and/or how to do it, they’ve guided us in the right direction to make sure everything we do is lawful and above board.

They want the same thing we want – the cleanest possible voter rolls – and don’t deserve the rap they get from some quarters on this issue.

And one final note…

We do NOT target suspicious voter registrations by party.  In fact, the walk lists we provide volunteers do NOT include the voter’s party registration.  And there’s a good reason for that…

It doesn’t matter which party the voter belongs to.  What matters is whose hands a loose ballot might fall into.  We don’t want ANY loose ballots floating around regardless of whether that ballot belongs to a Democrat, a Republican, or anything else.

To be fair, though, the NYT article DID get one thing right…

“Mr. Burdish and Mr. Muth did not respond to requests for comment.”

Gee, I wonder why?

The Pigpen Project is a project of Citizen Outreach Foundation, an IRS-approved 501(c)(3) grassroots organization founded in 1992.  Donations are tax-deductible for federal income tax purposes.

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