Tech

Inside the ‘Election Integrity App’ built to purge US voter rolls


Ten days ago Georgia’s Senate election in 2021, Gamaliel Warren Turner Sr., a 69-year-old veteran, discovered that someone in his county had challenged his eligibility to vote. Turner, a retired major in the U.S. Army, requested an absentee ballot, and when it didn’t arrive in the mail, he got worried and called the Muscogee County registrar’s office to find it. where. According to court records, a clerk informed Turner that his name was on a list of thousands of voters in the county being investigated.

“I went beyond anger. I was screaming,” Turner said. “I don’t know what the hell a voter challenge is. I just want to know, can I vote or not? “

Turner has lived in Georgia for most of his life and has voted there in most elections for the past 50 years. He owns a house there and the utility bills are in his name. He has a Georgia driver’s license that he uses to drive two of his cars, both registered in Muscogee County. But in 2019, his job required him to temporarily move to Camarillo, California. To avoid losing packages while on a temporary business trip, he did what millions of Americans do every year and informed the United States Postal Service (USPS) that he wanted his mail to be forwarded. a new address.

What Turner didn’t know at the time was that this simple announcement to the USPS would put him in a scheme dreamed up by a right-wing activist group called True the Vote that eventually challenged voter registration of 364,000 Georgians.

Best known for its work on widely publicized movie 2,000 mulesTrue the Vote has developed an algorithm that matches names in voter rolls with data held by the USPS about individuals who have changed addresses. The team’s goal is to actively destroy the voter rolls, on suspicion that incorrect registration leads to voter fraud, which is really rare United States.

Along with Turner, True the Vote sent the names of about 4,000 allegedly disqualified voters to the Republican leader in Muscogee County, Alton Russell, a toilet paper salesman who in turn sent them to the Society. county board of elections to challenge their voters to register. But the plan didn’t work: Most Georgia counties turned down True the Vote’s challenges, and Turner successfully sued the Muscogee County Board of Elections to ensure his vote would count in the contest. voting elections in 2021.

Undeterred, True the Vote has quietly deployed a web application called IV3 to replicate this process nationwide. The group claims that the browser-based app has led to challenging hundreds of thousands of voter registrations. However, few people know about IV3. The app does not work in most states and to gain access you need to provide True the Vote with a valid form of identification. But by analyzing the code IV3 used for its user interface, WIRED was able to piece together the tool’s functions. Our review shows that the app ultimately uses an ineffective and unreliable method to determine who should continue to work. Experts say the app weaponizes public data and is more likely to remove eligible voters from the list than it is to catch rampant fraud. does not exist in this country.

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