For millions of Americans, the conduction of the 2020 general election continues to raise more questions than provide answers — and rightly so.
In unprecedented fashion, outside actors such as Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg attempted to exert influence on the electoral process by pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into left-wing nonprofits to infiltrate government elections offices and fund Democrat get-out-the-vote operations in key battleground states across the country.
To make matters much worse, Zuckerberg’s company, Facebook, alongside Twitter, took unilateral action to suppress The New York Post’s infamous Hunter Biden laptop story in the days leading up to the election at the behest of the FBI. Combined with the altering of state election laws through unconstitutional means, the behind-the-scenes shenanigans of the 2020 contest have resulted in many voters feeling uneasy about the security of America’s elections.
In spite of such distrust and confusion, however, one increasingly notable election integrity group is seeking to usher in a new era of transparency to election systems nationwide and help restore Americans’ trust in the electoral process. Known as the Voter Reference Foundation (VRF), the group aims to provide voters with critical information by ranking states based on how transparent they’re being with their data and overall election operations, such as the use of ballot drop boxes and private money in elections.
“If we’re going to have a democracy, we have to have accurate and confidence-inspiring elections,” VRF President Doug Truax told The Federalist. “That creates good self-governance, but you can’t govern [when] you can’t tell what’s going on in the election. … We have to have 100 percent transparency in the election system. That’s the only way we’re going to get out of this cycle we’re in.”
Ensuring that voters’ information, such as their current address, are up to date not only helps to prevent eligible voters from experiencing issues when casting their ballot, but it also helps promote effective election administration. In Clark County, Nevada, for instance, an estimated 92,000 ballots “were returned undeliverable to wrong or outdated addresses” in the 2020 general election after Democrat state officials passed legislation to automatically send mail-in ballots to every individual listed on the state’s “active” voter list.
At the heart of VRF’s election integrity efforts is VoteRef.com, a website launched in August 2021 dedicated to providing “public access to official government data pertaining to elections, including voter registration rolls, with a goal of encouraging greater voter participation in all fifty states.” According to Truax, one of the key objectives of VoteRef.com is for “every state [to] get perfect scores on their [VRF] scorecards” regarding their “data transparency” and election operations.
“We do want every state to put their information up online 24/7 and update it instantaneously,” he said. If “all 50 states and the District of Columbia [had] all their [voter roll data]” updated “in real time,” there’d be “no need for VoteRef.com because they would be doing it themselves. But that doesn’t exist at all.”
While VRF has successfully published the latest voter roll data from more than 30 states and Washington, D.C., the group hasn’t done so without backlash from both Democrat and Republican state officials. In July, VRF received a letter from the Virginia Department of Elections (ELECT) demanding that the group “immediately remove the Virginia voter list and any personal voter information from its website” or risk being charged with a Class 5 felony for “the crime of election fraud.”
The legal reasoning laid out in the letter from ELECT was based upon a law signed earlier this year by Gov. Glenn Youngkin, which prohibits recipients “of a list of registered voters from publishing on the Internet any of the information contained in such list as a list, database, or other similar searchable format or providing information contained in a list of registered voters to a third party for such purpose.”
In addition to Virginia, VRF has also faced legal threats from Democrat officials in New Mexico for publishing the state’s voter rolls to VoteRef.com. According to The Associated Press, “New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a Democrat, in March referred the matter [to] the attorney general’s office for possible prosecution of the Voter Reference Foundation, which published New Mexico registration records online at the time after obtaining them through an out-of-state business.”
Despite state Democrats’ best efforts to stymie VRF’s goal of bringing transparency to New Mexico voter rolls, a federal judge granted the election integrity group’s request for a preliminary injunction in late July that allowed for the publishing of election data on VoteRef.com.
“The judge’s order blocks prosecution while the case advances toward trial and said that the Voter Reference Foundation is likely to prevail in its claim as the victim of viewpoint discrimination by election regulators,” the AP report reads.
Among the other states currently being pressed to release key election information is Pennsylvania, where VRF recently filed a lawsuit against state election officials “to ensure citizens there can view public voter roll records.”
Filed in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania last month, the lawsuit alleges that “the Pennsylvania Department of State is violating VRF’s First Amendment rights and its rights under the National Voter Registration Act to allow the public to scrutinize voter records they pay for.”
“Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that Pennsylvania election authorities are arbitrarily blocking VRF’s access to the Pennsylvania list without statutory or constitutional authority to do so,” a VRF press release reads. “The election authorities are requiring VRF to sign a pledge not to publish the list on the internet in order to access it.”
According to Truax, VRF is also planning to file lawsuits against several states over election data transparency in the near future. Truax did not specify which states the lawsuits would entail, however.
“I don’t care what position you hold right now, this is this United States of America. We have a Constitution. You can’t just hide stuff that you don’t want out [and] that is public information,” said Truax. “It’s going to take some time, but legally they don’t have a leg to stand on. … The only way we’re going to get better … elections is more transparency, not less. People get that and the people arguing against that are definitely on the wrong side of history.”