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Why Did This Left-Wing Elections Group Send An Iraqi Refugee A Voter Registration Form?

Iraqi refugee and Michigan resident Mohammed Saadi Khudhair Al-Ani received a voter registration form from the Voter Participation Center.

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Iraqi refugee Mohammed Saadi Khudhair Al-Ani did not have an easy life prior to coming to the United States in 2019.

As a toddler, he was trapped in a house fire and suffered extensive burn injuries to his face, head, and upper body. His father, who served as a covert interpreter for U.S. Marines stationed in the region, was taken from him at an early age after he was kidnapped and tortured to death by al Qaeda terrorists.

Al-Ani’s luck took a turn for the better in 2008, however, when he came into contact with Army National Guardsman David Howell, who, after returning to the states in November, began laying the groundwork to bring Al-Ani back to the U.S. to receive medical treatment for his injuries. Howell told The Federalist he ultimately secured a visa for Al-Ani, returned to Iraq as a civilian in spring 2009, and brought Al-Ani back to America, where he remained for the next year undergoing numerous reconstructive plastic surgeries via the Michigan State University Department of Surgery.

Al-Ani returned to his family in Iraq, where he lived for the next nine years. He told The Federalist that after fleeing to Turkey due to the emergence of ISIS, he was able to legally come to the U.S. again in August 2019 thanks to efforts by Howell and Rep. Tim Walberg, R-Mich. Now 27 years old, Al-Ani — who provided The Federalist with a copy of his green card — legally resides in Lansing, Michigan and has since received a high school diploma and is currently enrolled at Lansing Community College.

While eligible to apply for American citizenship in June, Al-Ani is a green card holder, and therefore, not authorized to vote in U.S. elections. Given this fact, he was baffled when he received a voter registration form in his mailbox late last month.

“I’m a refugee and don’t really know anything about voting and all that stuff,” Al-Ani told The Federalist.

You’ve Got Mail

Documents provided to The Federalist show the form Al-Ani received was sent by the Voter Participation Center (VPC), a left-wing nonprofit that seeks to register Democrat-favorable demographics to vote. On the mailing envelope, the group lists its return address as that of Lansing’s Charles E. Chamberlain Federal Building and U.S. Post Office, which houses tenets such as the Federal Highway Administration.

Al-Ani said he has never engaged with VPC or any other voter registration groups.

Included in the mailing is a notice instructing recipients how they can register to vote using the provided form. It also contained a QR code individuals can scan with their phone or tablet and takes them to the Michigan Department of State’s voter registration portal.

“According to our review of publicly available records, someone at this address might not be registered to vote,” the mailing reads. Al-Ani said he has resided at his current address for “a little over a year” and lives alone.

The aforementioned notice also included a message from VPC CEO Tom Lopach informing recipients that VPC has “already filled in some of your information on the enclosed [registration] form.” A copy of the registration form shows that this “information” includes the recipient’s city, state, and zip code.

Lopach also noted how “[t]here may be an April 16th Special Election in your District” and that the “deadline to mail your registration form in order to vote in that election” is April 1. This appears to be in reference to two special state House elections that will determine control of Michigan’s lower chamber. Both races will take place on April 16 in areas encompassing Detroit — not Lansing.

In addition to the information pre-completed by VPC, the Michigan Voter Registration Application and Change of Address Form enclosed in the group’s mailing asks recipients to check a box clarifying if they are a U.S. citizen and notes in bold: “If you are not a U.S. citizen DO NOT complete this form.” The second page of the form includes further instructions and requirements applicants must abide by when completing the document.

The last document enclosed in the VPC mailing is a pre-paid postage envelope with the recipient’s return address already filled out. The envelope is addressed to the Lansing City Clerk’s office.

When asked by The Federalist why VPC is sending mailers to foreign nationals who are ineligible to vote in U.S. elections and what process it employs when going through voter data to avoid doing so, CEO Tom Lopach said “VPC takes our mailing-list process seriously and we’re constantly refining it to ensure accuracy.”

“With the help of industry-leading vendors, we use the best technology available to ensure that our mail recipients are both eligible to vote and unregistered at their current address,” he added.

Loach also told The Federalist “we encourage all mail recipients to check their current voter-registration status and to ensure that they are eligible to legally vote.”

How VPC Aids the Democrat Election Machine

The Voter Participation Center is far from an obscure nonprofit. In fact, it’s a central component of leftists’ well-funded election machine that aims to accrue Democrats a ballot advantage over Republicans ahead of Election Day.

While federal law prohibits 501(c)(3) organizations from engaging in partisan voter registration, left-wing nonprofits such as VPC target demographics likely to vote for Democrats. According to InfluenceWatch, VPC “runs a direct-mail program that targets ‘unmarried women, minorities and millennials’ with voter registration mailings and phone calls.” Critics have described the group’s efforts as “imprecise, misleading, ineffective, and potentially illegal.”

Meanwhile, Lopach is a “longtime Democratic political operative” who “has ties with the Kennedy family” and previously began “his career working as a fundraiser for Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA),” according to InfluenceWatch. In addition to leading VPC, Lopach is also the CEO of the Center for Voter Information (CVI), VPC’s “sister” organization that helps conduct partisan get-out-the-vote operations.

In March 2023, Restoration of America published a twopart report detailing VPC and CVI’s GOTV efforts in recent elections. As The Federalist previously reported, “Figures cited in the report estimate VPC and CVI sent out approximately 85.5 million mailers in 32 states in the months leading up to the 2022 midterms,” with contested states such as Georgia and Pennsylvania “among those the report estimates were ‘hit hardest.'”

The organizations’ role in juicing votes for Democrats was also noticeable in the 2020 election, with Restoration of America estimating VPC’s registration-by-mail campaign purportedly netted an additional 272,443 votes. Most of these votes (214,000) allegedly came from key battleground states such as Georgia, Michigan, Arizona, and others.

VPC and CVI’s efforts have attracted the attention of wealthy Democrat donors and political action committees. In 2019, Mind the Gap — a Democrat super PAC founded by the mother of disgraced former FTX CEO and Democrat mega-donor Sam Bankman-Fried — issued a memo encouraging wealthy leftist donors to give their money to nonprofits focused on voter registration (such as VPC and CVI).

Mind the Gap claimed this strategy, if focused on Democrat-leaning so-called “underrepresented groups,” could be “2 to 5 times more cost-effective at netting additional Democratic votes than the tactics that campaigns will invest in (chiefly, broadcast media and digital buys).” In other words, Democrat PACs are telling donors to spend on “nonpartisan” 501(c)(3) groups to boost Democrats’ electoral prospects.

GOP Election Officials Sound the Alarm

It’s not just Democrat PACs who have noticed VPC and CVI’s massive GOTV efforts, however. In recent weeks, leading Republican election officials have raised concerns about the groups’ expansive and, as documented above, unsecure voter registration activities.

Last month, Alabama Secretary of State Wes Allen issued a press release warning citizens “of a misleading, unsolicited mass mailing of pre-filled voter registration forms targeting Alabama mailboxes.” Allen specifically noted how VPC representatives contacted his office “on two occasions” to inform him of its plans to send mailers to Alabama residents. Despite Allen “strongly discourag[ing]” such activities, VPC seemingly sent the mailings anyway.

“This type of targeted, partisan interference by out-of-state, third-party organizations is unnecessary, confusing, and counterproductive,” Allen said.

GOP Secretaries of State Michael Watson of Mississippi and Nancy Landry of Louisiana have also issued statements warning their voters about VPC mailers.

VPC has since responded to Allen and Watson’s statements, claiming the former “grossly mischaracterized” its work, which it maintained is “non-partisan.” The group further contended it and CVI will be distributing “more than 138,000 pieces of mail” in Alabama and “more than 100,000” in Mississippi encouraging residents to register to vote.


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