Free and fair elections are vital to the stability of our nation. Ideas have consequences and policy matters. Elections have consequences because elections drive policy. Compromised elections can have disastrous consequences. Transparency,...
Free and fair elections are vital to the stability of our nation. Ideas have consequences and policy matters. Elections have consequences because elections drive policy. Compromised elections can have disastrous consequences. Transparency, accountability, and accuracy are essential to ensuring every legally cast vote is counted and every illegally cast vote is dismissed. How can we protect the security of our election process and make sure votes are counted accurately and according to law? This episode is part two of an interview Linda conducted with guest, Cleta Mitchell, to discuss the need for election integrity and citizen engagement. Cleta chairs the non-partisan Election Integrity Network, a project of the Conservative Partnership Institute, and is host of the new podcast, Who’s Counting? She is a highly respected election law attorney and provides examples and resources for people who want to get involved in protecting the security of every vote. Be inspired by stories of citizens who decided that election irregularities would not happen on their watch and discover simple steps you can take to secure your vote and the votes of all American citizens. Take a step to protect your freedom. Listen today!
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Linda: Welcome. Thank you for tuning in to this episode of the Prosperity 101 Breakroom Economics podcast. My name is Linda J. Hansen, your host, and the author of Prosperity 101: Job Security Through Business Prosperity. The essential guide to understanding how policy affects your paycheck and the creator of the Breakroom Economics online course. The book, the course and the entire podcast library can be found on prosperity101.com. I seek to connect boardroom to breakroom and policy to paycheck by empowering and encouraging employers to educate employees about the public policy issues that affect their jobs. My goal is to help people understand the foundations of prosperity, the policies of prosperity, and how to protect their prosperity by becoming informed, involved, and impactful. I believe this will lead to greater employee loyalty, engagement and retention, and to an increased awareness of the blessings and responsibilities of living in a free society. Listen each week to hear from exciting guests and be sure to visit prosperity101.com.
Thank you for tuning in today. Today, I have a special guest. This is part two of a two part interview that is so relevant to our current society and everything we need to do and understand as American citizens. As I mentioned in the last episode, ideas have consequences and policy matters. Elections have consequence because elections drive policy. Elections must be conducted transparently, honestly and according to the constitution. Because elections have consequences and stolen or poorly run elections have catastrophic consequences. We're seeing this in our nation and we've seen it over history. And Cleta Mitchell is my guest today. This is part two of a fascinating interview with someone who is an expert in election integrity and is helping to drive the election integrity movement across America. And I welcome her back.
Cleta is the senior legal fellow at the Conservative Partnership Institute. She chairs the Election Integrity Network there. Cleta is an attorney, licensed in Oklahoma and the District of Columbia, who has practiced election campaign finance and political law for decades. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma and the University of Oklahoma College of Law. She is one of the founders and is chairman of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, along with J. Christian Adams and Hans von Spakovsky. The Public Interest Legal Foundation is the only conservative public interest law firm devoted solely to election integrity. Cleta has served as outside counsel to the NRCC, the NRSC, the National Rifle Association and dozens of GOP members of the House and Senate, as well as many local and state Republican party committees. She represents numerous conservative organizations and was one of the key attorneys who fought back against the Obama IRS during the targeting of tea party groups.
She was a volunteer attorney for the 2020 Trump legal team in Georgia. Cleta is admitted to practice before many federal district courts and the US Supreme Court. And I am honored to call Cleta my friend and fellow laborer in the cause of freedom. Welcome back to the podcast, Cleta. I'm so glad that you are joining with us for this part two of this important conversation because election integrity is critical to the future of our nation. And I'm thankful that we have this movement growing across the nation, largely due to your efforts so thank you. Welcome.
Cleta: Well, thank you so much, Linda. It's great to be with you.
Linda: Okay. Well, last episode, we talked about some of the irregularities that were seeing in the 2020 election and even as we moved up into the 2020 election. Some things that were in a sense put into place. However, I don't want to leave it there. I don't want to say, oh, this all went wrong. We want to say what can be done to fix it. I think everyone listening to this podcast is likely concerned about election integrity. They want to know that their vote matters and that legal votes will be counted and illegal votes will not be counted.
So with that in mind, I'd like to just have you give a brief recap of what we discussed in the last episode for anyone who may have missed it, please go back and listen, listeners so that you can hear in more detail. But also just a brief overview, but then really want to move forward into what can be done and what citizens can do, how they can be educated, how they can be active and how we can make sure that our elections are run fairly, freely, with full transparency and honesty to protect our Republic.
Cleta: Well, thank you, Linda. I think that what a lot of us have thought for a long time is, well, the election comes and goes and whoever is the election office that they're just going to run the office and they're going to administer the election in whatever way the legislature has set forth in the state law and that's the way the election's going to be managed. But I think what finally bubbled up and became very apparent in 2020 is that is not how it happened. And it had been building and building over the number of years where you had left-wing groups and the Democratic Party apparatus, which is really focused on trying to change the election system, change basic rules of election administration. And over the last 10 to 15 years have really upended the notion of election day, have upended the notion of voting in person, unless there's a real reason to vote by absentee or by mail, which has historically, always been the type of voting of choice of those who want to engage in election fraud.
And really just assuming that whatever laws the legislature has enacted for how the election's supposed to be carried out will just... They've increasingly just disregard that. Just pay no attention to those pesky little statutes that have been enacted by the duly elected representatives and senators of the state. And so, all of that happened in 2020 in spades. And in addition to that, we saw for the first time a flood, hundreds of millions of dollars that flooded the election offices. But not all election offices, targeted election offices in targeted states. And their targets were states and counties and municipalities where those were likely Democrat voters. And so, and the money, where did the hundreds of millions of dollars come from? One person, Mark Zuckerberg. I guess you can count his wife, he and his wife.
And they literally used a not for profit organization. Well, two not for profit organizations. They put 350 million into one organization, the Center for Tech and Civic Life and another 70 million into another one, the Center for Election Innovation and Research. And that money flowed to targeted counties, to jack up the democratic vote in those counties and elected... And that is how more than anything else and the data reflects it, that that is how they manage to win the electoral vote in Wisconsin and in Pennsylvania and Georgia among others. And so they put that money in a lot of states, it just didn't end up having the impact that it did in those states. But so what we've seen since then is I think a reaction by the American people saying, "Wait a minute. We don't think one billionaire, one left wing billionaire, who not only censored conservative opinion on Facebook, but who turns around and single handedly manipulates the voter turnout through a nonprofit that is supposed to have zero partisan campaign intervention."
And so you've seen legislatures this year, in 2021, come through and enact laws to prohibit private funding of election offices. I think that the legislatures need to take a step further and they need to basically say that election offices have one duty and one duty only. And that is to administer the elections in accordance with the law. It is not the job of the election office to generate turnout or to do any of those kinds of things that are the province of the candidates and the campaigns. But we have governors like the governor of Wisconsin and the governor of Pennsylvania, who vetoed the bills that would've prohibited this flood of private money into the election offices. So that is something that citizens can get engaged in is making sure that they find out what bills are being proposed to try to the problems of 2020 going forward. Because there have been good bills proposed in all kinds of states and some have been enacted and some have not, but we have more work to do.
Linda: Well, you bring up a really good point about it being in the states and the legislatures in the states. And I know in the last episode we talked about that, that constitutionally, these election laws are to be decided and administered really through the legislature. These laws are decided state by state, under the US constitution. And when the people outside of that legislature, whether it be the executive branch of state, the judicial branch of that state, or even just the county clerks who made decisions, while the election was happening, they made decisions to change how things were counted or how votes were accepted. All these things happened that went against election law at the time so that creates illegal votes. And people may be listening to this thinking, well, Mark Zuckerberg couldn't have done that, or there's not that much...
You know, there's not that many illegal votes or you guys are making this up. You're just partisan people who are making this up because you don't like Democrats or whatever. That is not it. I think everyone who's involved in election integrity, true election integrity would be fine if Democrats won, if Republicans won, if independence Libertarians, anybody won, as long as that is conducted legally with integrity and according to the US constitution and to the laws of that state. When we do not have that, we are ripe for problems and that's what we had in 2020. And that's why we have this election integrity movement that is happening and citizens are waking up. You mentioned the citizens in Virginia. They got together and said, not on our watch. And that's what I want everybody in America to be doing and saying, "Not on our watch. We're not going to let this Republic fall by those who want to change our system of government, they want to undermine the freedoms that we have and that we need to protect."
So tell us more about what you're doing to engage citizens, to educate citizens and tell us how they can get that information and what they can do in their own states, because everybody can do something. So listeners, you can do one thing, pick one thing that you can do because you can make a difference. So Cleta, how can they make a difference?
Cleta: Well, they can make an enormous difference. We have published on the Election Integrity Network website, a citizens guide to building an election integrity infrastructure. Just go to whoscounting.us, www.whoscounting.us and download that guide. And gather five or 10 people in your area and sit down and look at that guide together. Look at the things that can be done. Look, the number one thing, the very first thing you need to do is you need to start going to your election board meetings. You need to start going to election office, that's a public agency. And we've kind of looked at this as, well, we go there to vote, but we don't go there any other time. Well, guess who is there all the time? Guess who's there? It's the League of Women Voters and it's all these left wing groups and they've infiltrated those offices.
So the first thing is show up. Start learning. What does your election code say about how elections are to be conducted in your state, in your county? How does your local registrar or municipal clerk or whatever, whoever is the official charge with implementing and administering the election, how do they do that? And what election systems do you use? What kind of voting machines? What kind of voting equipment? What kind of protections are there to ensure that you have cyber security and that they can't be accessed by bad actors? And one of the things in the citizens guide that we outline are here in the components that you need. You need some task forces. But first task force you need is the group of people whose job it is just to go to the office and just be there and to start finding out what's going on.
Then you need a group of people who study what kind of election systems. I say, you need some people who are skilled in technology, who aren't intimidated by technology, because a lot of us are. Well, there are always people in your midst who are not intimidated by technology. And so I go through each of the areas of work that any task force needs and it's really, you can do seven to 10 people. But as you get into it, you will find out that there is more to do and there are more people who want to help, who want to do things. And the more people who will get involved and get engaged and say, "All right, we're going to get there." There will come a point where you will want to be able to start recruiting election officials, election officers, election judges, whatever it's called in your state.
I will tell you... I will bet you anything. If you live in a state, most states have a statutory requirement that the election officials need to be balanced evenly between Democrats and Republicans. I'll bet you any amount of money if you go in and start looking at the past elections, you will find that there are way more Democrats in those positions, even filling Republican positions. It has been true for decades in every state. And one of the things they did in Virginia was they got those lists and they started researching and they found out that they were outnumbered about three to one. And they, in those counties that had these electiontary task forces, they started chipping away at that. They found out that the independence, the documented, that the people who were there as unaffiliated were actually Democrats and they got the names of Republicans.
And they said, we need to substitute these Republicans for these independence, because they're really not independent. And so they got to almost parity. Well, guess what happens when you have election officials in the Democrat and Republicans are equal? They're watching each other. They're keeping accountability. And then you have observers who they recruited. In one county, Fairfax County, the biggest county, it's one seventh of the vote in Virginia. Historically, all kinds of problems happen in Fairfax County, usually in the middle of the night. But they had over 700 poll watchers, who had to fill these slots, starting in September, all the way through, not just election day but through Friday after the election. Because they were still doing ballot curing and provincial ballots and canvasing. But they had these people who were watching and reporting at the end of every day. Now they have a wealth of information because they had this election that came upon them rapidly in 2021.
They had over 80 people that they got plugged in as election officials. So I am telling you, we as citizens, this is our call to action, to reclaim our elections. And we have resources at the Election Integrity Network, the citizens guide, we're going to be publishing more guides, hope to do some summits and boot camps and video training to give people the tools that they need to take over their responsibilities and reassert themselves at their local election offices.
Linda: Well, that's really great information for people to go to and learn from. And I imagine the citizens guide where you are working with a conservative organization on this understood that the citizens guide is nonpartisan.
Cleta: That's nonpartisan. And I say that in and there's, I'm worried about political parties in the booklet. If Democrats want to get involved and have election integrity task forces, fine. That's fine too, because I don't, I want the election process to be absolutely devoid of partisanship. I want there to be no putting the thumb on the scale, not for the Democrats, not for the Republicans, not for anybody. That's why I want election offices to administer the elections, period. That's it. It's not their job to do anything else except to administer the election so that everybody gets to vote, who is eligible to vote, that nobody votes whose ineligible to vote, that everything is transparent. That's why you need to limit the number of early voting days so that people can legitimately have an ability to observe and watch what's going on. It's hard to do when you're doing it for 45 days. Just think how many people you have to get to [inaudible].
Linda: Exactly. Exactly. Well, I know after the election in 2020, I remember seeing things go out on the internet. Remember the Iraqi elections, where they dyed their fingers.
Cleta: That's right.
Linda: And it's like, Iraq more secure elections than we did because people could vote many times, they could vote in many locations. Things like same day voter registration. Especially, that does not require any voter ID. You know, that's something that has been pushed that voter ID is somehow discriminatory and it is not. It actually helps to secure legal votes. Ballot harvesting, where you mentioned in the last episode, two strangers going, picking up ballots. I mean, we don't know where they go. I know so many places around the country this time because of COVID had more drop boxes. And I feel like that is also a danger to election integrity. Who's handling the drop boxes? What's being put in those drop boxes?
Cleta: Who's watching them?
Linda: Who's watching.
Cleta: Who's watching the video tapes. They were supposed to be secured, they weren't secured. What are the chain of custody logs that show all of the steps that have to be taken when you have those drop boxes and states were adopting those. And there was no provision in the statute to even have drop boxes.
Linda: Right. Right. And these are the things that people don't realize. And you mentioned chain of custody, we didn't really discuss that in the last episode either. But for every election, there is a chain of custody for the ballots. And it means that there has to be integrity of the ballot handling and accountability for the ballot handling from start to finish. And this did not happen in 2020. We can see it over and over and over again in state upon state. I mean, I'm sure there were some areas that hopefully, were conducted properly and according to law, but there were so many that were not and we really need to tighten that up. And I brought up the fact that this election guide is nonpartisan because as you know, my podcast is focused on helping employers educate employees about the public policy issues that affect their jobs. And I truly believe that employers can play a big role in this election integrity movement if they just start talking about election integrity. Maybe they have a lunch and learn, and they share the citizens guide with their employees.
Cleta: That would be great.
Linda: Maybe they bring in a speaker, maybe they have a webinar with you or others. Maybe they bring people in from both sides of the fence and talk about the election laws in their states. But there's a lot of ways that employers could educate employees about the importance. And then too, I mean, maybe they'd be willing to give them some time off to serve as a poll watcher, to serve as an elected official. You know, it takes many hands to make light work. And our country was designed that the citizens would be in charge. So it is our duty, it is our call as citizens to protect our freedom here in America and constitution allows for that.
And we're not asking everyone to do what Cleta has done, give her life to these issues, or even what I've done being so involved in politics and policy. And I've been a poll watcher, it's a great way to spend a day, really. And you learn a lot. It can be fun. You make new friends, but honestly, you know you're making a difference because it is up to us, the citizens of the United States of America to protect our freedoms and to make sure that every legally cast vote is counted, that citizens are the only ones voting. And that, and I chuckle because a lot of people do not think that illegal citizens are having the opportunity to vote, but Cleta you and I know that they have. And so we need to protect that with citizens voting, abiding by the US constitution and the laws of each state and making sure that there is accountability at every level. So that whether people are voting in a nursing home, whether they're voting at their local precinct, whether they voting by mail, which some cases, they can vote absentee ballots.
But we need to make sure that every single vote is legally cast, legally counted, and every illegal vote is disregarded. And we need to help protect those who are fighting for this integrity and we all need to work so that this movement can really take root so that the future of America can be protected. So Cleta again, could you please give the information about your podcast and this citizens guide and how people can contact you.
Cleta: Well, if people are interested in participating in the Election Integrity Network and as I call it, the election integrity movement, I would invite you and welcome you to the website. We post articles about what's going on around the country, www.whoscounting.us. And then I have a weekly podcast in which I interview people who are experts and people who are citizens, who are involved in election integrity efforts in their home areas. And that podcast is Who's Counting with Cleta Mitchell. And again, you can get that. You can download it. I hope you'll subscribe.
Linda: It's great.
Cleta: So you get automatically the updates each week, but it's Who's Counting. Again, the website has everything whoscounting.us. And then I've got the citizens guide and we're going to be publishing some more citizens guides. We're going to be hopefully, able to produce some videos so that you can... They'll be bite sized.
And you can, you can look at, okay, I can do this. I mean, there are so many issues involved in our elections. And I know it seems daunting to people and they think, oh, I don't know anything about this, but honestly, when you hear the stories of people in Virginia and what they did. These are not people who have any expertise whatsoever in elections, but some of them have been poll watchers in the past, or maybe they served as an election official, but some have not ever done that. And what they did was they just worked with their neighbors and their friends and strangers in their counties and they've really breathed life into what you were describing, Linda. I mean, you're absolutely right. Our country was founded on the notion that we, the citizens, we, the people would manage all of these things. It was never... I don't think that our founding fathers ever envisioned that there would become this permanent class of government that would just sort of do all of these things and what we're seeing with the school boards and school issues.
And we're seeing with the elections, we are seeing that you cannot delegate all of this to the so-called experts. We are the ones who are supposed to be in charge of things. So I'm really urging and beseeching people to come on in, the water's fine. Let's retake these elections. And like I say, I don't want the thumb on the scale of the election process or the election system, by any partisan, Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, independent, I don't care. That election process is precious to the future of our republic. It has to be neutral, it has to be well managed, it has to be transparent. We have to be able to know the chain of custody of everything. It's not just the ballots. It's the voting machines, it's the fund drives, it's the drop boxes, whose had access to them. Everybody needs to have confidence that when that ballot is cast, it's going to be tabulate properly. There's not going to be any funny business.
They're not going to be any mismanagement. They're not going to be any, oh, I found some 30,000 ballots at 03:00 in the morning. We got to stop all that. We have to stop all that. And that's what the election integrity movement's all about. So I hope you'll come and join us.
Linda: Oh, well, that is great. And thank you for that. It's so motivating and inspirational. And I know that hopefully, listeners are across the country. And you know, if you're listening from a different country, other than the United States of America, we hope that your country will have election integrity and your votes can matter as well. So Cleta, thank you so much for your work.
Cleta: Thank you, Linda.
Linda: Thank you for giving your life to this and thank you for sharing time with us. I hope to have you back again, where we can update and show progress of citizens across the country. So thank you.
Cleta: I hope so too. Thank you, Linda.
Linda: Okay. Thank you again for listening to the Prosperity 101 podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe, share and leave a great review. Don't forget to visit prosperity101.com to access the entire podcast library. To order my newest book, Job Security Through Business Prosperity, the essential guide to understanding how policy affects your paycheck or to enroll you or your employee in the Breakroom Economics online course. You can also receive the free ebook, 10 tips for helping employees understand how public policy affects their paychecks. Freedom is never free. Understanding the foundations of prosperity and the policies of prosperity will help you to protect prosperity as you become informed, involved, and impactful. I give special thanks to our sponsors, Matthews Archery Incorporated and Wisconsin Stamping and Manufacturing. Please contact us today at prosperity101.com to let us know how we can serve you. Thank you.