Other Group

Voter Reference Foundation

Website:

VoteRef.com

Location:

Downers Grove, Illinois

Fiscal Sponsor:

Restoration Action

Type:

Election Integrity Watchdog

Founded:

2021 [23]

Voter Reference Foundation is a right-of-center election integrity and transparency watchdog that monitors voting numbers and compares them to registered voter lists in states and precincts. [1] The VRF claims to have found discrepancies in every state for which it has obtained data, ranging from 42 more votes cast than registered voters in one state to more than 74,000 more votes cast than registered voters in another. [2]

Nevada elections officials criticized VRF’s methodology, arguing that it does not account for the legally directed erasure of individual voters’ participation histories when voters move or die following an election. [3] VRF founder Doug Truax argued that while the foundation’s methodology “doesn’t prove or disprove fraud,” reforms to the voter registration databases were needed to end “unacceptably imprecise record-keeping.” [4]

Background

The Voter Reference Foundation is an online database of state voting information, that has a goal of posting voting data from all 50 states in a searchable format. The project also brands itself by the name of its website, VoteRef.com. Restoration Action, a conservative-leaning lobbying and electoral advocacy organization, created the Voter Reference Foundation. [5]

The project claims to be an “unprecedented election transparency website” that “crowd-sources” errors on voter registration rolls. The foundation’s site allows users to search by name or address for registered voters and see a list of elections in which a person voted, as well as other election data obtained from official sources. [6]

Founder Doug Truax, a former unsuccessful Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Illinois, said of the site: “Now, for the first time, you can easily find out if that dead relative of yours has been voting since they passed away. You can find out if your own vote was counted. You can check how many ballots were cast from that apartment building down the street.” [7]

For each state, the foundation compares the number of voters reported on voter registration lists collected in early 2021 with the number of votes cast in a state in the 2020 election. [8]

The Voter Reference Foundation launched in August 2021 with voting data from Nevada and pledged to continue to add more states. [9]

By January 2022, VRF included data from 14 states with searchable data on statewide voter registration and a measure of voter participation. The additional states were Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. [10]

2020 Election Allegations

At its launch, the foundation claimed that 8,964 more people voted in the 2020 elections in Nevada than were registered to vote in the state. [11] Nevada Secretary of State Barbara K. Cegavske (R) responded that this is because, after the 2020 election, numerous voters canceled their registrations, died, or moved either out of state or to a different county and were deleted from state records. [12]

The Voter Reference Foundation went on to claim discrepancies, most notably claiming tens of thousands more votes were certified from the 2020 election than were registered to vote in the states of Michigan, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. [13] The project found discrepancies in every state on its database, ranging from 42 in North Carolina to 74,135 in Michigan. [14] [15]

Truax wrote, “This doesn’t prove or disprove fraud, but it does indicate unacceptably imprecise record-keeping.” [16]

Leadership

Doug Truax is the founder of Restoration Action, a conservative-leaning 501(c)(4) organization, that created the Voter Reference Foundation. Truax is an entrepreneur and a West Point graduate. [17] He was an unsuccessful 2014 U.S. Senate candidate in Illinois, losing in a Republican primary. [18] Truax wrote of VoteRef.com, “We are publishing official public records that had previously been buried in thousands of pages of spreadsheets and putting them on plain display.” [19] Truax previously wrote that the 2020 U.S. presidential race was “a Third World-style election” because of the massive expansion in mail-in voting, and called for sweeping election administration changes to prevent another similarly administered election from happening again. [20]

Gina Swoboda is the executive director of the Voter Reference Foundation. Swoboda was the director of elections for the 2020 Donald Trump presidential campaign in Arizona. [21] Swoboda previously worked in the election division of the Arizona Secretary of State’s office during two administrations. She also founded Arizona Election Integrity, a group that monitored elections. Swoboda said upon launching the Voter Reference Foundation that election data “might technically be accessible but the average citizen has no idea how to access it.” [22]

References

  1. Unprecedented election transparency website launches.” Voter Reference Foundation. August 5, 2021. Accessed January 21, 2022. https://voteref.com/press_releases/1-unprecedented-election-transparency-website-launches ^
  2.  Truax, Doug. “The Killer Reform Our Elections Need.” Real Clear Politics. January 20, 2022. Accessed January 22, 2022. https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2022/01/20/the_killer_reform_our_elections_need_147061.html ^
  3. Kennedy, W.J. “Nevada Secretary of State: Deleted voter records are to blame for 2020 vote tally discrepancies.” Silver State Times. August 9, 2021. Accessed January 22, 2022. https://silverstatetimes.com/stories/606516220-nevada-secretary-of-state-deleted-voter-records-are-to-blame-for-2020-vote-tally-discrepancies ^
  4.  Truax, Doug. “The Killer Reform Our Elections Need.” Real Clear Politics. January 20, 2022. Accessed January 22, 2022. https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2022/01/20/the_killer_reform_our_elections_need_147061.html ^
  5. “Unprecedented election transparency website launches.” Voter Reference Foundation. August 5, 2021. Accessed January 21, 2022. https://voteref.com/press_releases/1-unprecedented-election-transparency-website-launches ^
  6. “Unprecedented election transparency website launches.” Voter Reference Foundation. August 5, 2021. Accessed January 21, 2022. https://voteref.com/press_releases/1-unprecedented-election-transparency-website-launches ^
  7. Truax, Doug. “The Killer Reform Our Elections Need.” Real Clear Politics. January 20, 2022. Accessed January 22, 2022. https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2022/01/20/the_killer_reform_our_elections_need_147061.html ^
  8. “Unprecedented election transparency website launches.” Voter Reference Foundation. August 5, 2021. Accessed January 21, 2022. https://voteref.com/press_releases/1-unprecedented-election-transparency-website-launches ^
  9. “Unprecedented election transparency website launches.” Voter Reference Foundation. August 5, 2021. Accessed January 21, 2022. https://voteref.com/press_releases/1-unprecedented-election-transparency-website-launches ^
  10. VoteRef.com. Accessed January 21, 2022. https://voteref.com/ ^
  11. “Unprecedented election transparency website launches.” Voter Reference Foundation. August 5, 2021. Accessed January 21, 2022. https://voteref.com/press_releases/1-unprecedented-election-transparency-website-launches ^
  12. Kennedy, W.J. “Nevada Secretary of State: Deleted voter records are to blame for 2020 vote tally discrepancies.” Silver State Times. August 9, 2021. Accessed January 22, 2022. https://silverstatetimes.com/stories/606516220-nevada-secretary-of-state-deleted-voter-records-are-to-blame-for-2020-vote-tally-discrepancies ^
  13. Moran, Cooper. “Outside Organization Finds Discrepancies After Examining Michigan Voter Registration Lists, Calls for More Transparency.” Star News Network. December 7, 2021. Accessed January 22, 2022. https://thestarnewsnetwork.com/2021/12/07/outside-organization-finds-discrepancies-after-examining-michigan-voter-registration-lists-calls-for-more-transparency/ ^
  14. Truax, Doug. “The Killer Reform Our Elections Need.” Real Clear Politics. January 20, 2022. Accessed January 22, 2022. https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2022/01/20/the_killer_reform_our_elections_need_147061.html ^
  15. Moran, Cooper. “Outside Organization Finds Discrepancies After Examining Michigan Voter Registration Lists, Calls for More Transparency.” Star News Network. December 7, 2021. Accessed January 22, 2022. https://thestarnewsnetwork.com/2021/12/07/outside-organization-finds-discrepancies-after-examining-michigan-voter-registration-lists-calls-for-more-transparency/ ^
  16. Truax, Doug. “The Killer Reform Our Elections Need.” Real Clear Politics. January 20, 2022. Accessed January 22, 2022. https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2022/01/20/the_killer_reform_our_elections_need_147061.html ^
  17. Press Release. “Unprecedented election transparency website launches.” Voter Reference Foundation. August 5, 2021. Accessed January 21, 2022. https://voteref.com/press_releases/1-unprecedented-election-transparency-website-launches ^
  18. “Doug Truax” Ballotpedia. Accessed January 22, 2022. https://ballotpedia.org/Doug_Truax ^
  19. Truax, Doug. “The Killer Reform Our Elections Need.” Real Clear Politics. January 20, 2022. Accessed January 22, 2022. https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2022/01/20/the_killer_reform_our_elections_need_147061.html ^
  20. Truax, Doug. “Never Again! A 10-point plan to fix America’s shameful voting system.” American Greatness. December 14, 2020. Accessed January 22, 2022. https://amgreatness.com/2020/12/14/never-again/ ^
  21. Swift, Jim. “Fake News from Fake Sites to Guilt Real Voters to Go Vote.” The Bulwark. November 1, 2021. Accessed January 22, 2022. https://www.thebulwark.com/fake-news-from-fake-sites-to-guilt-real-voters-to-go-vote/ ^
  22. “Unprecedented election transparency website launches.” Voter Reference Foundation. August 5, 2021. Accessed January 21, 2022. https://voteref.com/press_releases/1-unprecedented-election-transparency-website-launches ^
  23. “Unprecedented election transparency website launches.” Voter Reference Foundation. August 5, 2021. Accessed January 21, 2022. https://voteref.com/press_releases/1-unprecedented-election-transparency-website-launches ^
  See an error? Let us know!