Election conspiracists in Colorado who pioneered a field campaign that involves volunteers, some of whom are potentially armed, going door-to-door in search of phantom ballots, are now helping to export that tactic across the country, perhaps in as many as 30 states.
More accurately, volunteers for the U.S. Election Integrity Plan (USEIP) aren’t “looking for fraud” that they believe may have occurred, rather they are intent on “exposing fraud” they are convinced took place. Their certainty comes in large part from the man behind the pseudo-science underlying this conspiracy, Dr. Douglas Frank.
On Sept. 13, he explained the conspiracists’ reasoning and motivation for door-to-door canvassing to his followers on Telegram, which is currently the favorite social media platform of extremists and conspiracists who’ve been removed from mainstream platforms.
“I feel the need to reiterate an important aspect of the election integrity movement,” wrote Frank. “It’s not about evidence anymore. We already have *mountains* of evidence: mathematical, statistical, logistical, electronic, cyber, physical… affidavits out the wazoo.
Now, it’s about getting this evidence in front of the public’s eyes. Because our legislators don’t want to address this. Our legal system doesn’t want to address this. I think the best way to educate and motivate the public is by canvassing. Not only are we obtaining more evidence, but we are person-by-person exposing citizens to the fraud.
Join a team of canvassers! We are making large improvements in our canvassing strategies. These days, it is becoming more about *confirming* phantom voters than *finding* phantom voters.”
The two main points here are: “confirming phantom voters” and “person-by-person exposing citizens to the fraud.” Canvassers, wearing homemade badges identifying themselves with an official-sounding group such as the “Voter Integrity Committee,” are telling people election fraud was committed in their name or using their address, promoting a conspiracy that election officials and experts say simply isn’t true.
In Colorado, USEIP’s “Voter Verification” canvassing effort based on Frank’s debunked algorithm conspiracy began in Mesa County, led by Corey Anderson, a Three Percenter militia member and husband of Mesa County GOP First Vice Chair Jacqueline Anderson.
He also is in charge of security for the effort, a role he and other militia members played at a campaign event for Colorado Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert in December 2019.
Security is a common concern for USEIP’s volunteers. Screenshots from the group’s private organizing platform show that as part of coordinating a July canvass effort in Colorado Springs, El Paso County Captain Charity McPike mentioned they were attempting to “line up security,” but also asked armed participants to share their phone numbers with the rest of the group.
USEIP’s canvassing work here in Colorado led the Secretary of State to issue an advisory in early September informing Coloradans of their civil rights and suggesting options for appropriate responses to the canvassers in order to protect voters’ privacy.
In its “Election Analytics Guide” published last month, USEIP again raises the issue of volunteer canvassers needing “some sort of security help due to the nature of the precinct.”
Several USEIP members advocated for carrying firearms in their group’s internal “Basecamp” organizing platform during a discussion in March, immediately following the deadly grocery store shooting in Boulder.
At least one member noted that the impetus for getting his conceal carry permit wasn’t the shooting, but the “rigged election that brought this group together.”
Other members, including the group founder Ashley Epp, discussed their beliefs that the massacre was possibly staged or a “false flag” operation designed to create an excuse for new gun restrictions.
Epp and other members of this conspiracist group, which also has links to the QAnon conspiracy, are now vetting and training volunteers across the country.
The group has partnered with the Colorado GOP on local events and recently released its “County & Local Organizing Playbook.” The manual states that some of its early volunteers were sex criminals, but that it has since implemented a background check as part of its vetting process.
The group offers all its publications as well as additional resources to volunteers willing to join the group and undergo a background check, in part to prevent any more participants with “pedophilic leanings,” as USEIP stated it had trouble with early on.
In a Sept. 2 exchange on the USEIP website, Epp explains to commenter “dagneytaggert711,” who wants to start knocking doors in South Carolina, that they’re backlogged vetting new members but that resources for launching canvassing efforts are on the way.
That same day, the Andersons and Sherronna Bishop were meeting with the Mesa County Commissioners, District Attorney, and former Secretary of State Wayne Williams, whom the county hired to oversee the upcoming election due to the ongoing criminal investigation in Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters. Peters is currently under federal and local investigation for her role in the public release of Mesa County’s secure election data by QAnon blogger Ron Watkins. Her deputy clerk Belinda Knisley is already facing felony burglary and misdemeanor cybercrime charges.
Attempting to prove their claims that the election was fraudulent, Corey Anderson said their team of thirty or so volunteers “proved” Frank’s hypothesis by finding a “3-5% anomaly rate” of supposed “phantom voters.” He also said his team sharing the results of their canvassing operation with Peters prompted her to believe the conspiracy that the election had been rigged.
“We started bringing this stuff to Tina,” said Anderson. “And as we were bringing more and more stuff she was helping us investigate these things. That’s what I think moved her along as far as questioning [the election results].”
On Aug. 31 Frank told the Blessed2Teach podcast he’s running canvassing operations in 500 counties across 30 states, and he framed the effort as a means to “build a movement.”
“That’s my job,” said Frank. “I work with the teams and get the data. We analyze it together and make a game plan and we form teams of ‘supermoms’ and we start canvassing voters. Once we find the phantom voters and it guides us where to look- we find the fraud and that builds a movement in the state.”
Conspiracist volunteers are going to residences where they are convinced election fraud took place, either with or without the knowledge of the registered voter. Depending on the presumably positive or negative response of whoever answers, the volunteer is either awakening an innocent voter to the conspiracy or identifying a possible conspirator. They’re also taking photographs of voters’ home, ostensibly to document the residence for their “fraud” data.
Frank makes the eye-popping claim that volunteers are finding “phantom votes” at between a quarter and third of the residences they canvass.
“We can narrow it down so that about one in three or one in four doors you’ll find a phantom voter,” says Frank. “You go to a door and ask John Smith if he voted and he says “I never vote!” and you say “OK” but as you walk away you look [on your list of voter data] and he’s been voter well that’s a phantom vote! Cha-ching! Or you show up at a house and it’s got eight people registered there, but only two people live there- that’s six phantom ballots.”
Frank’s explanations exhibit either a fundamental misunderstanding or willful misrepresentation of voter registration data, which is routinely being updated with address changes, deceased voters, and name changes. And because the ability to cast a ballot is one of American citizens’ most fundamental rights, states (including Colorado) often err on the side leaving outdated information in the database rather than too little, so as not to prevent an eligible voter from participating in democracy. County clerks and their election staff conduct numerous checks to ensure that received ballots were cast by registered voters.
In addition to the door-knockers inspired by Frank’s conspiracies, others who wanted to believe that the 2020 election results were somehow incorrect have also been working to help USEIP spread its misinformation.
USEIP volunteers Matt & Jeff (no last names given) promoted their training efforts on former New Mexico State University professor and election fraud conspiracist David Clements’ podcast on Sept. 4. Matt shared an Excel spreadsheet tool he calls an “Election Data Analyzer” which allows canvassers to import data they’ve collected and perform various statistical functions on it.
In the full video the pair focus their “research” largely on high-density housing, implying that a high number of voter registrations at a single location (not votes) is indicative of fraud. Another indication of fraud is apparently… lots of Democrats. Matt explained his reasoning in a post to his Telegram channel:
Case Study on Residence Part 1: Let’s say you have a small team and want to identify locations to canvass. How might you narrow down where to verify registrations and voters at address with limited resources? I took the top 100 address in a county. Inspected all of them on a map and identified the residences. I then took those address and using the EDA Pivot filters extracted the registrants and combined them into a table and created this summary. There were 59 residences in the top 100. The registrants # ranged from 8-17 per location!
This is a heavily DEM county. 87% were DEM or Unaffiliated voters. 15% were Undeliverable or Returned Mail. Does this look like a good place to look? I am in the process of exploring a canvass for these locations. Next question, who OWNS these rentals? Good question.
USEIP founder Ashley Epp did not respond to a request for comment. This article will be updated with any response received.