Justice Sues “True the Vote” Vigilantes

Finally. The Department of Justice has finally taken on ‘True the Vote’, the right-wing group behind the wrongful challenge of hundreds of thousands of legal Georgia voters. True the Vote challenges were the central subject of the film Vigilante, Georgia’s Vote Suppression Hitman created by the Palast Investigative Fund team.

I know what you’re thinking:  Why did Justice sue two weeks AFTER the election?

Luckily, the film and our related reports got out in Georgia before the election. We held special voter impact showings from Coffee County to Gwinnett to Valdosta. Crucially, we confronted and exposed True the Vote’s agents, every one a Republican official, scaring them away from further challenges.

Under a law signed last year by Gov. Brian Kemp, any Georgian, any self-proclaimed vigilante vote hunter, can challenge the counting of another voters’ ballot – allowing, for the first time, challenges “without limit.”

And by “without limit,” I mean unlimited.  GOP official and Trump acolyte Pam Reardon challenged 32,000 voters.  Columbus, Georgia, Republican Party chairman Alton Russell challenged 4,000 voters—including blocking the vote of Maj. Gamaliel Turner, a career military consultant.  Maj. Turner, you need not ask, is African-American.

The Justice Department, I admit, is not taking on the True the Vote gang in the most aggressive manner.  They are simply joining in the suit already brought against True the Vote by Fair Fight Georgia, the group founded by Stacey Abrams.  (The Palast Investigative Fund lent our expert team to their 2019 litigation.)

I would hope that Justice will take the advice of Gerald Griggs, President of the NAACP, who told the Palast Fund that vigilantes need to face individual justice, or at least a civil suit, including under the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871.  It’s amazing the way losing your bank account (or a little time in the pen) can focus the mind. As attorney Griggs says, “It gets real real.”

Here is Major Gamaliel Turner, who was challenged by True the Vote…

He fought back—and won.  And—spoiler alert—we even filmed him confronting the vigilante face to face.  That took some guts.  The Vigilante, likes to dress up as Doc Holliday including carrying a loaded, pearl-handled 6-gun.

True the Vote is also the group behind the film 2000 Mules, released by Donald Trump from Mar-al-Lago last year, that purported to show Black men stuffing ballot boxes.  The Trump/True the Vote campaign was extremely successful, pushing Georgia to all-but-eliminate voting drop boxes—a principal means of voting used by African-Americans in Atlanta.

In the film, we rip apart True the Vote’s voter fraud claims. Then we travel to Milwaukee to hunt down the source of their funding to right-wing billionaires, the Bradley Family.  The Bradley’s foundation is run by Cleta Mitchell, a big True the Vote booster, who was subpoenaed by Congress for her role in the January 6 insurrection.

Greg Palast (Rolling Stone, Guardian, BBC) is the author of the New York Times bestsellers, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits and the book and documentary, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy. His latest film is Vigilante: Georgia's Vote Suppression Hitman. Read other articles by Greg, or visit Greg's website.