Virginia Public Access Project—the Left’s Next Takeover Target?

by | Jun 23, 2023 | Election Integrity

The Left wants Democrats on the ballot, Democrats counting the ballots—and Democrats training the ballots-counters.

Originally published at Old Dominion News (June 16, 2023)

The latest front in the Left’s long march to conquer America’s institutions is election administration. “Progressives” aim to insert not only activists, but entire organizations into that machinery, making quietly partisan groups a normal part of the way we run our elections. 

Put differently, the Left wants Democrats on the ballot, Democrats counting the ballots—and Democrats training the ballots-counters.

Who Watches the Watchdogs?

Their latest conquest is the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP). Until recently, VPAP was a trusted source for election news and data on state committees and lobbying groups. (Think of it like an OpenSecrets for the Old Dominion.)

For over 26 years, VPAP founder and director David Poole carefully guided the group to be, as he put it, a “watchdog that doesn’t bark”—putting information out there for journalists and readers to use, slant-free. 

No longer. As of last week, VPAP has a new director: Christopher Piper, ex-Election Commissioner under Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam and chief operating officer for the partisan Elections Group.

Piper left the Department of Elections in early 2022, when Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) replaced him with Chesterfield County Electoral Board Member Susan Beals, whom media “progressives” blasted in April merely for attending a strategy conference with the conservative Heritage Foundation.

You’ll be shocked to know those same journalists have nothing to say about where Piper has worked for the past year.

Activism, Inc.

The Elections Group is a private consultancy founded by two Democratic operatives: Noah Praetz, the ex-elections chief for Chicago’s Cook County, Illinois—the very font of honest and transparent elections—and Jennifer Morrell, a senior advisor to the Democracy Fund, the philanthropy of eBay founder and left-wing mega-donor Pierre Omidyar. The firm pushes for expanded mail-in ballots, drop boxes, and ever-earlier voting.

The Elections Group is a close partner of the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL), which took $350 million in “Zuck bucks” from Mark Zuckerberg to juice Democratic turnout in the 2020 election. CTCL’s attempt to privatize elections in swing states was enough for 25 states to ban the practice—including Virginia and Pennsylvania, where Democrats joined with Republicans in sealing up that loophole.

Now the Elections Group has partnered with CTCL to create the U.S. Alliance for Election Excellence, an $80 million scheme to infiltrate local election offices by dangling “free” money in front of them. In reality, that cash lures counties into integrating the Elections Group and other CTCL allies into their routines and procedures—a scheme launched in force with Chris Piper at the helm. 

With partisans administering them, who will ever trust an election outcome again?

“Threats” to Democracy

Would that that was the extent of Piper’s ties to the professional Left. He’s also a member of the Election Officials Legal Defense Network (EOLDN), which was launched to scam the American people into believing that conservatives and Trump supporters are a threat to election officials.

EOLDN has never proven these absurd claims—but then, they don’t need to. The objective is to delegitimize the Left’s critics by smearing them as domestic terrorists who are too dangerous to be let loose on the streets (or, perhaps, to vote).

The network is a front for a far-left policy shop, the Center for Election Innovation and Research (CEIR), which like CTCL took in $70 million in Zuck bucks in 2020 in part to run voter registration and get-out-the-vote campaigns in counties rich with Democrat votes

Like the Elections Group, CEIR pushes vote-by-mail and other insecure policies in the belief that they’ll secure Democratic victories. Earlier this month, it held a “democracy summit” in Washington, D.C.’s spy museum where “progressive” elites gathered to blast conservatives—including two-thirds of congressional Republicans—as “fascists” and “election deniers” merely for questioning how the Left desecrated our elections to defeat Donald Trump in 2020.

The VPAP takeover means there’s one less institution free from “progressive” control. I’ve reported on a similar coup at the Election Center, one of the few organizations that trains local election officials and until January was run by a neutral executive director. 

But that was then. Now the Election Center has new leaders: Joe Gloria, who’s last job was running elections in Las Vegas’ Clark County, and Tammy Patrick, a senior advisor to Omidyar’s Democracy Fund. Both support automatic voter registration, abolishing voter ID laws, and (apparently) even non-citizen voting. Since that takeover, the Election Center has steadily pumped out propaganda by the Elections Group, CTCL, and others about the threat conservative pose to “democracy.”

The result is that officials trying to run free and fair elections must go to leftist-run organizations for assistance, because there are no alternatives. Staying neutral in an increasingly progressive-dominated space is only going to get harder if conservatives don’t create those nonpartisan, middle-of-the-road alternatives. 

This is the battle for election integrity that goes unnoticed. So when will conservatives start fighting back?

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