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It’s downright creepy and it’s quite secretive. The volunteers (many armed and wearing no campaign identification) refuse to identify themselves or who they work for.  They show up at the doors of voters with video cameras, asking if the voter voted, and if so, how they voted in the last election. While they don’t say so, they are going door-to-door looking for imagined election fraud.

That there was no voter fraud, and that the manner in which ballots are verified, and then counted with complete privacy as to the identity of the vote is a nationally-established fact, does not register with these passionate conspiracy theorists.

Actions such as these appear to be an ongoing attempt to convince Americans to believe their election fraud conspiracy theories; designed to discredit the American election process and to prepare to dispute the outcomes of any future elections. It is being done right out in the open and it is but one tactic in what is becoming more clear to be a unified and national effort preparing to subvert elections and intimidate voters, right down to the local level.

The cover of the US Election Integrity Plan Playbook.

The Colorado group that Ark Valley Voice covered last fall, calling itself the U.S. Election Integrity Plan (USEIP), identified themselves as “just some moms in Douglas County”. But their spiffy handbook belied that description. The manual includes an unnerving description of how to identify “infiltrators” of their conspiracy work, noting that the rest of us are “Democrats and Communists” … who must be rooted out, before we can do damage to their patriotic efforts.

Now it appears that that playbook we referenced is coming from a higher level (national) source, stealthily expanding across states at the grassroots level. This week, the Salt Lake City Tribune revealed they have been investigating this same activity. In Utah, it calls itself the Utah Voter Verification Project.

While going door to door is legal, it is not legal to intimidate voting minorities. By law, voters don’t have to answer questions from anyone coming to their door. But in Utah, these door-knockers are also videotaping people without their permission. (In that state it is legal for one person, the videographer, to know they are recording; the person being taped does not have to be informed.) The apparent intent is so they can use the video to create a supposed “audit record” of voting discrepancy.

Those who have found these “election volunteers” at the doors say it is unnerving. Those looking at what appears to be a coordinated campaign to subvert the next and future elections say it is part of a purposeful marketing campaign. After all, if you can make your supporters believe that they cannot believe any election results that they do not win, then you can convince them that democracy itself is not important, which moves the country further toward autocracy and authoritarian rule.

The Tribune team has reviewed the same confidential training materials seen by AVV. It has also tracked down a recording of a training session for volunteers. That recording reveals the direct connection of the Utah door-knocking camping to the U.S. Election Integrity Project (USEIP). It also links it to the QAnon voter conspiracy theories expressed in the manual seen by AVV, and reveals it to be fronted by supporters of the Three Percenters Militia. The Tribune reports that it also found an indirect connection to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell.

Most people may be happily browsing FaceBook, Twitter, and Instagram, but these folks remain almost invisible to the rest of us in their secretive work. As AVV reported in Sept. the litany of conspiracy theories and the purposeful dissemination of untruthful information spills into social media to the shadowy social platform known as Telegram.

USEIP is not only on Telegram; but Telegram can be reached from the USEIP website. For the uninitiated, the Telegram platform is full of conspiracy theories about the election, loaded with bigotry and hate messaging, and includes QAnon taglines like “We Are the Plan.” There is also a group on Telegram intent on the goal of forcing some form of election audits in all 50 states or causing some form of voter conspiracy uproar.

Among the legislators acting like devilish children, we can also acknowledge, as 9News’ Kyle Clark did last week, that the constant flood of uncivil, untrue, bigoted, hateful rhetoric coming from legislators such as Colorado Third Congressional Dist. Lauren Boebert is so obnoxious, so over the top, that the sheer volume of frankly filthy behavior means we hold her to a different standard. It’s like the little Dutch boy with his finger in the dike — so overwhelming it’s hard to keep up with the torrent of ugliness coming out of her mouth.

Those who by nature put two and two together and come up with four rather than 37 can appreciate this “in your face” activity for what it is.

When combined with the militant actions of militias attaching themselves to the Trump ‘stop the steal’ crowd, the local, so-called patriot group behaviors, on top of the January 6 insurrection, multiplied by the hypocrisy of several noted Republican legislators at all levels of government — and  Trump’s nationwide hunt to purge the Republican party of all who will not do his bidding — you get a nationally-coordinated coup possibly designed to subvert democracy and take power at any cost.

As William Shakespeare wrote in The Tempest more than 400 years ago; “What’s past is prologue.”

He might also have added, “Beware the knock at the door…”

Featured image: Violent protesters, loyal to President Donald Trump, storm the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021, in Washington. It’s been a stunning day as a number of lawmakers and then the mob of protesters tried to overturn America’s presidential election, undercut the nation’s democracy and keep Democrat Joe Biden from replacing Trump in the White House. AP Photo/John Minchillo