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Tea Party Poll Watch Group Comes to RI

Rhode Island Tea Party-style activists, the East Bay Patriots, are joining a controversial national movement, truethevote.org, that aims to cull through voter rolls searching for the dead, the out-of-state, and illegal immigrants.

True the Vote is the brainchild of the King Street Patriots, a conservative Houston-based organization that has been accused of voter intimidation in Texas' Harris County. A lawyer with the Texas Democratic Party charged the group with "shouting misinformation" and "following voters and standing behind them" in heavily minority districts last year.

Catherine Engelbrecht, a True the Vote leader, appeared on the Helen Glover Show yesterday with Marina Peterson, a local Tea Party activist, to discuss the effort. Peterson urged Rhode Islanders to sign up to volunteer on the True the Vote web site.

The group, in a slightly out-of-date video on that site, suggests Democrats and the now-defunct ACORN were in league in a massive voter fraud conspiracy.

The Rhode Island effort comes on the heels of the General Assembly's surprising passage of a voter ID law, which came under heavy criticism from progressives and Latino activists who suggested it aimed to address a largely non-existent problem.

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