True the Vote Summit 2013

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catherine“There is a battle to be fought, and we are on the frontlines.” - True the Vote founder and president, Catherine Engelbrecht.

“True the Vote, a citizen-led initiative to promote fair and free elections, will host its third annual two-day summit on Friday, April 12, and Saturday, April 13, 2013 in Houston, TX. This year’s summit, themed ‘The Power of Citizen Engagement,’ will focus on the upcoming challenges facing Americans as we near the 2013-14 election cycle and review the enormous lessons learned in 2012.”

True the Vote‘s annual Summit this weekend was an amazing boost to the many attendees who left refreshed and ready to continue the fight for election integrity.

Featuring speakers from various fields, this year’s summit focused on being knowledgeable about voter integrity issues, as well as how to reach out to different demographics and encourage them to get involved in election integrity efforts.  “No matter what issue you care about, it all starts with elections and election integrity,” said author and True the Vote attorney Christian Adams.

Featuring such speakers as John Fund, Cleta Mitchell, Rafael Cruz, Anita MonCrief, Scott Gessler, and Adryana Boyne, the summit brought together people of all ages (even a few high-school and college kids), who were eager to hear more about their part in election integrity.

One of the most inspirational speeches came Friday night from Reverend C.L. Bryant, who spoke on the dangers facing this country and the importance of remaining vigilant in the fight against election fraud:

“We must stop cowering, and we must stop worrying about being called names.  Let them call you ‘racist’… We are threatened with losing our national identity from a cancer eating away at America… Presently eating away at us is socialist tendencies.”

This “up is down, down is up” world, Rev. Bryant said, is in decline and must quickly be corrected if we hope to maintain the free and fair system of elections this nation was founded upon.  If our elections are not free and fair, then we are not free; this is the foundation for all things political.  Without fair elections, the possibility exists for our nation’s leaders to be elected through rigging and cheating instead of through fair, democratic votes.

A refreshing and rare occasion happened near the end of the summit:  three high-school students were given the stage and the opportunity to share our thoughts with people from generations before us.  Cesar Ruiz, Team-Policy debate champion and student ambassador for True the Vote’s Voto Honesto initiative, shared his thoughts on engaging young Latinos who may not even yet be eligible to vote, but must understand the importance of election integrity and the impact it plays on their futures.

Ruiz’s speech was followed with a discussion lead by two other high-schoolers about how to engage and involve young people in the election integrity process.  Tanner Brumbarger, founder of The High School Conservative, and I shared our 10 keys to youth involvement:  1) go back and examine history, 2) get involved on college campuses, 3) make voter registration a priority, 4) make young voices a necessity, not a nuisance, 5) make younger messengers the “new norm,” 6) use social media to advance your influence, 7) utilize technology in every area possible, 8) keep the marketing balanced, 9) convey the importance of civic engagement at all levels, and 10) activate your “army” of youth.  It was a tremendous honor to speak to the attendees and provide insight on such a critical issue as youth engagement.

This weekend filled me with an excitement to get more involved with True the Vote and the fantastic work they do in protecting the integrity of our election system for future generations.  Huge kudos to the whole organization and every activist who supports their cause– you’re directly affecting my future in a positive way when you fight the big-government elitists who want to decrease the value of my voice and my vote.

A huge thank-you to True the Vote for being so welcoming toward me and my peers as we shared our perspectives with you!

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