2000 Mules, the “documentary” on 2020 ballot fraud by Dinesh D’Souza, makes a lot of big claims, but one of the individuals featured in the film is now suing for defamation — after being cleared of any illegal activity.
The man, Mark Andrews, can be seen in the film dropping ballots into a box placed for that purpose. However, contrary to the claim made on film, he’s not breaking any laws — he’s returning ballots for himself and members of his family, which is entirely legal.
While state laws about the act of ballot harvesting vary, a person is typically allowed to return a ballot for a close family member, and in some states, can also return ballots for others under certain conditions. However, some right-wing activists have spun stories convincing their followers that anyone returning more than one ballot is proven to be committing fraud.
After the film was released, a complaint was filed against Andrews — which was cleared after the Georgia Bureau of Investigation followed up and determined he’d committed no crime. Now, he’s suing D’Souza, along with the True the Vote organization that D’Souza relied on for much of the (dis)information in his video and two of the movie’s producers, among others.
Via the Daily Beast:
“These so-called couriers were featured prominently in the film, which used surveillance footage of them placing the ballots into drop-boxes, and supposedly catching them in their villainy. As D’Souza’s ominous voiceover in the movie proclaimed: ‘What you are seeing is a crime. These are fraudulent votes.’”
This ignores that, even if ballots had been delivered in an illegal manner, it wouldn’t automatically make the vote itself illegitimate.
Moreover, D’Souza has already been caught in admissions that the film doesn’t show what he claims and that he’s making assumptions that True The Vote did due diligence.
He told the Washington Post:
“Now, in that particular image, you can’t see if it’s one ballot or five ballots. My guess is that the True the Vote investigators can figure that out because they’re able to zoom in on the photo.”
In the same interview, he’s also pressed on other matters, like whether an individual taking a photo as they drop off a ballot is really (as claimed in the film) evidence that they’re “mules,” rather than just a voter taking an “I voted” selfie, and on whether his claims of having geolocation data proving the alleged “mules” dropped ballots in multiple boxes are overblown. He dodges the question, insisting that being shown near multiple ballot boxes is sufficient evidence that voters are committing election fraud.
While Andrews is the first to sue over being falsely labeled a “mule,” this isn’t the first lawsuit filed against True The Vote — Konnech Inc, a software company that makes programs for scheduling election workers, has also filed suit.
The Texas Tribune reports:
“In podcasts and elsewhere, True the Vote has repeatedly claimed that it directed ‘analysts’ to hack Konnech’s servers, which the group claims were in China and thus proof of the company’s work on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party…Now True the Vote is trying to maintain its conspiratorial claims about Konnech while also denying accusations that it illegally hacked data or misled the public about the company and its CEO.”
A judge has demanded that True The Vote name the source that provided them with sensitive data about poll workers. Konnech’s software does not contain voter or ballot information.
Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.