Joker: RNC Committee on “Election Integrity”: RNC Ruse Rooted in Big Lie of Election Fraud

But I do know that it is bad and shameful to do injustice . . . .”

– Plato, The Death of Socrates

 

“For this Nation to remain true to its principles, we cannot allow any American’s vote to be denied, diluted, or defiled. The right to vote is the crown jewel of American liberties, and we will not see its luster diminished.”

– Ronald Reagan

 

And yet:

 

“Arizona defendant Christina Bobb plays key role on RNC election integrity team”

Amy Gardner and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez in the Washington Post:

“When conservative lawyer and media personality Christina Bobb became the latest member of Donald Trump’s inner circle to be charged for her alleged role in the effort to reverse the 2020 presidential election results, it became immediately clear she would not have to give up her day job: senior counsel to the Republican National Committee’s election integrity team.

“For some, there is a certain irony — if not outright conflict — that a leading purveyor of false claims that the 2020 election was riddled with fraud is a major player in the national GOP’s efforts to protect the integrity of the 2024 vote.

“But not for Bobb, and not for her closest allies — including Trump himself, who through a spokesman defended only Bobb by name among all the 18 individuals indicted Wednesday in Arizona. If anything, Bobb’s indictment solidifies her identity as a dedicated Trump loyalist who fiercely fought to reverse his loss in the politically competitive state and potentially elevates her role within the RNC to help him win in November.”

The article then details the role that Bobb played in the Arizona “fake electors” scheme, based on the allegations in the indictment and evidence from the House January 6 Committee.

The article then continues to discuss the potential role that Bobb might play in this fall’s election:

“Some who have left said they fear that the party’s new election-integrity operation, particularly with Bobb in its midst, will veer toward embracing unfounded conspiracy theories that alienate more moderate Republicans.

““That was a bad hire,” Robin Vos, the Republican speaker of the Wisconsin Assembly, said in a televised interview about Bobb’s new job. “Christina Bobb is part of the fringe element that I don’t think helps to build credibility, not only in our party but in the entire country.”

Stephen K. Bannon, the former senior Trump adviser, said in an interview Thursday that he recommended to the Trump team that people like Bobb and others who have strong connections to the election integrity movement be hired into the RNC because “we need that kind of will to fight — someone who is going to contest elections everywhere.”

“With direct access to Trump by phone, Bobb can also serve as a direct link between the RNC and the former president, taking his input and sharing internal strategy with him, Bannon said. But that can cut two ways if Bobb pushes the party’s election integrity operation toward activity that draws legal scrutiny, several GOP operatives said, speaking candidly on condition of anonymity.

“Until 2018, the RNC operated under a federal consent decree prohibiting the committee from participating in election-day operations — the result of a 1982lawsuit from Democrats charging the committee with trying to discourage Black voters from casting ballots through targeted mailings and positioning armed, off-duty officers at polls in minority neighborhoods.

““What we worry about is Christina Bobb going rogue and doing something dumb and us getting thrown back into the consent decree,” one GOP strategist said.

“If volunteers or campaign operatives misstep, “Marc Elias and his well-funded allies are going to try to get the consent decree reinstated, and that’s something we’re all concerned about,” said another GOP operative, referring to the Democratic elections lawyer.”

There’s more in the piece. The whole article is very much worth a read.

 

“RNC to add new lawyers focusing on claims of election fraud – including one key figure from 2020 challenges”

CNN:

The Republican National Committee, now under the control of former President Donald Trump and his campaign, is bringing on a slate of new lawyers both internally and externally who will focus intensely on election fraud, an issue Trump has remained fixated on.

The lawyers “will initiate battle on election integrity from an offensive instead of defensive posture,” Chris LaCivita, Trump’s co-campaign manager and newly instated RNC Chief of Staff, told CNN.

LaCivita will bring on Charlie Spies, an experienced GOP lawyer, to take over as chief counsel at the RNC.

Trump attorney Christina Bobb, a former correspondent at the Trump-aligned One America News Network, will join as senior counsel for election integrity. Bobb was very active in promoting Trump’s claims that the 2020 election was stolen and authored a book called “Stealing Your Vote: The Inside Story of the 2020 Election and What It Means for 2024.”

“I’m honored to join the RNC and thrilled the new leadership is focused on election integrity. I look forward to working to secure our elections and restore confidence in the process,” Bobb said in a statement to CNN.

Bobb was directly involved in two separate Trump controversies that led to the former president’s federal indictments in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case, as well as the 2020 election subversion case. She has not been accused of any crimes.

In June 2022, while federal authorities were still trying to recover classified documents that remained at Mar-a-Lago, Bobb signed a sworn affidavit on Trump’s behalf, inaccurately telling the Justice Department that there weren’t any classified files left at the club. Special counsel Jack Smith later charged Trump with lying to the FBI and accused Trump of illegally causing Bobb to submit this false declaration even though he knew it was untrue.

She also played a key role in the Trump campaign’s fake electors scheme after he lost the 2020 election, working closely with Trump advisers to organize the plan in seven battleground states. The scheme formed the basis of parts of Smith’s election subversion indictment against the former president, which says Trump and his allies created “fraudulent slates of presidential electors to obstruct the certification proceeding” in Congress on January 6, 2021, and “disenfranchise millions of voters.”

Trump has pleaded not guilty in both cases.

Bobb was also a correspondent during the 2020 election for the fringe pro-Trump network OAN, where she promoted false claims that the election was rigged. The voting technology company Dominion sued Bobb and OAN for defamation in 2021. Some of her on-air segments were also referenced in a separate defamation case against OAN filed by Smartmatic, another aggrieved voting company. OAN and Bobb have denied wrongdoing in these civil cases.

[Boldface added]

 

 

“Exclusive: RNC plans to recruit army of poll watchers for 2024”

Axios:

The Republican National Committee plans to recruit and train tens of thousands of poll workers and watchers in battleground states for the 2024 election, according to plans shared first with Axios.

Why it matters: It’s part of the RNC’s ongoing push to scrutinize suspected voter fraud and mobilize on-the-ground “election integrity directors” in crucial states ahead of the 2024 election.

  • Repeated audits and reviews, including from GOP-led groups, failed to find evidence of voter fraud despite former President Trump’s claims that it was widespread during the 2020 election.

Zoom in: The RNC is continuing its expansion from a “pop-up-shop style election operation” to a year-round election integrity department this year.

 

New Documents Show Heritage Actions Activities to Make Voting and Registration Harder

The Guardian:

The 990 tax filing was obtained by the watchdog group Documented and shared with the Guardian. It points to the pivotal role that Heritage Action is increasingly playing in shaping the rules that govern US democracy.

The efforts help explain the unprecedented tidal wave of restrictive voting laws that spread across Republican-controlled states in the wake of the 2020 presidential election. The Brennan Center reported that more voter suppression laws were passed in 2021 than in any year since it began monitoring voting legislation more than a decade ago.

The expenditures also signal a dramatic increase in Heritage Action’s advocacy activities. In 2020, Heritage Action had reported no spending at all on outside lobbying.

Heritage Action, whose board includes the Republican mega-donor Rebekah Mercer, is set up as a 501(c)4 under the US tax code which exempts it from paying federal taxes. It operates as a “dark money” group, avoiding disclosing the sources of its total annual revenue of over $18m.

In the past two years the organization through its public messaging has echoed Donald Trump’s lie that US elections are marked by rampant fraud. A private plan prepared by Heritage Action last year set out a two-year, $24m “election integrity” strategy.

The plan, obtained by Documented, proposed a two-pronged approach that would work to block moves by Democrats in Congress to bolster voting rights while at the same time pressing Republican-controlled states to impose restrictions on access to the ballot box. It said: “Where Democrats hold power, we must defend against bad policy. Where conservatives and our allies are in power, we must advance changes that protect the lawful votes of Americans.”

The Heritage Action plan, which was first reported by the New York Times, is being published by the Guardian for the first time.

Part of Heritage Action’s two-year strategy is to promote what it calls “model election laws”, focusing initially on eight battleground states: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, Texas and Wisconsin. In a private meeting with donors in Tucson, Arizona, in 2021, the group’s executive director, Jessica Anderson, boasted about the role Heritage Action had played in pressing Republican-controlled legislatures to impose strict restrictions on voting, including limits on mail-in voting and early voting days.

In a video of that meeting obtained by Documented, Anderson told the donors that the group acted “quickly and quietly”, bragging that “honestly nobody noticed” their behind-the-scenes influence. Heritage Action staff have registered to lobby in at least two dozen states.

The laser-like focus on key swing states like Georgia appears to have had an impact. The New York Times found that one-third of the 68 voting bills filed in Georgia in 2021 contained policy measures and language that aligned closely with proposals from Heritage Action.

The group has publicly claimed that it had a hand in advancing 11 voting bills in at least eight states in 2021, though in some cases legislation was passed in only one chamber or went on to be vetoed by the state’s governor.

Heritage Foundation, under the auspices of its elections supremo Hans von Spakovsky, curates an “election fraud database”. It claims to expose the errors, omissions and mistakes made by election officials, but it presents incomplete and misleading information and underscores how exceptionally rare fraud is within the US system.

 

Election Day is Nov. 8, but legal challenges already begin

October 27. 2022

WASHINGTON (AP) — Election Day is 12 days away. But in courtrooms across the country, efforts to sow doubt over the outcome have already begun.

More than 100 lawsuits have been filed this year around the Nov. 8 elections. The legal challenges, largely by Republicans, target rules for mail-in voting, early voting, voter access, voting machines, voting registration, the counting of mismarked absentee ballots and access for partisan poll watchers.

The cases likely preview a potentially contentious post-election period and the strategy stems partly from the failure of Donald Trump and his allies to prevail in overturning the free and fair results of the 2020 presidential election that he lost to Joe Biden.

That was an ad hoc response fronted by a collection of increasingly ill-prepared lawyers that included Rudy Giuliani. The current effort, however, is more formalized, well-funded and well-organized and is run by the Republican National Committee and other legal allies with strong credentials. Party officials say they are preparing for recounts, contested elections and more litigation. Thousands of volunteers are ready to challenge ballots and search for evidence of malfeasance.

“We’re now at the point where charges of fraud and suppression are baked into the turnout models for each party,” said Benjamin Ginsberg, co-chair of the Election Official Legal Defense Network and former counsel to the George W. Bush campaign and other Republican candidates. “Republicans charge fraud. Democrats charge suppression. Each side amplifies its position with massive and costly amounts of litigation and messaging.”

The RNC said it has a multimillion-dollar “election integrity” team. It has hired 37 lawyers in key states, held more than 5,000 training sessions to teach volunteers to look for voter fraud — which is rare and isolated — and filed 73 suits in 20 states. Other Trump-allied legal teams, including America First Legal, run by former Trump adviser Stephen Miller, are involved.

“We built an unprecedented election integrity ground game to ensure that November’s midterm elections are free, fair and transparent,” the RNC chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, said last month.

The Democrats’ legal effort focuses on making voting easier and helping those denied a chance to vote. A team led by lawyer Marc Elias and his firm is litigating roughly 40 cases in 19 states, though many are interventions in Republican-led suits.

Elias said he is bracing for a deluge of challenges to election results. Some Republican candidates have already said they will not accept a loss or have planted doubt on the election process despite no evidence of fraud.

“The problem with the Republican Party right now is that conceding you lost an election is the only thing that will hurt you,” Elias said. “Contesting an election that is clearly lost is now where all the incentive structure is, and that is incredibly corrosive for democracy.”

Almost every election begets legal challenges. But the much of that generally comes after Election Day.

In 2020, pro-Trump lawyers filed roughly 60 suits and asked judges to set aside votes. Those suits were roundly rejected. Trump’s own leadership found the election was fair, and state election official saw no widespread evidence of fraud. Biden earned 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232, the same margin as Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016, when he called it a “landslide.”

At that time, the Republican establishment had not adopted Trump’s lies about the election. Since then, the falsehoods have taken root within the GOP.

Ginsberg said unsubstantiated charges that elections were fraudulent or rigged or unreliable have became the mantra for a Republican to win a contested 2022 primary in most states.

“That can only harm public faith in elections, something for which Republicans will eventually pay a price,” he said.

For three decades, the RNC was under a consent decree that prohibited it from challenging voters’ qualifications and targeting alleged fraud. That legal agreement, which ended in 2019, arose from a Democratic National Committee suit that argued Republicans sought to dissuade Black Americans from voting by posting armed, off-duty law enforcement officers at certain polling sites and sending targeted mailings warning about penalties for violating election laws.

In 2020, Republican poll watchers, who have no direct role in the elections and cannot interfere in the electoral process apart from watching and reporting issues, were the basis of many of the suits filed by Trump allies. But when pressed by judges for evidence backing partisan claims of suspicious behavior by election workers, the litigation faltered.

Election workers have increasingly been subjected to abuse and threats of violence. Voter intimidation cases are on the rise, and there is growing concern among election officials and law enforcement about overly aggressive poll watchers or people pretending to be poll watchers intimidating voters.

Last week the RNC won a legal challenge against Michigan’s secretary of state, Democrat Jocelyn Benson, over rules about how poll challengers can operate.

“Jocelyn Benson not only disregarded Michigan election law in issuing this guidance, she also violated the rights of political parties and poll challengers to fully ensure transparency and promote confidence that Michigan elections are run fairly and lawfully,” McDaniel said in a statement.

The RNC has won legal challenges in Nevada and Arizona over the appointment of poll workers and in Wisconsin on “ballot curing” — a process whereby voters can fix problems with their ballots so they can be counted — and drop boxes. Litigation in Pennsylvania involved absentee ballots dating and whether outside parties should be allowed examine voting machines.

Democrats-led groups have initiated about 35 suits that focus largely on making voting easier. Just this week, litigation was filed on behalf of Voto Latino and the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans to stop intimidation over using drop boxes in Arizona. The ACLU of Pennsylvania sent a letter to Allegheny County officials on mail-in ballot concerns.

Heading into 2020, the U.S. focused on the possibility of foreign threats, from Russia or possibly China, to the integrity of the election, such as by manipulating vote tabulations. Election officials and Trump’s own agencies said it was the most secure election ever. It was Trump and his supporters who nurtured conspiracy theories about voter fraud.

U.S. officials are again sounding the alarm that Russia is working to amplify doubts over the integrity of the elections.

This week, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said, “No outside cyber activity has ever prevented a registered voter from casting a ballot; compromised the integrity of any ballot cast; or affected the accuracy of voter registration information.”

She said the government would “monitor any threats to our elections if they arise and work as a cohesive, coherent interagency to get relevant information to the election officials and workers on the ground.”

[Boldface added]

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Follow AP’s coverage of the elections at: https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections

Check out https://apnews.com/hub/explaining-the-elections to learn more about the issues and factors at play in the 2022 midterm elections.

 

“RNC seizes on political affiliations of poll workers in swing states”

The Washington Post reports that there have been increased efforts to recruit partisan poll workers in swing states.

 

The “Big Lie” Begets “Election Integrity”

While vociferously opposing national voting legislation, Trump-led state legislatures have effectively succeeded in enacting state bills laws that are virtually national in scope and effect, having promoted bills in 43 of 50 state legislatures. 

The objective?  To suppress legitimate votes of opponents, thereby undermining the foundational right of democracy. 

Who leads such shameful efforts? 

The Republican National Committee and its state counterpart, the Republican State Leadership Committee, through their respective “election integrity” committees.  

Who devised this shameful plan?

The conservative Heritage Foundation and its political arm, Heritage Action. 

Three take-aways on The Heritage Foundation’s false cry of election fraud:

  • Its “Election Fraud Database” is a sham, providing zero evidence of election fraud election-changing outcomes
  • .Its “Factsheet,” the acknowledged blueprint for these new “election integrity” laws and bills in 43 states, is premised on the demonstrably false claim of voter and election fraud.
  • Heritage Action deployed this debunked database and “Factsheet” to instruct 43 Trump-led states on how to suppress the votes of opposition minority and other voters who in 2020 simply chose not to vote for Donald Trump’s anti-democracy agenda.

All this despite Heritage Foundation’s professed intention in 2017 to stop “being  a partisan tool”.

Who leads these national “election integrity”  committees? 

State Republican party chairs who ardently promote (1) the Big Lie of election and voter fraud, (2) voter suppression initiatives, and  (3) (failed) state “audits” and reviews aimed at lending unwarranted credence to the Big Lie, upending the 2020 presidential presidential election, and setting a precedent to assault the integrity of future elections). 

Simply stated, the RNC is intent on tilting and winning elections which free and fair elections would deny them, all under the false flag of “election integrity”.

Published in January 2021, this Heritage effort, styled as a “Factsheet”, was shamelessly premised on  patently false assertions of election and voter fraud.  

The Fact Sheet and the resulting voter suppression bills and laws are collectively designed to:

  • purge voter rolls of opposition voters (over half the “Factsheet” is devoted to this single aim);  
  • eliminate or substantially restrict state voting practices that encourage voting, and 
  • replace professional election administers and bipartisan poll workers with political cronies empowered to carry out these anti-democratic aims. 

In particular, these election-corrupting measures aim, in the upcoming 2022 midterm and 2024 elections, to turn back the record voter turnout of the 2020 presidential elections which ousted Trump and many of his worst enablers from public office and influence. 

Ready to connect the dots?

Big Lie -> Many-times Debunked Heritage Foundation Database  ->  Heritage Action Factsheet” -> RNC “Election Integrity” Committee ->  Red State Voter Suppression Laws -> Tilted Federal and State Elections.

So cloaked in the guise of  a “Factsheet” supported by a “Database”, the Big Lie of Election Fraud is the leading edge of assault on our shared democratic values. 

In reality? The Big Lie is a pig in (orange) lipstick. 

We all know that lying is an age-old game of demagogues, a Trojan Horse with a voracious appetite, in which would-be autocrats disguise themselves as models of integrity.  But there is good news – Donald Trump’s Trojan horse is a one-trick pony.   

In 2020, a clear, bipartisan majority of the American people rejected Trump’s anti-democratic agenda.  And, take note, it included a small but courageous and increasingly vocal traditional cohort of Republican and independent voters.  

In true Machiavellian fashion, Donald Trump and followers have attempted to denigrate traditional Republicans as ‘Republicans in Name Only’, but in reality these courageous Republicans place country over personal political advantage, as citizens of integrity should.

And, despite the Supreme Court’s dismissive attitude toward the vital role and protections of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, there is clear bipartisan popular support for national voting rights legislation.  Fortunately, the Biden administration has resumed enforcement of the right to vote and administratively is exercising its delegated powers to get out the vote and to combat voter suppression. 

Whatever our genuine political differences, we as Americans must strive to promote the unimpeded right to vote, the very foundation of our democratic Republic. 

 

EXCLUSIVE

The RNC ‘election integrity’ official appearing in DOJ’s Jan. 6 subpoenas

At least three witnesses in DOJ’s investigation of so-called alternate electors in the 2020 election have received subpoenas demanding communications to and from Joshua Findlay.

In addition to a group of former President Donald Trump’s top lawyers, the Justice Department’s Jan. 6 probe is also seeking communications to and from a Republican National Committee staffer in a sensitive role.

At least three witnesses in DOJ’s investigation of so-called alternate electors in the 2020 election — two in Arizona and another in Georgia — have received subpoenas demanding communications to and from Joshua Findlay, who is now the RNC’s national director for election integrity.

POLITICO reviewed the subpoena sent to the Georgia witness after the Washington Post published copies of two Arizona subpoenas. Findlay’s appearance in the documents means the Justice Department has taken interest in his communications as part of its probe related to pro-Trump GOP officials and activists who presented themselves as legitimate electors from states where Joe Biden won.

Findlay worked for Trump’s 2020 campaign in multiple capacities. In January 2019, the campaign announced he was joining the team that would handle the 2020 Republican National Convention. After the convention, he worked as an attorney on the Trump campaign’s legal team.

The three subpoenas order the witnesses to share all documents and communications from October 2020 on, “[t]o, from, with, or including” a list of people, including Findlay.

While Findlay is not a central figure in the Jan. 6 select committee’s investigation, the head of the Trump campaign’s legal team, Matt Morgan, mentioned him in testimony to the panel. At a hearing on June 21, the panel played a video clip where one of its investigators, Casey Lucier, said some Trump campaign lawyers “became convinced that convening electors in states that Trump lost was no longer appropriate.”

On Nov. 18, 2020, Lucier noted, Trump-allied lawyer Kenneth Chesebro had written a memo calling for that strategy — which generated push-back.

“At that point, I had Josh Findlay email Mr. Chesebro politely to say, ‘This is your task,’” Morgan told the select committee in testimony revealed at the hearing. “‘You are responsible for the Electoral College issues moving forward.’ And this was my way of taking that responsibility to zero.”

Findlay’s visibility into plans regarding alternate electors didn’t end on Election Day. POLITICO reviewed an email sent to him on December 12, 2020, showing David Shafer — head of the Georgia Republican Party, and himself an alternate elector — directing one of his subordinates to contact Findlay about the alternate elector plans.

A lawyer for Shafer declined to comment on the email.

Participants in the alternate electors scheme have given different explanations for their involvement. Some have said they participated at the advice of lawyers so pro-Trump electors would be available in case the courts flipped the elections’ outcomes in their states, while others have falsely claimed to be their states’ rightful electors.

Findlay started his job at the RNC after Biden’s inauguration and as its chair, Ronna McDaniel, announced a new “Committee on Election Integrity” with the stated purpose of “ensuring voters have confidence in future election processes.” Former attorney general Bill Barr has said the FBI found no evidence of voter fraud that could have swayed the outcome of the election, and a host of other former administration officials have told the select panel they thought Trump’s claims of voter fraud were nonsense.

Nonetheless, Trump has continued to stoke baseless arguments that his loss to Biden was illegitimate — and Republican voters have moved to elevate champions of those allegations, including Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano.

In his role at the RNC, Findlay has discussed the party’s work scrutinizing election administration.

In a video call hosted by Texas RNC Committeewoman Toni Anne Dashiell and posted on YouTube on July 26, 2021, Findlay said the party was gearing up to “train and build the largest, most well-prepared election integrity organization in the history of the Republican Party.”

He also described “the first ever Republican Party National Election Integrity College,” which included twenty candidates and was held in Washington D.C. the week before the call.

“We need to put eyes on every part of this election process,” he continued. “We’re going to have thousands and thousands of volunteers out there. So a big part of the curriculum at this college was recruiting and training and placing volunteers.”

The RNC, he continued, was moving “to recruit and train and place volunteers to watch every aspect of every election to make sure that Democrats aren’t committing fraud, that election administrators are not abusing their position, and just to make sure that there’s no mistake in what’s happening across the board.”

DOJ has not accused Findlay or any other people of crimes related to the alternate elector scheme. A spokesperson for the department declined to comment on the subpoenas.

Findlay and an RNC spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment.

 

SPECIAL REPORT

‘It’s going to be an army’: Tapes reveal GOP plan to contest elections

Placing operatives as poll workers and building a “hotline” to friendly attorneys are among the strategies to be deployed in Michigan and other swing states.

https://www.politico.com/news/2022/06/01/gop-contest-elections-tapes-00035758

Video recordings of Republican Party operatives meeting with grassroots activists provide an inside look at a multi-pronged strategy to target and potentially overturn votes in Democratic precincts: Install trained recruits as regular poll workers and put them in direct contact with party attorneys.

The plan, as outlined by a Republican National Committee staffer in Michigan, includes utilizing rules designed to provide political balance among poll workers to install party-trained volunteers prepared to challenge voters at Democratic-majority polling places, developing a website to connect those workers to local lawyers and establishing a network of party-friendly district attorneys who could intervene to block vote counts at certain precincts.

“Being a poll worker, you just have so many more rights and things you can do to stop something than [as] a poll challenger,” said Matthew Seifried, the RNC’s election integrity director for Michigan, stressing the importance of obtaining official designations as poll workers in a meeting with GOP activists in Wayne County last Nov. 6. It is one of a series of recordings of GOP meetings between summer of 2021 and May of this year obtained by POLITICO.

Backing up those front-line workers, “it’s going to be an army,” Seifried promised at an Oct. 5 training session. “We’re going to have more lawyers than we’ve ever recruited, because let’s be honest, that’s where it’s going to be fought, right?”

Seifried also said the RNC will hold “workshops” and equip poll workers with a hotline and website developed by Zendesk, a software support company used by online retailers, which will allow them to live-chat with party attorneys on Election Day. In a May 2022 training session, he said he’d achieved a goal set last winter: More than 5,600 individuals had signed up to be poll workers and, several days ago, he submitted an initial list of more than 850 names to the Detroit clerk.

Democrat Janice Winfrey, who serves as the clerk, would be bound to pick names from the list submitted by the party under a local law intended to ensure bipartisan representation and an unbiased team of precinct workers.

Separately, POLITICO obtained Zoom tapings of Tim Griffin, legal counsel to The Amistad Project, a self-described election-integrity group that Donald Trump’s former lawyer Rudy Giuliani once portrayed as a “partner” in the Trump campaign’s legal efforts to overturn the 2020 election, meeting with activists from multiple states and discussing plans for identifying friendly district attorneys who could stage real-time interventions in local election disputes.

On the recording, Griffin speaks of building a nationwide network of district attorney allies and how to create a legal “trap” for Winfrey.

“Remember, guys, we’re trying to build out a nationwide district attorney network. Your local district attorney, as we always say, is more powerful than your congressman,” Griffin said during a Sept. 21 meeting. “They’re the ones that can seat a grand jury. They’re the ones that can start an investigation, issue subpoenas, make sure that records are retained, etc.,” he said.

POLITICO obtained about a dozen recordings from people who were invited to listen to the meetings. Seifried referred POLITICO’s requests for comment to the RNC. Griffin, through the Thomas More Society, which runs Amistad, did not return repeated calls and texts to spokesperson Tom Ciesielka.

A spokesperson for the RNC said the party is attempting to rectify an imbalance in favor of Democratic election workers in large urban areas, particularly Detroit, a city that votes reliably Democratic by more than 90 percent. Just 170 of more than 5,400 Detroit election officials were Republicans in 2020, according to the RNC.

“Democrats have had a monopoly on poll watching for 40 years, and it speaks volumes that they’re terrified of an even playing field,” said RNC spokesperson Gates McGavick. “The RNC is focused on training volunteers to take part in the election process because polling shows that American voters want bipartisan poll-watching to ensure transparency and security at the ballot box.”

In the introduction graphic on his training presentation, Seifried says the RNC’s goal is to “make it easy to vote and HARD TO CHEAT.”

But election watchdog groups and legal experts say many of these recruits are answering the RNC’s call because they falsely believe fraud was committed in the 2020 election, so installing them as the supposedly unbiased officials who oversee voting at the precinct level could create chaos in such heavily Democratic precincts.

“This is completely unprecedented in the history of American elections that a political party would be working at this granular level to put a network together,” said Nick Penniman, founder and CEO of Issue One, an election watchdog group. “It looks like now the Trump forces are going directly after the legal system itself and that should concern everyone.”

Penniman also expressed concern about the quick-strike networks of lawyers and DAs being created, suggesting that politically motivated poll workers could simply initiate a legal conflict at the polling place that disrupts voting and then use it as a vehicle for rejecting vote counts from that precinct.

Democratic National Committee spokesperson Ammar Moussa said the DNC “trains poll watchers to help every eligible voter cast a ballot,” but neither the DNC nor the state party trains poll workers. The DNC did help recruit poll workers in 2020 due to a drop-off in older workers amid the pandemic; but he says it is not currently doing so and has never trained poll workers to contest votes.

On the tapes, some of the would-be poll workers lamented that fraud was committed in 2020 and that the election was “corrupt.” Installing party loyalists on the Board of Canvassers, which is responsible for certifying the election, also appears to be part of the GOP strategy. In Wayne County, which includes Detroit, Republicans nominated to their board a man who said he would not have certified the 2020 election.

Both Penniman and Rick Hasen, a law and political science professor at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, said they see a domino effect that could sow doubts about the election even when there was no original infraction: A politically motivated poll worker connecting with a zealous local lawyer to disrupt voting, followed by a challenge to the Board of Canvassers that may have nothing to do with the underlying dispute but merely the level of disruption at the polling place.

“You shouldn’t have poll workers who are reporting to political organizations what they see,” Hasen said. “It creates the potential for mucking things up at polling places and potentially leading to delays or disenfranchisement of voters,” especially “if [the poll workers] come in with the attitude that something is crooked with how elections are run.”

‘The precinct strategy’

The recordings are among the first windows into what former Trump strategist Stephen Bannon, who’s been urging listeners to his podcast to take on election leadership positions, calls “the precinct strategy.”

But Penniman, the election watchdog, believes the strategy is designed to create enough disputes to justify intervention by GOP-controlled state legislatures, who declined to take such steps in 2020.

“Come election day you create massive failure of certification” in Democratic precincts, Penniman said. “The real hope is that you can throw the choosing of electors to state legislatures.”

Participants in the recorded training sessions said their goal is to root out fraud, not just achieve more Republican poll workers in majority Democratic precincts.

Among panelists at a May 14 “Election Integrity” summit in Detroit was Jacky Eubanks, a Trump-endorsed state house candidate who warned “kids my age who are communists do and will staff our elections” in urging Republicans to become “paid, full-time elections workers” to police absentee ballot signatures, according to a recording of the summit.

Speaking separately to Macomb County Republicans, Eubanks also recently said, “The election system is rigged, and who best to steal it but our clerks.”

During the May 14 election-integrity summit, Seifried said the party is now actively recruiting lawyers and that he wanted to “start reaching out to law enforcement.”

Patrick Colbeck, a former member of the Michigan state Senate and former gubernatorial candidate, said at the same summit that he is “working with another organization right now” on “developing a kit for law enforcement” because many don’t understand election law and it will give them “tools that identify and enforce election fraud more effectively.”

Eubanks did not respond to requests for comment. In an email to POLITICO, Colbeck said there should be “regular training” for law enforcement on election laws.

A focus on Michigan

A central theater for the party’s “election integrity” organizing, Michigan is among a number of battleground states where party loyalists are being groomed to serve as inspectors in the next presidential election. Seifried estimated the RNC is committing $35 million to election integrity efforts nationwide, similar to what it spent in the last cycle in battleground state efforts. He is one of 16 state directors.

For decades, the RNC was barred from so-called “ballot security” measures after it settled an early 1980s case in which it was accused of voter suppression in violation of the Voting Rights Act, including sending armed police officers off duty to polling places in minority areas. In 2018, a federal judge allowed that consent decree to expire.

“The 2020 election would have been the first year that the RNC could have done anything with election integrity,” said Seifried in the tapes.

Of all former President Donald Trump’s battleground-state allies, Republican operatives in the state of Michigan came the closest to throwing the 2020 election — and the nation — into a constitutional crisis. So many volunteer challengers overwhelmed Detroit’s TCF Center, where votes were being counted, that police intervened because Covid safety protocols had been breached.

The poll watchers accused poll workers of “bullying” them and blocking them from voting tables due to pandemic social distancing requirements. They also falsely alleged “phony ballots” were smuggled into the center, helping lay the predicate for a weeks-long delay in certifying the state’s electoral votes. That’s despite the fact that then-Democratic candidate Joe Biden had won the state by more than 154,000 votes.

In the recorded meeting with activists in March, Seifried said there “was a lot of disorganization, a lot of lack of preparedness and I’ve heard horror story after horror story,” referring to the GOP watchers barred by police due to Covid restrictions.

“We’re going to have lawyers that work to build relationships with different judges so that when that happens, we’re going to have lawyers that have relationships with the police chiefs in the different areas, with the police officers in the different areas so that when that happens with preexisting relationships already established so that they can’t lie,” Seifried said during an October 2021 training session in Oakland County.

A GOP-led committee found no evidence of widespread fraud in Michigan’s 2020 election and recommended the state’s attorney general investigate those who made false claims “to raise money or publicity for their own ends.” Numerous lawsuits were dismissed in court.

In the tapes, Seifried cites specific grievances from 2020: that “unsolicited” absentee ballots were mailed by the Secretary of State, that not all clerks were required to match signatures on absentee ballot applications, that the number of ballot drop-off locations were dramatically increased and that Democratic areas received more outside funding to increase voting access than Republican areas.

‘How to Challenge a Voter’

In 2022 and 2024, instead of untrained volunteers, the goal is for GOP recruits to have undergone training and be equipped with new tools, according to Seifried.

Before sharing a slide on “How to Challenge a Voter,” Seifried outlined a series of scenarios under which recruits could contest voters or voting processes, though he cautioned it is illegal to challenge every vote.

“You have to have good reason to believe that an individual is not a citizen, that an individual is not of legal voting age. If an individual does not live at the location that they’re registered at, or if the person is not registered at all,” he said during a March 2022 meeting.

This also includes if a voter received an absentee ballot but is voting in person. He also urged recruits to approach clerks, including attending “public accuracy” meetings to question them about how voting machines work, recording machine numbers, requesting copies of tabulator results before and after voting begins and challenging clerks to prove their machines are not connected to the internet.

When asked about the strategy, an RNC spokesperson initially said recruits are not being trained to challenge voters. The RNC later responded by citing a Michigan election law excerpt that election workers “shall” challenge a voter if the inspector “knows or has good reason to suspect” the voter is ineligible and noted that a judge would ultimately review the case.

In an October meeting, Seifried said priority targets are Detroit, Pontiac and Southfield, which are heavily Democratic and minority areas. “Those are the ones that we need to focus all our efforts on,” he said.

Grassroots groups aligned with Trump are helping with recruitment. They include “Stand Up Michigan,” whose members adapted the Village People’s hit “YMCA” to “MAGA,” Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan. While the law stipulates election inspectors must be trained by local clerks, candidates are also being coached on things to look out for by operatives in RNC-sponsored workshops.

Chris Thomas, who served for 36 years as elections director under one Democratic and three Republican secretaries of state, said he’s spent time with Seifried, who seems to be trying to be “above board” about his plans to create more equal representation among poll workers.

“He claims not to be a ‘Stop the Steal’ type but obviously all of the people he’s talking to are,” said Thomas. ”They’re going to be all ginned up thinking they’re going to see all kinds of stuff.”

“If Seifried is honest with them,” he will tell them they won’t see much, added Thomas. “There’s little to no history of election inspectors challenging people” based on qualifications to vote, and if they create chaos, “that’s just going to get them [the poll workers] thrown out.”

The potential for conflict is clear. In a training in March, Seifried told recruits to stand behind voter registration tables to “oversee the electronic poll book to make sure the person that is coming in to vote is who they say they are.” Voters should be challenged by alerting precinct chairs and then recruits should call the RNC legal hotline or log the complaint in a website with a live chat so “we can communicate with you real time.”

“Ideally, you guys will all be the election inspector,” said Seifried. “You have so much more authority because you’re the one that’s actually administering the election.”

While Seifried stressed challengers “cannot obstruct voting in any way” and not to be “adversarial,” Thomas said it is wrong to suggest a first-time worker would be in charge of a poll book and such workers have “no right to require inspectors to toggle through” poll books.

The first question in the Zoom chat: “How do we stop the counts if the person of authority doesn’t respect the challenges made like at TCF in Detroit?” Another asked what to do if someone is “clearly” using a fake I.D. to vote. Seifried said to “try challenging it.”

The effort has been underway for months, and GOP officials are planning to use Aug. 2 primary elections in Detroit as a dry run, according to Seifried.

“The early hours on election day Aug. 2 will tell the story about whether this is a legitimate operation or an attempt to slow the process to discourage voting,” said Thomas.

Pressuring the Detroit clerk

The approach is proceeding as planned.

In an interview, Winfrey, the Detroit elections clerk, confirmed that the RNC delivered a list of more than 800 names in early May and that she is likely to give “a good number” of the individuals roles as long as they attend training sessions and are confirmed registered voters.

“Before every election we always reach out to both the Democratic and Republican parties to let them know we are recruiting poll workers” and “we get what we get,” or mostly Democrats in a majority Democratic-voting city.

The list comes nearly a year after Griffin, during a June, 2021 meeting, outlined how GOP lawyers could corner Winfrey into either hiring their recruits or establishing the basis for a lawsuit. “How do we build the proper evidence and how do we build a trap for Janice Winfrey?” said Griffin.

Submitting a list of people “whom she’s not going to hire” would open “up the door for a mandamus lawsuit for them to start following the law,” or seating more Republicans. Two months later, in a separate meeting, Griffin reiterated the strategy is building lists of Republican poll workers who might be rejected and hence “creating the evidence for future cases.”

When informed of the tapes, Winfrey said she is “not shocked” and “not in any way intimidated.”

“Apparently they think I’m stupid,” she said. “Apparently they think I don’t follow the law. I’m not surprised by their ignorance.”

As Republican legislatures seek to usher in a raft of new voting restrictions, they are being prodded by an array of party leaders and outside groups working to coordinate the efforts.

In late January, a small group of dedicated volunteers from the conservative Heritage Action for America met with Republican legislators in Georgia, delivering a letter containing detailed proposals for rolling back access to voting. Within days, bills to restrict voting access in Georgia began flooding the Legislature.

Of the 68 bills pertaining to voting, at least 23 had similar language or were firmly rooted in the principles laid out in the Heritage group’s letter and in an extensive report it published two days later, according to a review of the bills by The New York Times.

The alignment was not coincidental. As Republican legislatures across the country seek to usher in a raft of new restrictions on voting, they are being prodded by an array of party leaders and outside groups working to establish a set of guiding principles to the efforts to claw back access to voting.

Heritage, for instance, has claimed credit for a new Arizona law, signed last week by Gov. Doug Ducey, that requires the secretary of state to compare death records with voter registrations. The state representative who sponsored the bill thanked one of the Heritage volunteers in a Facebook post after it passed.

Party leaders and their conservative allies are planning to export successful statutory language from one state to others, like the text of Alabama’s voter ID law. They are also drafting what they describe as “best practices” principles for completely new legislation, with the impetus often coming from outside groups like the Heritage Foundation.

And the Republican National Committee has created an “election integrity’’ committee, a group of 24 R.N.C. members tasked with developing legislative proposals on voting systems. The committee is populated with officials who were deeply involved in the “stop the steal” effort to overturn former President Donald J. Trump’s election loss last year and who have refused, more than two months after President Biden’s inauguration, to admit publicly that his victory was legitimate.

The widespread coordination underscores the extent to which the dogma of voter fraud is embedded in the Republican Party, following Mr. Trump’s campaign of falsehoods about the 2020 election. Out of power in both Congress and the White House, the party views its path to regaining a foothold in Washington not solely through animated opposition to Mr. Biden’s agenda, but rather through an intense focus on re-engineering the voting system in states where it holds control.

To head its election integrity committee, the Republican National Committee tapped Joe Gruters, the Florida Republican Party chairman who in January used a #stopthesteal hashtag and advertised ways for Republicans to attend the Jan. 6 rally that ended with a riot at the Capitol.

“No matter where I go as chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, it’s basically the only thing everybody is talking about among the base,” Mr. Gruters said. Like nearly all of the Republicans involved in the party’s voter integrity efforts, Mr. Gruters declined to characterize Mr. Biden’s victory as legitimate, despite there being no evidence of widespread fraud and multiple state audits reaffirming the results. “There are a lot of people who have a lot of questions about the 2020 race.”

The national committee is coordinating with the Republican State Leadership Committee, the organization that works to elect Republican state legislators and secretaries of state. The Heritage Foundation, a leading conservative organization in Washington, is teaming up with grass-roots social conservative outfits, like the Susan B. Anthony List, to mobilize supporters and lobbyists in state capitals to enact new restrictions on voting access.

Heritage, through its politics arm Heritage Action for America, is planning to spend $24 million across eight states: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, Texas and Wisconsin. An internal document described a “two-year effort” to work closely with allies like American Legislative Exchange Council (known as ALEC) and the libertarian State Policy Network to “produce model legislation for state legislatures to adopt” and hire lobbyists in “crucial states.” (A copy of the plan was obtained by Documented, a watchdog group, and reviewed by The New York Times.)

Much of the Heritage goals are laid out in a report published to their website earlier this year, ticking off a host of proposals including limiting who can vote by mail, preventing ballot collection, banning drop boxes, enacting stricter voter identification laws, restricting early voting and providing greater access to partisan election observers. Last week, the group began a $600,000 television ad campaign in Georgia, urging citizens to support the effort to roll back voting access.

The policies, according to Jessica Anderson, the Heritage Action executive director, are largely rooted in the work of Hans von Spakovsky, a lawyer who has worked on voting battles for decades, including a voter identification law in Georgia that was ruled discriminatory in 2005. He also helped to run the now-defunct voter-fraud commission that Mr. Trump created after the 2016 election. Other Heritage officials, such as John Malcolm, have helped craft the proposals.

The Heritage planning document also calls for Republicans to recruit their own army of poll workers, and not just partisan observers, to take jobs working local elections. The document calls for placing 800 poll workers “in key states and precincts” for the 2022 midterm elections.

Ms. Anderson said Heritage’s role in passing the Arizona bill would serve as a template for other efforts. “We will have that same sort of playbook for Texas and Florida,” she said. “So I would put Georgia, Arizona, Texas, Florida as kind of the first wave of seats. And then we’ll turn to looking at Wisconsin, Michigan and potentially Nevada.”

She called the volunteer who was thanked by the bill’s sponsors “one of our sentinels.’’

The election committee housed within the Republican State Leadership Committee, comprising secretaries of state and state lawmakers, meets roughly once a week by phone, according to John Merrill, the secretary of state of Alabama and one of the group’s presidents. Smaller subgroups are in more frequent contact.

The goal, he said, is to provide a clearinghouse for best practices in amending voting laws, and for the transporting of the “statutory language” of current voting policies to other states, if they are deemed a good fit.

Referring to Alabama’s requirement that in-person voters present a photo ID, a law that critics claim disproportionately affects Black voters, Mr. Merrill said: “This is the only voter ID law that I’m aware of has been challenged in court that is still the same today as it was when we’ve passed it in 2011. And so we have it prepared, so that if people wanted to adopt that language, then they could adopt it.”

Mr. Merrill’s group has been compiling an e-notebook of more “gold standard” policies, he said, including vote-by-mail statutes from Washington and Colorado.

Mr. Gruters boasted about Florida’s election system, which provides ample opportunities for voting by mail and in-person early voting, and said other states should seek to emulate it. But other members of the Republican election committees said explicitly that it should be more difficult for people to vote.

Both “integrity committees” at the R.N.C. and the R.S.L.C. are filled with members who backed the false conspiracies about the 2020 election and have publicly called for some of the most severe voting restrictions.

On the R.N.C. committee, Drew McKissick, the Republican chair in South Carolina, tweeted false accusations by the Trump campaignin November about dead voters and vans full of Biden ballots. Lenar Whitney, a R.N.C. committee member from Louisiana, repeated conspiracies about Dominion voting machines at a party meeting.

Among the R.S.L.C. committee members, Karen Fann, an Arizona legislator, had issued calls for an audit of Dominion voting systemsand shared a false conspiracy theory that the Postal Service was throwing away Trump ballots. Mike Shirkey, a Michigan legislator, said in a leaked audio clip that the Jan. 6 insurrection was a hoax, claiming that Mitch McConnell was in on it, then apologized and then was caught on a hot mic saying he meant it. Bryan Cutler, the speaker of the Pennsylvania House, was one of the signatories of the letter sent to members of Congress urging them to reject the election results from Pennsylvania and reject the slate of electors.

But several of the members of the R.S.L.C. committee were publicly critical of efforts to undermine faith in the 2020 election, and have been proponents of vote by mail and other forms of expanding voter enfranchisement. Michael Adams, the secretary of state of Kentucky, worked earlier this year with Gov. Andy Beshear, a Democrat, to further expand access to the ballot box.

Kim Wyman, the Republican secretary of state of Washington, joined the group to make sure that an election official with deep experience with vote by mail would have a voice in shaping the eventual recommendations from the group.

“I just thought my perspective in that organization’s probably a little different, because my state is so progressive in the laws that we’ve enacted for voter registration and elections,” Ms. Wyman said. “And I’m really proud of the way we’ve enacted them, and how we’ve put in the security measures that I do think address some of the concerns a lot of conservatives have about things like same day registration. So I wanted to be part of that discussion.”

But a majority of the R.N.C. and R.S.L.C. members have sown doubts about the 2020 election. Jason Thompson, a Republican National Committee member from Georgia, praised efforts in his state to end no-excuse absentee voting and curtail early-voting on Sundays, which has been used for decades to help Black voters get to the polls after church services.

Opposition to the Georgia proposals, Mr. Thompson said in an interview, was a fund-raising technique for the state’s voting rights organizations.

“Most Black folks are probably in church on Sunday,” he said. “Why would this hurt them for voting?”

 

Republican National Committee head Ronna McDaniel admits Biden beat Trump for the first time: ‘Yeah, he’s the president. It sucks’

Eliza Relman 

Nov 19, 2021

https://www.businessinsider.com/rnc-chair-ronna-mcdaniel-finally-admits-trump-lost-it-sucks-2021-11

  • Ronna McDaniel said publicly for the first time on Thursday that Joe Biden won the 2020 election. 
  • “Painfully, Joe Biden won the election,” she said. “He’s the president. We know that.” 
  • The RNC chief said she believes the GOP remains tethered to Donald Trump and “would lose” without him.

Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, acknowledged publicly for the first time on Thursday that President Joe Biden won the 2020 election. 

“Painfully, Joe Biden won the election and it’s very painful to watch,” McDaniel told the audience at a breakfast in Washington hosted by the Christian Science Monitor. “He’s the president. We know that.” 

McDaniel has established a “Committee on Election Integrity” at the RNC and claimed on Thursday that there were “lots of problems” with the 2020 election, despite there being no evidence of widespread election fraud. McDaniel’s very delayed concession that former President Donald Trump lost the election is a testament to just how many Republicans either believe or refuse to contradict the false claim that Trump actually won the election.

Polling over the last year has consistently shown that the majority of Republican voters believe Trump won reelection in 2020. A Politico/Morning Consult poll conducted in June found that almost a third of registered Republicans believed the conspiracy theory that Trump would be reinstated as president this year.

The RNC chief, a close ally of Trump’s, said on Thursday that she believes her party remains tethered to the former president.  

“If he left the party, we would lose,” McDaniel said of Trump. “If he left the party, Republicans would lose. He has built our party. He has added a new base.”

McDaniel is the niece of Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, the 2012 GOP presidential nominee who voted with six other Republicans to convict Trump in the Senate trial after the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Trump insists that investigating false claims of election fraud is the “the single most important thing for Republicans to do” ahead of the midterms next year. But McDaniel argued that the GOP’s focus should be on attacking Biden and his policies. 

“I think every Republican right now should be talking about 2022. I’m not talking about anything else other than what Biden is doing to destroy our country: high gas prices, an open border, an opioid crisis,” she said. “Everybody else can do their own thing, but I think we should be talking about Joe Biden.”  

 

Letters from an American, Heather Cox Richardson

November 8, 2021

Excerpts from a new book by ABC News chief Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl say that Trump was so mad that the party did not fight harder to keep him in office that on January 20, just after he boarded Air Force One to leave Washington, he took a phone call from Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Committee, and told her that he was quitting the Republicans to start his own political party. (boldface added)

McDaniel told him that if he did that, the Republicans “would lose forever.” Trump responded: “Exactly.” A witness said he wanted to punish the officials for their refusal to fight harder to overturn the election.

Four days later, Trump relented after the RNC made it clear it would stop paying his legal bills and would stop letting him rent out the email list of his 40 million supporters, a list officials believed was worth about $100 million.

Instead of leaving the party, he is rebuilding it in his own image. 

 

Texas Republicans Plan Election Integrity Strategy for 2022

“The only way we can deter issues is to have eyes, ears, and boots on the ground at every phase of the election process.”

By Erin Anderson

December 2, 2021

https://texasscorecard.com/state/texas-republicans-plan-election-integrity-strategy-for-2022/

While many Texans remain frustrated by unanswered questions about the 2020 election, Texas Republicans are looking ahead and making plans to avoid future problems.

GOP leaders’ action plan revolves around establishing county election integrity groups—teams of citizen volunteers who will organize and train local voters to effectively monitor and participate in all phases of the election process.

Ensuring honest and accurate elections is “a partnership” between citizens and election officials, Texas GOP Election Integrity Chair Deon Starnes told a roomful of Denton County Republicans on Monday night.

The focus is local because while Texas elections are governed by state law, they’re administered at the county level and run by local citizens.

But the strategy for 2022 involves a coordinated effort between county GOP officials, the Republican Party of Texas, and the Republican National Committee.

“We’re all working together as a team,” Melissa Conway, the RNC’s state election integrity director for Texas, said at Monday’s meeting.

Grassroots groups have organized local election security teams for years, but with little or no support from the GOP.

The RNC was limited by a 1982 consent decree that effectively suppressed the party’s ballot security activity (including “efforts to prevent or remedy vote fraud”) for 36 years.

In January 2018, after decades of Democrat lawsuits, a judge finally let the decree expire, freeing the RNC to assist state and local parties’ election integrity activities.

“At the national level, election integrity is Priority 1, 2, and 3,” Conway said.

Conway said training is key, especially with all of the new election laws taking effect ahead of the 2022 election cycle.

“People at every phase of the election process need to be well trained,” she said.

Those people include election judges and clerks who work at the polls during early voting and on Election Day; early voting ballot board members tasked with verifying mail ballots; as well as volunteer poll watchers who observe election processes at the polls, ballot boards, and counting stations.

Local election officials are responsible for training election workers on voting laws, processes, and equipment, but the training isn’t always enough to prepare workers for their responsibilities.

County election offices are also ill-equipped to respond to reports of election code violations during the voting process.

Denton County Elections Administrator Frank Phillips said he distributes a list of election offenses to local law enforcement so they’re prepared if they receive calls reporting problems at the polls.

Starnes said the party can also make resources like election law experts and attorneys available across the state to provide faster responses to local questions and complaints during elections.

“The only way we can deter issues is to have eyes, ears, and boots on the ground at every phase of the election process,” Conway added.

Texas election lawyer Trey Trainor, who currently serves on the Federal Election Commission, agreed, saying Republicans need at least one well-trained election worker and poll watcher in each polling place.

He noted political parties and candidates can appoint two poll watchers for each polling place where they are on the ballot, as well as to observe early voting ballot boards and central counting stations.

Recruiting enough election workers and watchers to cover the entire state is a big challenge.

The Texas Federation of Republican Women is already encouraging its thousands of members to sign up to work as election judges or clerks in their county, or volunteer to serve as poll watchers on behalf of the party or a candidate.

“The best way to ensure election integrity is to have honest election workers/volunteers at every polling location in Texas!” TFRW wrote in their December newsletter.

But it’s up to citizens to take the first step, get involved, and actively participate in the process.

“You are the solution,” Conway said. “This is your county, your elections.”

 

NRSC, RNC Statements on Legal Intervention to Protect Arizona Elections

SEPTEMBER 2, 2021

https://www.nrsc.org/press-releases/nrsc-rnc-statements-on-legal-intervention-to-protect-arizona-elections-2021-09-02/

Washington, D.C. – Today, the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) announced joint legal intervention with the Republican National Committee (RNC) to defend Arizona election integrity laws from a Democrat lawsuit: 

“The radical Left in Arizona is challenging common-sense election reforms that are designed to maximize voter participation and eliminate voter fraud. The NRSC is proud to defend Arizona’s efforts to ensure fair elections in the face of Democrats’ push to stop common-sense election reforms. These lawsuits being pushed by the far-Left in Arizona are just another part of the Democrats’ Big Lie — that any effort to secure the integrity of our elections is racist.”  NRSC Chairman Sen. Rick Scott

“Even after their massive loss in the Supreme Court case Brnovich vs. DNC, Democrats and left-wing dark money groups are continuing to attack Arizona’s elections. The RNC is proud to help defend common-sense election integrity laws which prevent the mailing of ballots to dead voters and outdated home addresses. Republicans believe in making it easier to vote and harder to cheat, and we are confident that the courts will see through this latest Democrat attempt at scaremongering.” – RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel

Background:

  • Today, the NRSC and RNC moved to intervene in Mi Familia Vota v. Hobbs, a lawsuit filed by left-wing dark money organizations challenging two common-sense laws protecting the integrity of Arizona’s elections.
  • Democrats are attacking Senate Bill 1485, a recently enacted law that ensures ballots are mailed to their intended recipients by removing voters from a permanent vote-by-mail list if they don’t vote over a period spanning two general elections (4 straight years).
    • The law stops ballots from being automatically mailed to dead people and those who no longer reside at the address where their ballot is mailed.
    • All potentially impacted voters are mailed a notice before they are removed and can request to remain on the list. They also remain registered to vote.
    • Democrats want to make this bill into a fake-outrage controversy, but it’s just common-sense housekeeping.
  • Democrats are also challenging Arizona’s Election Day close-of-polls deadline for voters to cure ballots without a signature.
    • The deadline ensures officials can validate the identity of individuals voting by mail and reduces administrative burdens on poll workers.
  • The NRSC and RNC were instrumental in obtaining the recent monumental Supreme Court victory defending Arizona’s ballot harvesting ban in Brnovich v. DNC and look forward to beating left-wing plaintiffs in Arizona again in this baseless lawsuit.

 

RNC, NRSC intervene in Democratic lawsuits against Florida election law

BY TAL AXELROD 

05/20/21  

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/554595-rnc-nrsc-intervene-in-democratic-lawsuits-against-florida-election-law/

The Republican National Committee (RNC) and National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) on Thursday intervened in two lawsuits Democrats filed against voting restrictions that were recently signed into law in Florida. 

The two groups intervened on the side of the defendants, which include a slate of Republican officials in the Sunshine State. Two suits, one brought by Democratic attorney Marc Elias and another by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Disability Rights Florida and Common Cause, allege that the voting restrictions illegally restrict access to the ballot box.

Republicans have maintained the laws are necessary to ensure election security, though no widespread irregularities or fraud were found in any of the 2020 races.

“Since my time as Governor, Florida has enacted laws that maximize voter participation while protecting the integrity and transparency of our elections,” said Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.), the NRSC chair and former Florida governor. “The lawsuits being pushed by radical leftists in Florida have no basis in fact. They are part of the Democrats’ Big Lie — that any efforts to secure the integrity of our elections is racist.”

“Florida’s recent election reforms are aimed at a simple goal: making it easier to vote and harder to cheat,” added RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. “Democrat attempts to dishonestly misrepresent these common-sense reforms are pure political theater, and Floridians see right through them.

“The RNC remains committed to protecting election integrity at every level of the process, no matter how many lies Democrats tell,” she added.

The Florida law in question imposes a number of voting restrictions, including new limits on absentee ballot drop boxes, additional requirements on voters seeking mail-in ballots and a ban on members of the public giving food or water to voters waiting in line.

The move by the RNC and NRSC underscores how the GOP has leaned into the mantle of “election integrity” as polls show many Republicans still question the results of last year’s White House race.

The law is just one of several pieces of legislation that Republican legislators across the country have put forth after former President Trump and his allies propagated evidence-challenged claims that the presidential election was “stolen” in November.

Republicans have said such laws are necessary to address concerns about election integrity, but Democrats say they are part of an effort to restrict people from voting after the GOP lost the White House and Senate last cycle.

The Florida law “is a bill that purports to solve problems that do not exist,” reads one of the suits against the Sunshine State’s statute. “[It] caters to a dangerous lie about the 2020 election that threatens our most basic democratic values, and, in the end, makes it harder to vote without adequate justification for doing so.”

TAGS DONALD TRUMP REPUBLICAN EFFORTS TO RESTRICT VOTING FOLLOWING THE 2020 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE RICK SCOTT RONNA MCDANIEL

The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

 

RNC hires state election integrity director

October 6, 2021 

Matt Mercer

 

RNC Election Integrity Report

https://union.nc.gop/rnc_election_integrity_report

McDaniel, who has weathered criticisms over the election, immediately set up a new election integrity unit that will challenge future voting schemes and advise states on election reform.

She told us, “The RNC established an election integrity committee to examine how Democrats attack election integrity — and more importantly, to lay out a blueprint for protecting our elections from the far-left.”

McDaniel applauded the panel’s leaders, Chairman Joe Gruters and Co-Chairwoman Ashley MacLeay, and said, “Republicans believe in making it easier to vote and harder to cheat, and we’re building a historic election integrity operation to do just that.”

Since the election, several in the GOP led by former President Donald Trump have challenged election results and drawn attention to states where rules were lifted because of the coronavirus. No elections, however, have been overturned.

The issues found in the report, shown below, are technical but amount to improper changes, said the RNC, which provided this list of highlights:

  • Democratic leaders leveraged the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to water down election integrity safeguards by ramming through last-minute changes to the election process.
  • Many changes were enacted by courts that disregarded long-standing laws, by Democratic governors who abused their emergency powers, and by officials such as secretaries of state who ignored state laws duly passed by their legislatures.
  • Some public officials used the pandemic as a pretense to expand mail voting and eliminate key absentee voting safeguards such as witness and ID requirements. Policies such as automatically mailing ballots to all voters and waiving ballot delivery deadlines also led to chaos and decreased confidence in our elections.

The committee also took note of the millions dumped into election coffers by liberals such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.

Now on alert, the RNC plans to fight back. It already spent $40 million on election integrity initiatives during the 2020 contests. It is building from there.

Officials said that a “year-round election integrity operation” will be created. They said that will include “hiring in-state election integrity directors, monitoring state and county-level election processes to ensure laws are being followed, training thousands of poll watchers to observe all steps in the elections process, and continuing to engage in lawsuits that protect and promote election integrity.”

The report issued several recommendations that McDaniel is acting on and the party sharing with states eyeing reform legislation.

 

RNC’s Report on the Temporary Committee on Election Integrity  

Adopted on August 11, 2021

https://delawaregop.com/news/2021/08/20/rncs-report-of-the-temporary-committee-on-election-integrity/

In February, through a vote of the Executive Committee, Chairwoman McDaniel established the Committee 

The Committee established four subcommittees to help achieve its goals: Election Day Operations, Voting Systems and Technology, Legislation, and What Went Wrong, What Went Right. 

The Committee’s recommendations include that the RNC refashion its internal election integrity efforts, which have been more focused on “Election Day,” and transform it into a permanent and year-round effort that encompasses engaging in policymaking, litigation, ongoing oversight of election officials, monitoring the ever-expanding election calendar, and being prepared for critical post-election events like recounts and election contests.  

Much was learned from the review of the 2020 election and these lessons can lead to a more successful Election Integrity Operation in the future by learning from mistakes, building on successes, and continuing to broaden efforts into 2022 and beyond.

States like Florida, Georgia, and Iowa are already adopting policies like those recommended in this report, and the Committee hopes others follow their lead.

The purpose of the Subcommittee on Voting Systems and Technology was to research and evaluate voting systems and technology used in the United States to identify potential vulnerabilities and make recommendations that will improve election administration and bolster Americans’ confidence in our elections. In evaluating election infrastructure, the Subcommittee’s main takeaway was that cybersecurity vulnerabilities present a serious challenge for election administration and voter confidence in the United States. A

The majority of Americans support photo ID requirements, are against ballot harvesting, and agree that ballots should not be accepted after election day or sent to individuals who are unregistered or non-citizens.10 T

In sum, states should enact election-related policies that will strengthen the integrity, confidence, and transparency in the election process. I

It is important for the RNC to implement an aggressive communications strategy focusing on election integrity and opposing bad state and federal legislation.

The Subcommittee made the policy recommendations found in Section III. Subsection D – Policymaking and Legislative Recommendations on specific issues related to voter registration, list maintenance, voting methods, drop boxes, poll watching, ballot harvesting, laws enabling legislatures and parties to intervene in litigation, and post-election verification methods. I

Now more than ever, voters need their confidence in the election process restored. States can help achieve this by adopting the specific policy recommendations addressed in this report. Them doing so will lead to a more transparent, fair, and efficient election process.

The Subcommittee believes any federal role in a state’s election process should be minimal, 

When engaging on an election integrity issue, it is important to be on the offense and create the message instead of being on defense and responding to it. Each message should be simple and easy to process by using evocative moral words to convey why voters should care about the issue and how it will affect their lives.

Click here to download the full report. 

Joe Gruters. Chairman, RNC Election Integrity Committee
Chairman, Republican Party of Florida

https://protectthevote.com/committee_on_election_integrity

Open, fair, and honest elections are the bedrock of our democratic institutions. Every eligible American citizen deserves to have faith that their vote will be reliably counted in order to preserve a government that is truly by the people, for the people.

The 2020 election, conducted in the midst of a once-in-a-century pandemic, was an anomaly. The coronavirus pandemic gave politicians an excuse to upend our voting processes with haphazard executive orders, anti-transparency measures, and eleventh-hour changes to our sacred democratic process.

That’s why the RNC is launching the Committee on Election Integrity, dedicated to making elections transparent again. In the coming months, we will work tirelessly to promote common-sense, bipartisan reforms at the state level and fight a federal takeover of our elections. We’ll also build out an expansive Election Day Operations program, backed by nationwide legal efforts, to ensure the protection of the ballot box.

The RNC won’t stop fighting to protect the vote and ensure that Americans have faith in the integrity of our elections.

We want to hear from Republican and other concerned voters about what you think the RNC should be doing to protect the integrity of our elections. Please feel free to share your thoughts below so the committee will have your input when developing its recommendations. Look back here for our findings and recommendations.

 

Republicans united on “election integrity” message for coming elections

By Caitlin Huey-Burns, Adam Brewster

CBS News

March 22, 2021

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/republicans-election-integrity-message/

Upon losing an election, political parties usually search their souls – with the help of operatives poring over polling and data – to plot their resurgence. Democrats are embarking on such a mission after losing a startling number of House seats, even though Joe Biden won the presidency and they won control of the Senate, if just barely.. But Republicans this year are forgoing the traditional election post-mortem, despite their losses, and instead are pursuing a hardliners’  “election integrity” message that resonates with their base and unites factions within the party.

Although the Republican Party has otherwise been divided on its future in the post-Trump era, on the issue of election laws, the Republican National Committee, state legislatures, conservative outside groups, and federal lawmakers appear to be singing the same tune. 

“Autopsies are such a beltway convention, and look where the autopsy in 2012 started and look where we ended in 2016,” says Matt Gorman, a Republican strategist and veteran of presidential and congressional campaigns. Then-RNC chair Reince Priebus’ post-mortem really was called an “autopsy,” what he concluded was that the party should prioritize comprehensive immigration reform and make a bunch of technical changes, like shortening the primary process, limiting the number of debates and raising more money.

“Public policy is always more productive,” says Gorman. “It’s forward looking and can help instill confidence.” 

Federal election legislation that passed the House, known as HR1 and now S1 in the Senate, is spurring conservatives into action. The sweeping proposal would create automatic, online and same-day registration, expand access to early and mail voting, and reform redistricting. 

 “The urgency of the conservative movement to recognize the importance of safeguarding elections is more important today than ever before,” says Jessica Anderson, executive director of Heritage Action, which launched a $10 million “election integrity” campaign focused on opposition to HR1 and action in state legislatures.  “HR1 would be a federal takeover of state election laws. Among the base, that’s what’s hitting the hardest.”

Anderson said that while Heritage Action has focused on election laws for years, “the difference is the grassroots, they are more energized…that’s a direct result of the frustration around what happened in November.”

Quinnipiac University poll from early February found 76% of Republicans believe there was widespread fraud in the 2020 election. Mr. Trump and his allies were defeated in more than 60 court cases after the election, former Attorney General William Barr said there was no evidence of fraud at a level that “could have effected a different outcome in the election” and a group of federal, state and local officials working with the Department of Homeland Security declared the 2020 election “the most secure in American history.” 

House Republicans unanimously opposed the H.R 1and with little prospect for getting GOP support in the Senate, activists have tried to leverage Republican opposition to push Democrats to kill the filibuster

The fierce opposition to H.R. 1 extends down to the GOP’s base. RNC chair Ronna McDaniel constantly hears from activists who are concerned about the bill. The RNC announced a new Committee on Election Integrity in February that is “dedicated to restoring election transparency and ensuring voters have confidence in future election processes.”

Republican lawmakers around the country are pushing voting restrictions in their state legislatures. More than 40 states have introduced over 250 bills that would restrict voting access in the wake of the 2020 election, according to the Brennan Center for Justice

Lawmakers supporting the bills often use the refrain that the measures make it “easy to vote and hard to cheat.” Legislative sponsors also say the bills are designed to shore up confidence in elections.

In some instances, lawmakers supporting new restrictions questioned the results of the 2020 election or suggested the measures could lead to political gain. In Iowa, where Governor Kim Reynolds signed a bill that shortens the early voting period, tightens the timeline for returning absentee ballots and requires county auditors to follow state election laws, one GOP state senator repeated the false claim that the election was stolen.   

“Most of us in my caucus, the Republican caucus, believe the election was stolen,” Iowa Republican State Senator Jim Carlin said during a debate over the bill that Reynolds eventually signed. “Who believes that Joe Biden got 12 million more votes than Barack Obama on his best day? I don’t.”

John Kavanaugh, a state representative in Arizona, one of the states the Brennan Center ranked as having the highest number of restrictive bills, told CNN that “Democrats value as many people as possible voting, and they’re willing to risk fraud. Republicans are more concerned about fraud, so we don’t mind putting security measures in that won’t let everybody vote — but everybody shouldn’t be voting.”

“Quantity is important, but we have to look at the quality of votes, as well,” he added, saying some voters may be “totally uninformed.” 

Those sentiments echo former President Trump’s baseless claims about the election and indicate his sway  around the issue. 

However, some of the most ardent supporters of tightening voting access do not want Mr. Trump associated with their efforts. 

“I think he should sit it out,” says Ken Cuccinelli, a former Trump administration official who is chairing the new “Election Transparency Initiative” at the Susan B. Anthony List. “To the extent he comments on issues of the day, it ought to be foreign affairs and taxes and the economy and immigration.”

“He makes it more partisan….like the RNC getting in there, but times ten,” Cuccinelli says. “The goals he would prefer to be achieved are more likely to be achieved without his participation than with it.”

Cuccinelli says groups like his that are working on voting laws should focus on preventing the passage of HR1, which conservatives see as a federal takeover of election laws, and at the state level should focus on voter ID, voter rolls and ballot security.

“There are a few people who are in their own head fighting out 2020. That is not what we are doing. We are trying to stay forward looking,” he said. “If we want to make our system work in a way that every American can be confident in, we are going to have to put some work into it.”

Though the party is largely unified in pressing for more stringent voting laws, the schism between them could open up again about how views of the 2020 election will impact primaries during the midterm cycle. One battleground state GOP strategist told CBS News that he fears that falsely claiming the 2020 election was stolen could be a litmus test in GOP primaries.

“You don’t necessarily have to lean in deep, but if you can’t at least lean in a little bit, I tend to think you’re ‘not a conservative’ by today’s standard,” the strategist said. “I almost feel like that’s the first litmus test. I would like to be wrong on that, but we’ll see.”

 

‘An all-hands moment’: GOP rallies behind voting limits

By NICHOLAS RICCARDI and MICHAEL BIESECKER

March 19, 2021

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks during a Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Senate Committee on Rules and Administration joint hearing Wednesday, March 3, 2021, examining the January 6, attack https://apnews.com/article/legislature-voting-rights-td-cruz-legislation-elections-6270306f67108ac16f4ee7b45a8afdb3 https://apnews.com/article/legislature-voting-rights-ted-cruz-legislation-elections-6270306f67108ac16f4ee7b45a8afdb3

https://apnews.com/article/legislature-voting-rights-ted-cruz-legislation-elections

On an invitation-only call last week, Sen. Ted Cruz huddled with Republican state lawmakers to call them to battle on the issue of voting rights.

Democrats are trying to expand voting rights to “illegal aliens” and “child molesters,” he claimed, and Republicans must do all they can to stop them. If they push through far-reaching election legislation now before the Senate, the GOP won’t win elections again for generations, he said.

Asked if there was room to compromise, Cruz was blunt: “No.”

“H.R. 1′s only objective is to ensure that Democrats can never again lose another election, that they will win and maintain control of the House of Representatives and the Senate and of the state legislatures for the next century,” Cruz said told the group organized by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-backed, conservative group that provides model legislation to state legislators.

Cruz’s statements, recorded by a person on the call and obtained by The Associated Press, capture the building intensity behind Republicans’ nationwide campaign to restrict access to the ballot. From statehouses to Washington, the fight over who can vote and how — often cast as “voting integrity” — has galvanized a Republican Party in search of unifying mission in the post-Trump era. For a powerful network of conservatives, voting restrictions are now viewed as a political life-or-death debate, and the fight has all-but eclipsed traditional Republican issues like abortion, gun rights and tax cuts as an organizing tool.

That potency is drawing influential figures and money from across the right, ensuring that the clash over the legislation in Washington will be partisan and expensive.

“It kind of feels like an all-hands-on-deck moment for the conservative movement, when the movement writ large realizes the sanctity of our elections is paramount and voter distrust is at an all-time high,” said Jessica Anderson, executive director of Heritage Action, an influential conservative advocacy group in Washington. “We’ve had a bit of a battle cry from the grassroots, urging us to pick this fight.”

Several prominent groups have recently entered the fray: Anti-abortion rights group, the Susan B. Anthony List, has partnered with another conservative Christian group to fund a new organization, the Election Transparency Initiative. FreedomWorks, a group formed to push for smaller government, has initiated a $10 million calling for tighter voting laws in the states. It will be run by Cleta Mitchell, a prominent Republican attorney who advised former President Donald Trump.

Meanwhile, Heritage Action has announced a new effort also focused on changes in state voting laws. It included a $700,000 ad campaign to back GOP-written bills in Georgia, the group’s first foray into advocating for state policy.

So far, the states have been the center of the debate. More than 250 bills have have been introduced in 43 states that would change how Americans vote, according to a tally by the Brennan Center for Justice, which backs expanded voting access. That includes measures that would limit mail voting, cut hours that polling places are open and impose restrictions that Democrats argue amount to the greatest assault on voting rights since Jim Crow.

That push was triggered by Trump’s lies that he lost the presidential election due to fraud — claims rejected by the courts and by prominent Republicans — and the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol that those groundless claims sparked.

But the fight over voting laws now extends far beyond Trump and is shifting to Washington, where the Democratic-led Senate will soon consider an array of voting changes. The package, known as H.R. 1, would require states to automatically register eligible voters, as well as offer same-day registration. It would limit states’ ability to purge registered voters from their rolls and restore former felons’ voting rights. Among dozens of other provisions, it would also require states to offer 15 days of early voting and allow no-excuse absentee balloting. Democrats, who are marshaling their own resources behind the bill, argue it is necessary to block what they describe as voter suppression efforts in the states.

Republicans contend it’s a grab bag of long-sought Democratic goals aimed at tilting elections in their favor. Cruz claimed it would lead to voting by millions of “criminals and illegal aliens.”

The bill “says America would be better off if more murderers were voting, America would be better off if more rapists and child molesters were voting,” Cruz said.

He added that he had recently participated in an all-day strategy call with national conservative leaders to coordinate opposition. The leaders agreed that Republicans would seek to rebrand the Democratic-backed bill as the “Corrupt Politicians Act,” he said.

The focus on voting is visible across the conservative movement, even among groups with no clear interest in the voting debate. At a televised town hall in February, leading Christian conservative Tony Perkins fielded several questions about voting before tackling topics on the social issues his Family Research Council typically focuses on.

Perkins answered the question by recalling how voting laws were made stricter in his native Louisiana after a close 1996 Senate race won by Democrats. He noted that the state now votes solidly Republican.

“When you have free, fair elections, you’re going to have outcomes that are positive,” Perkins said before urging viewers to push state lawmakers to “restore election integrity.”

Stronger voting regulations have long been a conservative goal, driven by old — and some say outdated — conventional wisdom that Republicans thrive in elections with lower turnout, and Democrats in ones with more voters. That has translated to GOP efforts to tighten voter identification laws and require more frequent voter roll purges. Both efforts tend to disproportionally exclude Black and Latino voters, groups that lean Democratic.

In a sign of the increasing attention to the issue last year, Leonard Leo, a Trump advisor and one of the strategists behind the conservative focus on the federal judiciary, formed The Honest Elections Project to push for voting restrictions and coordinate GOP effort to monitor the 2020 vote.

But the issue expanded beyond what many conservatives expected. As Trump groundlessly blamed fraud for his loss, and he and his allies lost more than 50 court cases trying to overturn the election, his conservative base became convinced of vague “irregularities” and holes in the voting system.

While Leo’s group, like other parts of the establishment GOP, kept a distance from such claims, state lawmakers stepped in quickly with bills aimed at fixing phantom problems and restoring confidence in the system.

“We’re certain our vote will count, we’re certain our vote is secure, we’re certain our system is fair and not having any sort of nefarious activities,” said Iowa Rep. Bobby Kaufmann, a Republican who authored a wide-ranging election bill that shortened the state’s early voting period.

Leo’s group has since released a list of its preferred voting law changes.

Similarly, other outside groups soon jumped into the debate that’s roiling their activists who write the letters, make phone calls and send the small donations that keep the groups relevant.

“It’s gone up the chain of priority,” said Noah Wall, executive vice president of FreedomWorks, which trained 60 top activists in Orlando last weekend on voting issues. “If you were to poll our activists right now, election integrity is going to be near the top of the list. Twelve months ago, that wasn’t the case.”

Trump’s handpicked RNC chair, Ronna Romney McDaniel, pledged to go to state legislatures to “make sure that what we saw in this election never happens again,” regurgitating President Trump’s debunked claims of illegal votes and voting procedures. 

The “election integrity committee” of the RNC is filled with members who backed the false conspiracies about the 2020 election and have publicly called for some of the most severe voting restrictions.  

In January 2021, its chairman, Florida Republican Party Chairman Joe Gruters used a #stopthesteal hashtag.  Member Drew McKissick, the Republican chair in South Carolina, tweeted false accusations by the Trump campaign in November about dead voters and vans full of Biden ballots. Member Lenar Whitney (of Louisiana) repeated conspiracy theories about Dominion voting machines at a party meeting.  

The source of this intellectual firepower? The Heritage Foundation, through its Heritage Action for America.

Just two weeks after President’s Biden’s inauguration and only three weeks after the U.S Capitol insurrection, this hot-off-off-the-press from Heritage Action: “The Facts About Election Integrity and the Need for States to Fix Their Election Systems” a study premised on “the real risk of voter fraud” that could affect “the outcome of a real election”. 

The only facts not mentioned in the conservative study were (a) the complete absence of evidence of fraud in the 2020 election, (b) a fact confirmed in over 60 lawsuits brought on behalf of Trump contesting the election (including the U.S. Supreme Court), (c) certification of the 2020 presidential election by state election officials including Republicans in “swing states”, (d) certification by the U.S. Congress, notwithstanding its interruption by the incitement Trump and conservative members of the U.S. Congress  incited insurrectionists to “stop the steal”.  

But those facts do not fit into Hertiage’s patently false premise for its study and the voter repression laws it purports to justify. 

The study explicitly states that its “election integrity” recommendations are designed to promote public “trust in our elections” but in reality they aim squarely at curtailing the vote of eligible minority and other voters who voted for Democratic candidates in the 2020 elections.]

The Heritage Action study is “rooted in the work of Hans von Spakovksky, a lawyer who has worked on voting battles  for decades, including a voter identification law in Georgia that was ruled discriminatory in 2005. He also helped to run the now-defunct voter fraud commission that Mr. Trump created after the 2016 election” [and disbanded the following year].  

Heritage Action plans a two-year roll-out of these voter suppression laws [coinciding with the 2022 midterm elections], covering swing and other states: Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, Texas and Wisconsin.  

nytimes.com, March 23 (updated April 7), 2021 [Bracketed comments from this site]

 

RNC launches ‘Committee on Election Integrity’

BY TAL AXELROD 

02/17/21 

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/539271-rnc-launches-committee-on-election-integrity/ 

The Republican National Committee (RNC) on Wednesday announced that it is forming a new Committee on Election Integrity that will advocate for “election transparency.”

The RNC said the panel will be chaired by Florida Republican Party Chairman Joe Gruters and co-chaired by Ashley MacLeay, a national committeewoman from the District of Columbia. The committee overall will consist of 12 men and 12 women from 21 states and the District of Columbia.

The formation of the committee marks a doubling down by the RNC on its support of implementing stricter voter ID laws and ensuring poll watchers are present at voting locations. The move comes as Republicans in various states look to roll back expansions in absentee and mail-in voting that were implemented during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Election integrity is one of the most critical issues we face as a Party and as a country. What we saw this past election – states undoing important safeguards, bypassing the proper legislative processes, and changing election laws in the eleventh hour – was deeply troubling and brought chaos and uncertainty to our sacred democratic processes,” said RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.

“As RNC Chair, I will not sit idly by and the Party will respond,” she added. “The RNC will play a crucial role in restoring confidence in our elections, promoting election integrity, and recommending best practices to ensure that future elections are free, fair, and transparent.” 

The panel expands on the $30 million the RNC spent in the 2020 cycle in battleground states to try to curtail absentee and mail-in voting. Former President Trump and other Republicans railed against the expansions last year, with some labeling them as “fraud” that cost Trump a second term.

Among the reforms Republicans have alleged produced fraud included no excuse absentee voting and the use of government-monitored drop boxes to collect ballots.

The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), which helps elect Republicans to state legislative seats across the country, announced a similar effort Wednesday with a “commission to restore the American people’s confidence in the integrity of their free and fair elections.”

The panel will convene top policymakers to discuss election reform, with the RSLC suggesting that trust in the November elections was undermined.

“Increasing voter participation in this country will require thoughtful repairs to restore the public’s confidence in our elections, and we need to make the reforms necessary to regain trust in the process,” said Alabama Secretary of State and commission co-chair John Merrill. “While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to anything, every state in the nation should be working to assess and improve their respective election laws.”

The two committees mark a partywide effort to rein in some of the expansions in absentee and mail-in voting that were implemented in November. Top Georgia Republicans, including those who incurred Trump’s wrath and said there was no fraud in the state, which went to President Biden, are among those advocating for stricter reforms. 

The measures being proposed include efforts to ban automatic voter registration and the use of drop boxes for returning absentee ballots. Another proposal seeks to scrap a state law that allows voters to cast absentee ballots without an excuse. 

“I do think there’s things that we need to do, seeing how many people voted absentee, the demand and the volume is significantly more than we’ve ever seen in the past,” Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) said earlier this month. “I think that gives us some reasoning to go into this session, which we’re doing now and consider other ways to make it easy to vote in Georgia, but also hard to cheat.”

Democrats have cast such efforts as attempts to lower turnout in future elections to try to help Republicans make up lost ground after losing the House, Senate and White House during Trump’s term.

 

RNC to create election integrity committee

by Mica Soellner, Breaking News Reporter | 

February 17, 2021 

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/rnc-election-integrity-commission

[Excerpts:] 

The Republican National Committee will form a temporary election integrity committee in an effort to instill confidence among voters and inspire transparency in the election process.

“Election integrity is one of the most critical issues we face as a party and as a country,” RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said. 

 The committee’s goal is to fight Democrat-led attempts to change election laws, and it aims to work with state parties on voting policies, including expanding voter ID and ensuring poll watchers are allowed proper observation space.

Donald Trump and his allies long sowed doubt in the integrity of absentee ballots and alleged for months that the former president was the true victor of the election against now-President Biden. Trump’s legal team was engaged in a number of court fights from November to January, claiming mass voter fraud helped ensure a victory for Biden.

On Wednesday, Trump repeated claims that he was the winner of the 2020 election while paying tribute to the late conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh.

“Rush thought we won, and so do I, by the way,” Trump said on Fox News. “I think we won substantially. Rush thought we won. He thought it was over at 10-10:30 p.m. [on election night]. It was over. And a lot of other people feel that way too, but Rush felt that way strongly. Many people do. Many professionals do. And I don’t think that could have happened to a Democrat.”

The move follows a commission launched by the Republican State Leadership Committee, which focuses on GOP legislators and secretaries of state, that will study reforms to voting rules in order to accommodate the coronavirus pandemic.

Republican legislatures across the country have been pushing for stricter voting laws since the 2020 election, which saw expansions of mail-in voting and increased access to voting due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The committee’s goal is to fight Democrat-led attempts to change election laws, and it aims to work with state parties on voting policies, including expanding voter ID and ensuring poll watchers are allowed proper observation space.

The committee will be co-chaired by Florida Republican Party Chairman Joe Gruters and National Committeewoman for Washington, D.C., Ashley MacLeay. The full committee will consist of 12 men and 12 women, representing the RNC from 21 states and Washington.

 

Research note: “Examining false beliefs about voter fraud in the wake of the 2020 Presidential Election, 

https://misinforeview.hks.harvard.edu,

Jan. 11, 2021

 

State legislatures to start 2021 with focus on election procedures

Many are using debunked claims of election fraud as justification for changes.

Dec. 31. 2020

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/state-legislatures-start-2021-focus-election-procedures/story?id=74879533

[Excerpts:]

After the president’s and his allies’ failed attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election in courtrooms and statehouses across the battleground states, state legislatures are now setting their sights on the 2021 session to attempt to roll back expanded access to the polls.

“Republican lawmakers in a variety of states are using the president’s lies as justification for making voting harder and suppressing the vote,” Sylvia Albert, the director of voting and elections at the nonpartisan voting rights group Common Cause, told ABC News.

Republicans are using fraud claims in battleground states like Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, Arizona and Texas into the 2021 session as justification for proposed legislation that would undo some provisions, some implemented during the coronavirus, such as the use of ballot drop boxes and no-excuse absentee voting.

Myrna Pérez, director of the nonpartisan Brennan Center’s Voting Rights and Elections Program, told ABC News that it’s too early to tell which bills will have broad support, but politicians shouldn’t be promoting baseless claims of fraud, even if their voters are pushing for it.

“We think it’s unfortunate that instead of trying to promote the safety of the election, some politicians kind of prolong the counterproductive lies that we were seeing.”

Pérez said although politicians are responding to demands from their constituents, restoring faith in democracy needs to be a top priority.

“I think we’re going to have to do a lot of restoring,” she said. “Not only are some people believing some of the lies, so we’re going to have to undo some of that, and we’re also going to have to do a lot of work to get the folks who are just disenchanted by how some politicians behave.”

“I think that that’s really tough. I think it’s going to get a lot better when we have politicians that are trying to look at things accurately and trying to educate their voters, and compete for votes rather than lie to voters. But I also think that we’re going to have a lot of outreach and education and reconciliation and restoring and debunking,” she added.

Pérez said it isn’t the job of voters to ensure that politicians keep their jobs.

“We are not supposed to be giving our politicians job security, we’re supposed to be making them responsive to us,” she said. “I do think that it is possible that over time, folks will consider the possibility that you can you can just compete for votes, rather than try and cut people out.”

“My hope is that folks are nuanced enough so that they decide that there’s something more important than whether or not they win and that suppressing votes isn’t a path to victory,” she added. 

 

Conspiracy theories, election rigging, and support for democratic norms, 

Research and Politics

July-September 2020: 1–9 

Bethany Albertson and Kimberly Guiler 

https://doi.org/10.1177/2053168020959859

 

“Every election is determined by the people who show up.”

— Larry Sabato