Sun. Jun 23rd, 2024

Republicans vow a robust ‘ballot harvesting’ operation after years of protest and fraud claims

By 37ci3 May17,2024



After years of protesting the practice of collecting and delivering other voters’ ballots, Republicans are promising to launch their own “ballot collection” operation in the run-up to the 2024 presidential election.

Republicans after Democrats encouraged their supporters to use alternative voting methods in the last election change ringtones about practices like mail-in voting and “ballot packing,” as conservatives have ironically invoked in the past trying to close that loophole.

But the GOP’s effort is running into grassroots voters who are skeptical of the practice, as well as laws the party itself has pushed to prevent ballot counting in key states.

In an interview with Newsmax In late April, Republican National Committee co-chair Lara Trump said the party’s ballot-gathering plans were “going well.”

“The plans for this are going to be big,” he said. “We’re firing on all cylinders.”

An RNC official, who requested anonymity to speak candidly, said the party is focusing its efforts on the battleground states of Arizona, Nevada, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia and North Carolina. But thanks in part to Republicans across the country who have long argued that ballot collection is a tool for fraud, the practice of having political volunteers or operatives collect and deliver ballots for other voters is expressly legal in only one of those states, Nevada.

Ballot collection by anyone other than a close relative was banned by Republican-controlled legislatures in Arizona in 2016 and Georgia in 2021.

In North Carolina and Michigan, it has been illegal for family members to return ballots to voters for years. In Pennsylvania, only voters with a disability or an emergency voter can appoint someone else to return their ballot.

In Wisconsin, where Republicans previously fought to ban ballot stacking and the use of drop boxes, the law describes how voters can carry their own ballots. State Republicans say it might encourages his supporters begin collecting ballots and using outside ballot boxes if the state Supreme Court, as expected, overturns its ruling banning most of them.

“To be clear, we don’t like boxes,” an RNC official said. “We’ll still use the boxes if they’re available if needed. Same thing with the harvest: Where there’s an experiment involving Democrats, we’ll go you also participate.”

Ballot collection has historically been popular in minority communities—Native American reservations with limited postal service or states with large numbers of mail-in voters. But the practice has gained notoriety in recent years, thanks to both credible cases of voter fraud and unsubstantiated allegations of stolen elections.

In a 2018 North Carolina congressional campaign, a Republican operative was accused of illegally collecting voter ballots, prompting the state’s board of elections to order a rerun.

After Donald Trump refused to accept his loss to Joe Biden in the 2020 election, he and his supporters falsely claimed widespread ballot-stuffing had taken place. A after the fall The movie “2000 Mules” alleged that Democratic-aligned “mules” were paid to collect and cast ballots in Arizona. GeorgiaMichigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Last year, the court A Bridgeport, Connecticut’s mayoral primary election is overEvidence emerged after the collection of illegal ballots.

In Nevada, Republican officials say they plan to go door-to-door to collect ballots, as well as spend time offering help delivering their ballots to voters at places like retirement communities and churches.

“When you change the rules, you either adapt and change your strategy or you lose,” Washoe County GOP Chairman Bruce Parks said. “During the last election period, we did not adapt to the new rules as needed. This election period will not be like that.”

Parks said her local party began its ballot efforts in Washoe County, home to less than half a million residents, earlier this year during the presidential primary season, which they believe will be a ripe environment in long-term care facilities and retirement communities. for the collection of ballots in November. After mail-in ballots are sent out, the party will encourage voters to hand-deliver or volunteer their ballots.

“If you don’t adapt, you will die. We have to adapt. Is it tasteless? Do we consider it cheating? Absolutely,” Parks said. “But if you don’t, and you know for sure that the opposition is heavily involved, then you’re setting yourself up for failure.”

“Change of Mind”

The concerns Parks describes could make it difficult for Republicans to collect ballots this cycle.

“It’s definitely a change in mindset,” said one county party chairman, who spoke candidly on condition of anonymity. “Regardless, there will be a significant number of people – Republicans – who do not trust anyone with their ballots. … It’s a hurdle you have to overcome.”

Leo Blundo, chairman of the Republican Party of Nye County, Nevada, said his local party is working to strengthen local efforts and use RNC messaging. “Save your voice.” He said the county, which has just over 51,000 residents, has more than a hundred volunteers ready to turn out voters.

“At the local level, it’s about building that trust and confidence between people,” Blundo said. “We are rebranding and rebuilding the local Republican Party for the last term.”

According to him, voting by mail is simpler than taking voters to polling stations.

“It’s just that easy – I can give you my ballot and be done with it,” he said.

In urging voters to vote by mail, Blundo said he told voters about the county commissioner race, which he won by one vote.

“I know the lady who was supposed to go vote, but she was, yeah, then she got into a car accident,” he said. “It’s really unfortunate, but every vote counts.”

In Esmeralda County, which has a population of just 729, County GOP Chairwoman Theresa Moller said at least a half-dozen people plan to collect ballots at churches and go door-to-door. While in the past he has helped people deliver their ballots when asked, he said this year’s efforts will be more robust.

“Hey, if they’re going to collect ballots, we’re going to collect ballots,” he said.

Moller has expressed doubts about the integrity of state elections and ballot counting, but he said he will send people who are well-known in their communities and trusted by voters.

Several Nevada party chairmen said they would encourage ballot collection and discourage voters from using the postal service, which they worry is unreliable — especially after the United States Postal Service announced that Move Reno distribution center to California. (The change will take effect after the 2024 elections, “Reno Gazette Journal” reported on this.)

Democrats, for their part, have long had success with mail-in voting, backed by ballot collection where it’s legal. The Democratic National Committee said it plans to spend “tens of millions of dollars” to support voting programs such as mail-in and early voting.

In a statement, he criticized the RNC’s handling of mail-in voting more broadly.

“As Donald Trump and his MAGA henchmen continue to attack mail-in voting, the RNC is actively deploying an army of lawyers to make it harder for Americans to count their ballots,” Alex Floyd, the DNC’s director of agile response, said in a statement. .

The RNC has filed a number of election lawsuits this year, including one in Nevada to block mail-in ballots received four days after the election from being counted as long as they are postmarked before the polls close.

“Let’s be clear about what this is: the RNC and Trump’s newly formed team of hard-line election deniers [RNC Chair] “Michael Whatley and Lara Trump are not just trying to make it harder to vote, they’re trying to disrupt this entire election, just like they did in 2020,” Floyd said.

While the strong ballot effort is new for Nevada Republicans, California Republicans have been using the practice for years.

Two weeks before the 2022 election, California Republicans identified 18,000 people with GOP voting records who had yet to vote. They began repeatedly contacting those voters and collecting mail-in ballots in hopes of electing Modesto Republican John Duarte in an open and competitive congressional race.

The state’s GOP primary paid off: They saw a 34% increase in votes cast before Election Day that year. Duarte won his district, which had a 14-point Democratic registration advantage, by just 564 votes, according to the Associated Press.



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By 37ci3

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