Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

Republicans slowly rev up poll monitoring operation ahead of election, but questions remain about its scope

By 37ci3 Jun5,2024

National and state Republican Party officials are slowly ramping up recruitment and making what they say are “unprecedented” plans. Army on election day 100,000 survey workers, monitors and lawyers.

A Republican National Committee official told NBC News that the organization has already hired “tens of thousands” of people to serve in those roles and has hired paid election integrity directors in 13 states, including key battleground states, to oversee volunteers. Weekly drills are underway as the party doubles down on election integrity, one of former President Donald Trump’s pet issues, five months out from the 2024 vote, the official said.

The party has otherwise given scant information on its plans as critics say the 100,000-strong force is overzealous in its efforts to combat the so-called enemy of widespread voter fraud. In interviews, state and national Republican officials repeatedly declined to offer specifics about hiring, training activities and deployment plans.

Officials said the 100,000 figure is a goal for their national effort and are recruiting volunteers through Protectthevote.com, a website run by local parties and the RNC. An RNC official said the party will focus specifically on boosting volunteer numbers in seven battleground states: Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada, Arizona, Georgia and North Carolina. Supporters interested in voting are also reaching out to local election officials as the RNC tries to get more Republicans to work the polls and count ballots.

Several states, including Arizona, Michigan, Wisconsin and Virginia, have poll worker parity requirements that force officers to hire equal members of both parties. In materials shared with donors, the RNC bragged about filing complaints and lawsuits in Wisconsin, Arizona and Nevada to try to get more Republicans on the ballot.

“Our unprecedented efforts are in full swing for the primaries and will continue to ramp up on November 5th. Every American deserves a system where voting is easy and fraud is difficult, and our team will ensure that every vote is counted legally and fairly,” said Gineen Bresso, director of election integrity for the RNC and the Trump campaign.

But Democrats, who have experience working closely with voter protection efforts, argued that the RNC was overstating their work and said they doubted that Republicans could actually hire that many people to monitor voting for fraud.

“Every two years we see a different fictitious number, and the actual number of people who show up every two years is nowhere close,” said Justin Levitt, a law professor and former White House democracy adviser to President Joe Biden. “They never even got a fraction of that number.”

Levitt, who ran the voter advocacy campaign for Barack Obama’s 2008 candidacy, said the campaign “did really well and brought together tens of thousands of volunteers and advocates to answer questions and deal with issues that came up. He said it would be harder to recruit people to look for voter fraud because it is so rare.

The RNC’s election integrity work has been elevated since Trump won the Republican presidential nomination in March. The party filed a series of lawsuits alleging that the voter lists were inflated in some provinces and provided election lawyers. In April, the RNC made a promise deploy an army of supporters Election Day in November to “protect votes and secure a big win.”

In early May, the RNC told donors it was implementing a full-time, permanent Department of Election Integrity, bragging about suing to defend voter ID-like election restrictions implemented by Republican legislatures across the country in recent years.

As for the all-volunteer army, Republican officials in many of the seven states targeted by the RNC remained vague about progress on recruiting volunteers. what specific tasks they will be sent to perform.

In Wisconsin, GOP Chairman Brian Schimming said that if the state Supreme Court rules, as many expect, volunteers will be deployed not only as poll workers and poll monitors, but also to monitor the boxes. to expand their use ahead of the state’s November elections.

Schimming predicted there will be “thousands” of poll workers and poll watchers, as well as “hundreds” of attorneys, in Wisconsin before early voting begins in the state. He said the “groundwork” was laid last fall during the state GOP recruitment drive, when officials recruited 5,500 volunteers they could use.

Victoria LaCivita, spokeswoman for the coordinated Trump campaign in Michigan, said GOP officials in the state are “hiring nationwide” for volunteer roles and that “our election integrity teams are working every day to recruit and train people.”

But he declined to provide specific recruiting numbers, he wrote in an email, “because that would be like asking the University of Michigan to share the playbook with Ohio State before the big game.”

North Carolina GOP spokesman Matt Mercer said the party is “committed to building on election integrity efforts to ensure that elections in our state are safe, secure, fair and transparent in 2020 and 2022” and that the party is “actively engaged and engaged at all stages of the election process.” But when asked for details on recruitment and other prospective logistics, a North Carolina GOP official declined to provide details, saying “the methods and metrics we use are proprietary.”

Spokesmen for the Pennsylvania, Arizona and Nevada Republican parties declined to answer questions about recruitment efforts and election integrity programs, while a spokeswoman for the Georgia Republican Party did not respond to questions.

Republican officials in many battleground states also pointed to the mounting mountain of election litigation the party is leading as part of a broader effort.

In March, the Nevada Republican Party and the RNC jointly filed a lawsuit with his claim that the state’s voter rolls were “inflated” and that Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar, a Democrat, “improperly maintained” the state’s voter registration rolls. They filed another lawsuit last time challenging a state rule that allows mail-in ballots to be received within four days of polling day, arguing that the deadline violates federal law, and another suit on Monday Objecting to the counting of unpostmarked ballots after Nevada’s election day.

The RNC and the Michigan Republican Party have filed similar lawsuits In March and May, “inflated” and “inaccurate” voter lists, as well “illegal” instruction on signature verification practices for absentee voters.

In North Carolina, the state GOP, along with the RNC, sued last month to seek stricter rules on accepting mail-in ballots, as well as what forms of identification are required under state voter ID laws.

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By 37ci3

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