The Republican Party is hatching a plan to infiltrate polling places using GOP-trained operatives and to create an “army” of right-wing lawyers in order to make it easier for the party to challenge and overturn election results, newly leaked video recordings reveal.
A Michigan-based Republican National Committee (RNC staffer gave an overview of the party’s plans to create an online database to help establish a network Republican-friendly lawyers, poll workers, and other resources that can be used to challenge election results at polling stations in Democratic-majority locales. Politico reports. Party members claim that by installing GOP operatives trained as poll workers, the party can gain more access to ballots, and more power to overturn elections.
“Being a poll worker, you just have so many more rights and things you can do to stop something than [as] a poll challenger,” Michigan RNC election director Matthew Seifried said in a recorded meeting with GOP activists last November. He said that the key to the plan is to ensure that GOP operatives assume official roles as poll workers.
According to reports, the party had been working on this plan for months. PoliticoThe RNC obtained tapes between the summer of 2021, and May of this past year. An RNC spokesperson told the publication that the goal is to “even [the] playing field” in traditionally Democratic-leaning areas — all while the Republican Party works to erode voting rights and potentially overturn election results entirely.
The plan is an extension of the party’s goal of biasing elections toward Republicans after Donald Trump lied about the 2020 presidential election being affected by widespread voter fraud — even as Republican voters Move on2020 election. If it is successful, it will operate at a lower level and be less visible than moves like voter suppression bills, which state legislators have been passing in large numbers.
Party operatives claim that Republicans will need a large number of sympathetic lawyers in order to win these legal battles. “It’s going to be an army” of lawyers to back up the poll workers, Seifried said at a training session in October, appearing to acknowledge that the party will have to go through extralegal or otherwise legally intricate means to obtain the results Republicans want. “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?”
The majority of states have requirements for the partisan makeup of poll workersTo protect elections from bias, it is important to balance the vote. Republicans have been attacking election at every level, working to pass legislationTo bias election officials towards the right while waging war loud violentAttacks on poll workers. This could have a chilling effect on Democratic poll workers’ ability to help run elections — indeed, in some placesIt has already led the to the demise of Democratic election officials.
If the party can successfully recruit poll workers to contest voters’ votes, and those contests are successful, it could lead directly to local coups on a scale that Democrats may find difficult to combat.
Republicans have already met their goal of recruiting 5,600 people to become poll workers since the winter. Sefried has submitted 850 people to Detroit election officials. Conservative activists have also been holding trainings across multiple states with activists in the hopes of compiling an alphabetical list of district attorneys who would support Republican election challenges.
“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,” said Tim Griffin, legal counsel to the Amistad Project, which Trump’s former lawyer Rudy Giuliani once identified as a “partner” to Trump’s lawsuits over the 2020 election, in a training. “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.”
Other covert strategies have been used by Republicans to win their votes. As the American Prospect reports, the RNC has been setting up local centers aimed at swaying poor and non-white voters — groups that the Democratic Party establishment often take for granted — toward Republicans, even as politicians in the partyAccept violent white supremacist ideologies.