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The Washington Post

GOP report shows plan to ramp up focus on disproven election fraud claims

The report prepared by the Republican National Committee proposes expanding ‘election integrity’ activities in response to perceptions of a rigged process

Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, speaks during a RNC meeting in Dana Point, Calif., on Friday. (Kyle Grillot/Bloomberg News)
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A new internal report prepared by the Republican National Committee proposes creating a permanent infrastructure in every state to ramp up “election integrity” activities in response to perceptions within GOP ranks of widespread fraud and abuse in the way the country selects its leaders.

The report, prepared by the RNC’s “National Election Integrity Team” and obtained by The Washington Post, reveals the degree to which Republicans continue to trade on former president Donald Trump’s false claims that Democrats and their allies rigged his defeat in 2020.

The report suggests building a massive new party organization involving state-level “election integrity officers” and intensive new training models for poll workers and observers — all based on unsubstantiated claims that Democrats have implemented election procedures that allow for rigged votes.

Yet the report also acknowledges that the GOP’s obsession with election fraud has cost the party, most notably in 2021, when mistrust in elections contributed to a drop in Republican turnout in two U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia, costing the party its Senate majority.

The report concludes that the party must continue building on efforts begun after that electoral disaster to restore Republican faith in their elections. But instead of combating misinformation about fraud, the report encourages the recruitment of staff and volunteers to monitor elections and the development of more aggressive legal strategies to “hold election officials accountable for violating the law.”

“If there is corruption in the election infrastructure, then having Republicans in the system will expose many issues,” the report states. “Second, if Republicans see how the election process works up close, then they will be able to identify and fix problems, instead of boycotting elections entirely.”

In the report, the RNC takes credit for “restoring Republican confidence in the electoral process” in 2022 “by building the largest, most well-trained election integrity organization in the history of the Republican Party.”

As evidence of its success, the report cites turnout in a more recent U.S. Senate runoff in Georgia, one between Republican Herschel Walker and Democrat Raphael G. Warnock. But the report does not note that Walker, who was outspoken in his belief that Trump had been cheated of victory, lost that runoff — and election-denying candidates running for statewide office in multiple battlegrounds lost their races last year.

Dozens of judges — including many who were nominated by Trump or other Republicans — ruled against claims that fraud had marred the 2020 vote. By every available metric, voter fraud in America has been shown to be rare.

In a statement, the RNC called the report “an early draft document that reflects contributions from only a small number of RNC staff.”

“In the coming months, staff will be working with the RNC Election Integrity Committee to supplement its original report by drawing on the experience and many successes of the program in the 2021-22 cycle,” the RNC said. “Official findings will be released in the coming months.”

The truth about election fraud: It's rare.

The report describes a “continuing onslaught of Democrat election manipulation,” claiming without evidence that Democrats want to establish “unregulated drop boxes” and “vote collection vans,” to mail ballots or ballot applications to voters who should not be on the rolls and to keep Republicans out of positions as poll workers or observers.

It asserts that Democrats over the past decade have built a “permanent infrastructure designed to create strategic advantages in every aspect of election administration.” It cited what it described as Democrats’ focus on election-related litigation to shape law, its voter-registration efforts and its organizational might in organizing vote-by-mail campaigns.

However, it does not mention what many Republicans have been saying since the party’s underperformance in 2022: that the GOP must embrace early voting and mail voting, or risk continuing to be swamped in those areas by Democrats.

“We allowed the Democrats to vote for 50 days, and we wanted to vote on one day,” John Fredericks, a right-wing talk radio host popular with Trump supporters, said in an interview at the RNC meeting last week. “And you wonder why you can’t win. It is the most insane strategy in the history of man.”

The report was prepared by five RNC staffers including one, Thomas Lane, who reportedly participated in the Trump campaign’s effort in late 2020 to convene alternate presidential electors in seven states who planned to help overturn Joe Biden’s victory. Lane was named in subpoenas, and the FBI searched his home as part of its investigation into the effort.