It’s essentially an open secret that Republicans have to cheat to win. With the go-ahead from federal courts, the party is prepared to do just that.
Vice reports that the Republican Party intends to spend $20 million to recruit a network of up to 50,000 volunteers to monitor poll locations. In 2018, a federal court allowed a decree that had been enacted for decades to expire. That decree prevented the Republican National Committee from enacting ballot security measures. The decree was enacted in 1981 after the RNC enlisted armed, off-duty police officers to patrol majority-minority precincts. Now that there is nothing on the books stopping them anymore, it appears that the RNC is fully back on its bullshit.
The plan is to have these poll monitors stationed across 15 states to “monitor polling places and challenge ballots and voters deemed suspicious,” Vice notes. I can only imagine what constitutes a “suspicious voter.”
Republicans have steadily tried to tip the scales in their favor over the years, instituting stringent voter ID laws in 18 states. Vice notes that in Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp and the GOP legislature canceled an election to place a new judge on the state’s Supreme Court so that Kemp could appoint a Republican in a state that has seen a recent shift to the left, so that seat was likely in play. Republicans have also engaged in aggressively partisan gerrymandering, resulting in lawsuits filed against GOP-legislatures in Wisconsin and North Carolina. Some of the money in the $20 million sum is meant to fight such lawsuits.
This effort to monitor polls comes as the party has heavily fought against proposals to expand vote-by-mail despite the fact that, you know, we’re kind of in the midst of an unprecedented pandemic. Wisconsin held an in-person election on April 7 and a study released by the National Bureau for Economic Research found a “statistically and economically significant association between in-person voting and the spread of COVID-19 two to three weeks after the election.” And despite facing a life-threatening pandemic, Wisconsin voters still showed up to thwart Republicans’ plans to steal the election.
The president recently called voting by mail “corrupt.” It’s worth noting that he voted by mail in Florida’s March primary.