“Republican National Committee courts election conspiracy theorists to help watch polls”

Zachary Roth:

As the Republican National Committee ramps up plans to monitor the polls for illegal voting this fall, the national party is increasingly working with a loose network of anti-fraud extremists who have been found to routinely spread election lies.

The extremists also have close ties to the prominent far-right conspiracy theorists who tried to overturn the 2020 results of the presidential election.

The director of the Republican National Committee’s department for “election integrity” — tighter voting rules that prioritize anti-fraud measures over access — spoke at an April 4 online meeting hosted by two Florida activists who are close allies of the pillow entrepreneur and leading election-conspiracy theorist Mike Lindell.

States Newsroom attended the meeting, and video of it was posted online by the organizers.

It was just one of several recent episodes in which top RNC staff have reached out to large-scale purveyors of election falsehoods or right-wing extremists as the party recruits volunteers to guard the vote. 

Election officials and election administration experts have repeatedly said there is no evidence of large-scale fraud or illegal voting in the 2020 election. Hundreds of lawsuits intended to uncover significant fraud have found very little.

The GOP’s growing outreach to these groups serves as the latest warning about the threat to this fall’s vote that could still be posed by the “big lie” that the 2020 election was stolen, election experts say.

“It’s one thing when fringe conspiracy theorists spread lies about elections,” said David Becker, an election administration expert who founded and runs the Center for Election Innovation and Research. “But it’s particularly disappointing to see a major political party give a platform to extremists whose testimony and statements have been found time and again to be false, and non-credible by the courts.”

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