Videos show conservative activists discussing limiting mail-in voting: report

As the Nov. 3 presidential election quickly approaches, videos obtained by The Washington Post show conservative activists discussing limiting mail-in voting. 

The videos are from events organized in February and August by the Council for National Policy (CNP), a group that supports conservative activists and donors, according to the Post.

President Trump and the right have frequently criticized mail-in voting as a tactic to help Democrats win in November. The president has routinely asserted that mail-in voting would lead to widespread voter fraud. 

“We need to stop those ballots from going out, and I want the lawyers here to tell us what to do,” said Tom Fitton, president of the tax-exempt charity Judicial Watch, at an Aug. 21 meeting. “But this is a crisis that we’re not prepared for. I mean, our side is not prepared for.”

Fitton said that the left is “war-gaming” a plan to delay the election until Jan. 20, 2021, which would enable Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to become acting president.

“This is kind of like crazy talk” among political people, Fitton said. “This is not an insignificant concern.”

Another video from CNP showed conservative activist Charlie Kirk discussing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on America’s colleges. He said that so many campuses had closed, which meant that hundreds of thousands of left-leaning students probably would not vote. 

“So please, keep the campuses closed,” Kirk said in August as the audience cheered, according to another video obtained by the Post. “Like, it’s a great thing.”

At the February meetings, Fitton and CNP executive committee member Brent Bozell said the right will begin “ballot harvesting,” which involves collecting and delivering sealed absentee ballots from churches and other institutions. At the time, the president and other Republicans were blasting ballot harvesting, claiming it would lead to voter fraud 

Yet Ralph Reed, chairman of the nonprofit Faith & Freedom Coalition, told the CNP audience that conservatives would use the technique, according to the Post.

“And so our organization is going to be harvesting ballots in churches,” he said. “We’re going to be specifically going in not only to white evangelical churches, but into Hispanic and Asian churches and collecting those ballots.”

Christian Adams, a former Justice Department official and the president of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, a charity, described mail-in voting as “the number one left-wing agenda,” and told activists to not worry about the criticism they would face. 

“Be not afraid of the accusations that you’re a voter suppressor, you’re a racist and so forth,” Adams said.

Mail-in voting has become a contentious issue since the election is taking place in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, and voting in-person increases the likelihood of contracting the virus. Yet despite the president’s persistent assertions, FBI Director Christopher Wray has cast doubts over claims that mail-in voting could lead to widespread voter fraud. 

“We have not seen, historically, any kind of coordinated national voter fraud effort in a major election, whether it’s by mail or otherwise,” Wray told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in September. “We have seen voter fraud at the local level from time to time, so my comments should in no way be construed as minimizing how seriously we take our responsibility to investigate such incidents.”

Facebook and Twitter have also flagged posts from Trump suggesting that his supporters attempt to vote both via mail-in ballot and in-person. Both Trump and first lady Melania Trump cast absentee ballots in the Florida primary election in August.

Tags 2020 election Absentee ballot Ballot collection Christopher Wray Donald Trump Electoral fraud Melania Trump Nancy Pelosi Postal voting in the United States Voter suppression

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