Campaign

RNC launches 'Committee on Election Integrity'

The Republican National Committee (RNC) on Wednesday announced that it is forming a new Committee on Election Integrity that will advocate for "election transparency."

The RNC said the panel will be chaired by Florida Republican Party Chairman Joe Gruters and co-chaired by Ashley MacLeay, a national committeewoman from the District of Columbia. The committee overall will consist of 12 men and 12 women from 21 states and the District of Columbia.

The formation of the committee marks a doubling down by the RNC on its support of implementing stricter voter ID laws and ensuring poll watchers are present at voting locations. The move comes as Republicans in various states look to roll back expansions in absentee and mail-in voting that were implemented during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Election integrity is one of the most critical issues we face as a Party and as a country. What we saw this past election - states undoing important safeguards, bypassing the proper legislative processes, and changing election laws in the eleventh hour - was deeply troubling and brought chaos and uncertainty to our sacred democratic processes," said RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.

"As RNC Chair, I will not sit idly by and the Party will respond," she added. "The RNC will play a crucial role in restoring confidence in our elections, promoting election integrity, and recommending best practices to ensure that future elections are free, fair, and transparent." 

The panel expands on the $30 million the RNC spent in the 2020 cycle in battleground states to try to curtail absentee and mail-in voting. Former President Trump and other Republicans railed against the expansions last year, with some labeling them as "fraud" that cost Trump a second term.

Among the reforms Republicans have alleged produced fraud included no excuse absentee voting and the use of government-monitored drop boxes to collect ballots.

The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC), which helps elect Republicans to state legislative seats across the country, announced a similar effort Wednesday with a "commission to restore the American people's confidence in the integrity of their free and fair elections."

The panel will convene top policymakers to discuss election reform, with the RSLC suggesting that trust in the November elections was undermined.

"Increasing voter participation in this country will require thoughtful repairs to restore the public's confidence in our elections, and we need to make the reforms necessary to regain trust in the process," said Alabama Secretary of State and commission co-chair John Merrill. "While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to anything, every state in the nation should be working to assess and improve their respective election laws."

The two committees mark a partywide effort to rein in some of the expansions in absentee and mail-in voting that were implemented in November. Top Georgia Republicans, including those who incurred Trump's wrath and said there was no fraud in the state, which went to President Biden, are among those advocating for stricter reforms. 

The measures being proposed include efforts to ban automatic voter registration and the use of drop boxes for returning absentee ballots. Another proposal seeks to scrap a state law that allows voters to cast absentee ballots without an excuse. 

"I do think there's things that we need to do, seeing how many people voted absentee, the demand and the volume is significantly more than we've ever seen in the past," Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) said earlier this month. "I think that gives us some reasoning to go into this session, which we're doing now and consider other ways to make it easy to vote in Georgia, but also hard to cheat."

Democrats have cast such efforts as attempts to lower turnout in future elections to try to help Republicans make up lost ground after losing the House, Senate and White House during Trump's term.

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