In the weeks after the 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump and his allies were unable to get far in their attempts to prove widespread voter fraud. There were two reasons for that.
First, there wasn’t any, as numerous investigations by journalists, expert reports and court rulings showed. But second, Republican election officials in multiple states repeatedly said that their counts and recounts were accurate, and they defended the integrity of the election. For all the pressure that the Trump camp brought to bear, well-trained, civic-minded election workers carried out their duty to maintain the machinery of American voting.
Many top Republican Party officials and lawmakers have spent the last two years striking back, and drawn the most attention for their efforts to pass “voter integrity” laws that aim to make voting more onerous under the guise of preventing fraud. From January 2021 to May of this year, just under three dozen restrictive laws had been passed in nearly 20 states, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.
These are pernicious laws, and they undermine Americans’ hard-won rights to vote. But just as important is the matter of who counts the votes, and who decides which votes count and which do not.
This is where Mr. Trump’s allies have focused much of their scheming since his re-election defeat. Their mission is to take over America’s election infrastructure, or at least key parts of it, from the ground up by filling key positions of influence with Trump sympathizers. Rather than threatening election officials, they will be the election officials — the poll workers and county commissioners and secretaries of state responsible for overseeing the casting, counting and certifying of votes. [Continue reading…]