GOP goes on election integrity offense before November with lawsuits, congressional probes and laws

Republicans are aggressively pushing election integrity from all sides in stark contrast to 2024.

Published: June 13, 2024 11:00pm

Republicans have prioritized election integrity this year with new laws, lawsuits, and congressional investigative subpoenas ahead of the November general election. And they have already scored some wins against Democratic-led jurisdictions.

The multifaceted approach in 2024 contrasts with the GOP strategy four years ago that mostly focused on litigation only.

In 2020, there were as many as 400 lawsuits brought by both Republicans and Democrats regarding election procedures and laws as election administration was quickly changed during the COVID-19 lockdowns leading up to the presidential election.

In September 2022, The Amistad Project reviewed the 400 cases and found that a greater percentage of lawsuits brought by Republicans were won on the merits than those brought by Democrats. Overall, Republicans brought fewer cases to court (132) than Democrats (180) regarding the 2020 election as Democrats sued to change election laws before the November election.

This presidential election cycle, both Congress and the GOP are using their respective tools to ensure elections will be secure.

In Congress, House Administration Committee Chairman Bryan Steil, R-Wis., on Thursday subpoenaed 15 Cabinet officials for documents related to “Bidenbucks,” which is President Joe Biden’s executive order to turn as many federal agencies as possible into get-out-the-vote centers across all states.

On May 15, Steil requested the Cabinet secretaries provide materials regarding their work on Executive Order 14019, often referred to by critics as “Bidenbucks.” However, Steil has not received the requested documents, resulting in his issuing the subpoenas.

“Bidenbucks” alludes to “Zuckerbucks,” the roughly $400 million from Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg widely alleged to have been funneled through left-leaning nonprofits to turn out the Democratic vote in the 2020 presidential election. 

According to Biden’s executive order, “The head of each agency shall evaluate ways in which the agency can, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law, promote voter registration and voter participation,” including “soliciting and facilitating approved, nonpartisan third-party organizations and State officials to provide voter registration services on agency premises.” 

Steil told the John Solomon Reports podcast on Thursday, “What [Biden] did is effectively weaponized every federal agency to work to drive forward a partisan advantage in elections, in particular, by strategically working to register specific voters that they know will benefit the president.”

He mentioned that “Bidenbucks” includes federal agencies submitting GOTV plans to the White House, such as “the Bureau of Prisons looking at registering prisoners” and “the Department of Education allowing funds to be used for student work for partisan purposes to register very specific people.”

“The fact that these 15 secretaries have not given me their strategic plan gives me great pause as to what is in these plans,” Steil later added.

The House chairman has also focused on securing elections in Washington, D.C., to set an example for the rest of the country.

Last month, the House Administration Committee held a hearing titled, “American Confidence in Elections: Preventing Noncitizen Voting and Other Foreign Interference.” During the hearing, Steil said that 500 non-citizens are registered to vote in Washington, D.C.

A week after the hearing, the House passed a bill repealing a 2022 Washington, D.C., law that allows non-citizens to vote in local elections, with most Democrats voting against it.

Steil said Thursday, “Just to lay out how egregious and ridiculous this is, workers at, say the Russian or Chinese Embassy, if they reside in our nation's capital for simply 30 days under current law, they're eligible to vote for city council and other municipal levels in this November's elections.

“The House passed legislation that would overturn this law, once again reinstating and saying that U.S. elections are only for U.S. citizens,” he added. “The Senate and Chuck Schumer are refusing to act.”

“They don't need to be here legally or illegally,” Steil said regarding which immigrants can vote. “Any individual who is residing in Washington, D.C., for 30 days is eligible to vote under current law. That includes legal immigrants, it includes embassy employees, it includes illegal immigrants.”

As Congress focuses on passing laws and issuing subpoenas, GOP party committees are concentrating on filing lawsuits.

On Wednesday, a Michigan judge partially ruled against Democratic Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson's lenient guidance on signature verification, following a lawsuit brought by the Republican National Committee, Michigan Republican Party, and the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Michigan Court of Claims Judge Christopher Yates ruled "that the 'initial presumption' of validity in signature verification of absentee-ballot applications and envelopes mandated by the December 2023 guidance manual" issued by Benson "is incompatible with the Constitution and laws of the State of Michigan."

RNC Chairman Michael Whatley said in a statement Thursday, “This RNC legal victory confirms the importance of mail ballot safeguards in Michigan’s Constitution. The Secretary of State’s covert attempts to sidestep these rules were rightfully rejected by the court, exposing that her attacks on election integrity have no substance. This win is just the latest development in our ongoing fight to promote fair and transparent elections in the Great Lakes State.” 

Whatley replaced Ronna McDaniel as RNC chairman in March, after McDaniel faced calls from within her party to resign. During McDaniel’s tenure, the RNC experienced money problems and the GOP lost or underperformed in the 2018, 2020, and 2022 election cycles.

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