RNC Amplifies Election Lawsuit Efforts Across Swing States, Critics Warn of Undermining Voter Confidence

WASHINGTON — Since March, the Republican National Committee (RNC) has intensified its legal efforts to scrutinize voting and election procedures in several pivotal swing states. This move aligns with directives from former President Donald Trump, who has consistently voiced concerns, albeit without substantial verification, about purported widespread electoral fraud. The push includes new leadership under Trump’s influence aiming to bolster what they term “election integrity.”

In states like Arizona, Michigan, and Nevada, the RNC has initiated actions to compel election officials to purge voter rolls, a tactic restricted under federal law especially close to elections. Additionally, the group is seeking to influence the handling of mail ballots, advocating for such votes to be discounted if they arrive after Election Day — a stance that has been largely dismissed in past court decisions and conflicts with established procedures across numerous states.

Critics argue that these legal challenges, though perhaps legally tenuous, pose real dangers as they seemingly aim to undermine public trust in the electoral process and prepare grounds for contesting election results should Trump face defeat. According to Jess Marsden, an attorney with the non-profit Protect Democracy, these actions are viewed as strategic to sow doubt and confusion about the legitimacy of election outcomes.

This legal onslaught coincides with Trump’s call for amplified actions against alleged ballot fraud, which led to a shakeup in the RNC’s leadership earlier this year. Ronna McDaniel departed as national chairwoman, replaced by Trump appointee Michael Whatley, with Lara Trump, the former president’s daughter-in-law, stepping in as co-chair. Both have put a sharp focus on filing and highlighting various lawsuits concerning election laws.

At a recent GOP convention in California, Lara Trump highlighted the committee’s effort by stating the party was “pulling out all the stops” on election integrity. This new focus was underscored by the approval of a platform calling for stringent voter ID laws, use of sophisticated paper ballots, and measures to ensure citizenship verification and same-day voting.

Among the RNC’s ongoing legal battles, multiple cases have surfaced in states like Michigan and Arizona, challenging election officials’ practices including the maintenance of voter rolls and the accommodation of pandemic-related voting measures like drop boxes and drive-through voting. These lawsuits mirror Trump’s often-repeated claim — without evidence — that ineligible voters, including noncitizens, are influencing U.S. elections.

In Pennsylvania, a significant lawsuit has achieved success for the RNC, establishing that mail ballots must be dated by voters to be valid, overturning previous allowances for undated ballots that arrive by Election Day. This verdict is currently contested by voting rights activists who argue it could disenfranchise voters.

In Nevada, a recent suit filed by Republicans sought to prevent the counting of mail ballots arriving post-Election Day based on the notion that federal law designates a single national election day. Courts in other states have previously rejected similar arguments. Democrats contend that accepting this stance could disrupt widespread practices of early and mail voting, significantly impacting how many Americans vote.

The urgency in addressing these legal issues well ahead of upcoming elections reflects a strategy by Republican leaders to cement electoral rules favorable to their perspective. However, opponents suspect the motives might extend beyond mere electoral integrity, hinting at an effort to manipulate outcomes favorably when the election day arrives.

Overall, these extensive legal battles initiated by the RNC not only define the political landscape leading into future elections but also underscore the deepening divisions over how democracy should function in America. As these cases advance through the courts, they continue to spark widespread debate concerning voter rights and the fundamental principles of fair electoral competition.