House Republicans held a committee hearing on Thursday, in which witnesses highlighted the importance of poll watchers to elections and dispelled Democrats’ phony claims that such individuals are a threat to democracy.
“Election observation provides an independent perspective of the election administration process, to reassure voters of its integrity, or flag issues for correction,” said Subcommittee on Elections Chair and Florida GOP Rep. Laurel Lee. “It’s simple: A healthy election system includes meaningful election observer access, and we commend the many state and local election officials and poll watchers across the country who worked tirelessly in 2022 to make this key election integrity process work effectively.”
Following a 2020 presidential election marred by mass mail-in (and unsupervised) balloting and hundreds of millions of “Zuckbucks” poured into government election offices, conservative groups around the country made it a priority to get everyday citizens involved in the electoral process. As a result of this nationwide initiative, organizations such as the Republican National Committee (RNC) recruited more than 70,000 poll watchers and poll workers to “help deliver the election transparency that voters deserve” ahead of the 2022 midterms.
Despite the completely legitimate and legal nature of Americans supervising election administration, Democrats were livid. In the weeks leading up to the 2022 contest, left-wing activists masquerading as “journalists” published hit piece after hit piece warning that Republican “election deniers” were plotting to disrupt local election precincts on Election Day and intimidate voters. Like most other media-manufactured narratives, the tale never came true.
[READ: New Dem Conspiracy Theory Just Dropped: Poll Watchers Are A Threat To Democracy]
During Tuesday’s House hearing, several witnesses pushed back against such falsehoods by emphasizing the importance of citizen election observation.
“Poll watchers are an integral part of the election codes of virtually every state in the nation. But there has been a steady drumbeat of the media, the current administration, and partisan nonprofit organizations advancing the false narrative that citizen poll watchers are unnecessary or even a threat to democracy,” Lynn Taylor, president of the Virginia Institute for Public Policy, said. “The truth and reality of the matter is that citizen poll watchers are a key component in protecting our republic.”
Josh Findlay, who serves as the RNC’s national director of election integrity, echoed similar sentiments, while expounding upon the RNC’s efforts to increase citizen participation in the poll observation process ahead of the 2022 midterms.
“We created an organized program aimed at making it easier to vote and harder to cheat,” Findlay said in reference to the RNC’s election integrity division. “Once we built this structure, we found out there were plenty of Americans who wanted to get involved in the process by learning how to be a poll observer. … The RNC vetted those potential volunteers and we trained those who passed the vetting process to become election observers.”
Throughout poll observer trainings, Republican volunteers were provided with materials listing the RNC’s “poll watching principles,” according to Findlay. These included directives to “be respectful and courteous to other volunteers and elections officials,” “do not interact with voters,” and “do not disrupt, obstruct, or interfere with the voting process,” among others.
Predictably, House Democrats used the hearing to spew their party’s worn-out talking points. In addition to pushing legacy media’s “election workers are under siege” narrative, subcommittee ranking member and Alabama Democrat Rep. Terri Sewell used her allotted time to question witnesses on whether they believed the 2020 and 2022 elections were “fair and secure.” New York Democrat Rep. Joe Morelle employed the same “gotcha” tactic, asking witnesses if they believe “Joe Biden won the 2020 election.”