RNC recruits poll workers in Michigan as part of vote monitoring efforts

Tedesco attended the training and said his big takeaway was that a poll monitors’ job was “to be the eyes and the ears.” He summarized what officials told attendees as: “Stay within the law” and “don’t be a jerk” but that, “if you detect something that appears to be out of line, say something.”

Other attendees shared that they were concerned about specific issues related to the vote — and were pleased the national and state parties had chosen the midwestern battleground of Michigan as the venue to begin their public efforts, even if the training didn’t delve into detailed information.

“There’s way too many mail-in ballots in Michigan,” said Teresa Snider, a 60-year-old mortgage collector from Oakland County. “If you want to vote, you should be out there and do it,” she said, adding that mail-in ballots were acceptable for disabled people and senior citizens but that, “in general, they create too many problems.”

The Michigan event was touted as a formal kick-off to the party’s more specific plans to recruit volunteers and even train them in poll monitoring practices. The RNC has scheduled similar events in Pennsylvania and North Carolina next week, and in Georgia the following week. Officials said planning was underway to hold additional ones in other battleground states, including Wisconsin, in the coming weeks. 

Biden won Michigan in 2020 by 2.8 percentage points, while Trump won it in 2016 by just 0.2 percentage points — fewer than 11,000 votes. The race is expected to be tight again this year.

In recent months, the RNC has amped up a broader focus on election integrity. After Trump clinched the Republican presidential nomination in March, the party rolled out a series of lawsuits arguing the voter rolls in certain swing states were bloated. The RNC also staffed up with election lawyers before announcing in April its intent to deploy an army of supporters on Election Day to “protect the vote and ensure a big win” in November.

However, Democrats with experience working closely with voter protection efforts have argued that the RNC is exaggerating their work and said they were skeptical that Republicans could recruit that many people to monitor the polls for fraud.

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