The RNC is making a nationwide effort to recruit poll workers and poll watchers in Bucks County

NEW TOWN – On Tuesday, the Republican National Committee brought a recent nationwide campaign to Pennsylvania with the goal of recruiting 100,000 poll watchers, poll workers and legal experts.

“We at the RNC have implemented an incredible election integrity program,” RNC co-chair Lara Trump said Tuesday. “This is unlike anything we have ever done before, and it aims to ensure free, fair and transparent elections.”

Trump, the daughter-in-law of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, said the RNC wants to have “an army of people across the country, 100,000 people working across the country to ensure the integrity of our elections.” The Pennsylvania RNC’s goal is to recruit at least 5,000 volunteers.

RNC Chairman Michael Whatley, former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and Pennsylvania U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser (R-9th District) joined Lara Trump on Tuesday for the second stop of the Protect the Vote Tour. The RNC press release described it as a nationwide initiative to “support election integrity, rally voters for President Trump and train volunteers to make voting easy and difficult to cheat this November.”

RNC Co-Chair Lara Trump during the RNC’s “Protect the Vote” tour in Newtown, Pennsylvania, on June 18, 2024. (Capital-Star photo by John Cole)

The training session itself was closed to the press, so it’s unclear how many people attended, but the room was packed with supporters who were able to listen to politicians’ speeches Tuesday.

Whatley told reporters after his speech that the training includes tips on how to register as an election observer, what he expects from the role and how to flag a problem if he sees one.

“We don’t want to disturb the peace. We want to make sure everyone understands how it should work, and if you see something you can feel free to report it and raise the issue.” Whatley told reporters.

When asked about the specific warning signs they tell people to look out for, he said it depends on the state because each state has its own procedures.

“If everything goes smoothly, it will be a very boring job,” Whatley said. “That’s really what we want: we want to make sure that all the systems run very smoothly, we want it to be fair, accurate, secure and transparent.”

After the 2020 election, former President Trump repeated false claims that the election was stolen, although courts opposed attempts to overturn the results, including in Pennsylvania. During the campaign, he continues to claim without evidence that the 2020 election was “rigged.”

Whatley said Tuesday that the three things needed to ensure election integrity are to follow the law while also asking for voter ID and ensuring mail-in voting protocols are followed; leading a nationwide conversation about election integrity and having the opportunity to be in the room during the voting process and tabulation.

The Democratic National Committee said Tuesday that the RNC has a different intention with its poll-watching initiative than it claims.

“Donald Trump is terrified that Pennsylvania voters will hand him another defeat in November, so he and his Republican allies are using every resource at their disposal to spread dangerous lies about a stolen election,” DNC spokesman Addy Toevs told the Capital-Star. “The truth is much simpler: Trump is a loser. “Trump knows his best chance of winning in November is to try to undermine our democratic process, just as he tried and failed in 2020.”

“Democrats will continue to fight for every voter’s right to have their voice heard – early, by mail and in person on Election Day – free from intimidation, disinformation and suppression,” Toevs added.

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In 2016, an attempt by the RNC to change Pennsylvania’s poll watcher laws to allow citizens from anywhere in the state to monitor precincts on Election Day was unsuccessful. rejected by a federal judge.

Whatley told reporters they had no plans to revisit the issue before the 2024 election.

“I think what we want to do now is work within the rules that we have, work within the laws and regulations that we have, make sure everyone understands where we are, and then we will train people and make sure that we deploy them, but we would like to have as many as 5,000 volunteers here in Pennsylvania who can go out and work as election workers and election observers,” he said.

Pressed by reporters on where in Pennsylvania those 5,000 people would be located, he said they would “see where people will vote,” adding that it would be throughout the commonwealth.

He said the RNC has already sent policy and election integrity staff to Pennsylvania to ensure people are employed before November.

Postal voting station

Speakers at Tuesday’s event encouraged those in attendance to vote on Election Day, vote early or by mail. Trump, who has complained about mail-in voting for years, announced his “Cover the US vote” an initiative launched on June 4 to encourage voters to vote by mail and vote early in the 2024 election. Unlike some other states, Pennsylvania does not offer early in-person voting.

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During Trump’s previous appearances in Pennsylvania before the initiative was launched, he did not encourage participants to vote by mail. On Tuesday, Lara Trump rejected the notion that this was a change of strategy.

“Well, he told people that. He posted it on his Truth Social and made a video clearly stating, “Regardless of whether you feel comfortable voting, whether it’s voting by mail, voting early, or voting on Election Day, these are great ways to vote,” she said . reporters. “And I think the reality is that as a party we need to be more accepting of that and we want every legal vote to count, however best and earliest you can vote, that’s what we expect from you.”

In Pennsylvania, mail-in ballots cannot be collected in advance, which is different from some other states that require mail-in voting and which extends vote tallying on election night. Reporters asked RNC officials whether they supported changing state law to speed up the process.

“Right now, I would say we’re working within the structure of each state, and I mean, there are some changes that we’re going to push, but we’re not really going to look at them,” Whatley told reporters.

“So we want to make sure we have a large enough majority that when people go to bed they feel very comfortable about where this is going,” he added. “But we certainly understand in Pennsylvania and other states that they will have counts that will take one day, two days, three days, but we want to make sure there is a safe count, we want to make sure it is accurate, fair and transparent, because all ballots go through this process.”

Trump returns to Pennsylvania

Trump is scheduled to travel to Philadelphia on Saturday for a rally at the Liacouras Center on Temple University’s campus to celebrate him fourth visit to Pennsylvania in 2024. President Joe Biden has made eight appearances in Pennsylvania this year, most recently in Philadelphia with Vice President Kamala at the end of May to announce the launch of the Black Voters for Biden-Harris program at Girard College.

Trump will return to Philadelphia for a rally on the Temple campus

Biden’s campaign started early in Pennsylvania, opening of 24 coordinated offices throughout the Community from March. The Trump campaign recently stepped up in Pennsylvania, opening its first location “Trump Force 47” office in Philadelphia on June 4 and office opening on June 12 in Reading to appeal to Latin American voters.

“We are dealing with a huge surge in President Trump’s popularity, a Pennsylvania commonwealth with serious buyer’s remorse for Biden,” Meuser, who opposed the certification of Pennsylvania’s 2020 results said Tuesday. “Who has anything to do with this Biden administration agenda? Who in their right mind actually identifies with this? It’s a disaster from A to Z.”

Biden and Trump have been neck and neck in polls for several months. AND Marist survey released on June 12 showed Trump leading Biden by 2 points in the Keystone State.

Biden defeated Trump in Pennsylvania in 2020 by just over 80,000 votes.

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