Exclusive — GOP Stands Up ‘Permanent’ ‘Election Integrity Operations’ Nationwide to ‘Kill’ Democrat Takeover Attempts ‘in Their Infancy’

An election worker opens envelopes containing vote-by-mail ballots for the August 4 Washington state primary at King County Elections in Renton, Washington on August 3, 2020.A sign explaining signature verification is pictured as vote-by-mail ballots for the August 4 Washington state primary are processed at King County Elections in Renton, …
JASON REDMOND/AFP via Getty Images

The Republican Party has built a “permanent” structure to battle the left nationwide on election integrity over the last eight months and is winning the longer war with Democrats, senior Republican National Committee (RNC) officials revealed exclusively to Breitbart News through lengthy interviews and documents detailing the efforts.

Justin Riemer, the chief counsel of the RNC who is overseeing the party’s efforts, in an exclusive interview with Breitbart News last week, broke down the GOP’s election integrity push into “three separate categories” which include a permanent staffed infrastructure nationwide and a broad law-fare legal strategy to counter Democrats.

“The first is what we’re doing in the courts and litigating,” Riemer said. “The second is sort of our operational organization out in the field to send teams into the states and the third is the more sort of communications and efficacy efforts we’ve made at the state level and pushing back on HR1 and the congressional overreach that we’ve been pushing back with.”

Riemer told Breitbart News that Republicans have learned much from what happened in 2020 after seeing what the Democrats did in a months-long tumultuous and coordinated push from long before Election Day until weeks afterward filled with mail and absentee voting, drop boxes, a lack of ID and signature matching requirements all combined with kicking poll watchers out of counting rooms, and massive funding surges from leftist big tech moguls like Mark Zuckerberg who funneled hundreds of millions of dollars into state and local election offices nationwide through popup nonprofits he and his wife established. The Republicans, as such Riemer said, recognize now that elections are not fought in just one day but over a longer period of time — election day has become election season in other words — and Riemer said Republicans are responding by standing up a permanent structure to fight back.

“The RNC has basically decided election integrity operations need to be a permanent thing,” Riemer said. “In the past what would happen was every four years, because it was really every presidential election year where our side would gear up and to a lesser extent in midterms, but what would happen is it would be the presidential campaign every four years that would set up an operation to do the monitoring and the lawsuits and all these issues. It was just sort of improvised, like a pop-up tent, and then it went away and some of that was because we had a lawsuit against us from the DNC that prevented the RNC from doing anything like poll watching and preventing voter fraud and all of that. That basically was in effect for 40 years — 2020 was the first year we could actually engage in this stuff and what we decided was it makes no sense to just set up an operation every two or four years. It needs to be permanent. That’s why we have permanent staff now working on this stuff, and it’s why we have permanent litigation. If you have litigation going on permanently, and if it becomes a permanent thing it’s just that it’s an ongoing process — we’re always monitoring what’s happening, we’re always monitoring the legislative changes, we’re always in the courts. It just doesn’t end. Part of it is because the election calendar has expanded so much. It’s not even just the mail-in voting, so much of the problem is sort of hatched months before the election like a state cleaning up its voter rolls. That’s not a problem you should just start paying attention to a month before the election. You need to be on that like six months or a year or more before the election. So that’s why we’ve made it a permanent operation to make sure we’re keeping tabs on all of this.”

Litigating election integrity battles — whereby Republicans are defending effective state laws like those in Georgia; fighting to stop bad practices like a recent win at the U.S. Supreme Court against ballot harvesting in Arizona; on down to challenging leftist anti-poll watcher pushes from election boards in places like North Carolina — is proving to be a fruitful battlefield for the GOP, Riemer said.

“On the litigation side we have engaged in all the major lawsuits that have been filed against the states that have enacted reforms in the last several months,” Riemer said. “So, Georgia is the most famous one where they passed their legislation and were immediately sued. They actually have several separate lawsuits against them right now including one by the DOJ who sued them and we have been actively what’s called intervening in these lawsuits which puts us shoulder to shoulder with Georgia and defending the state law. The courts have allowed us in these cases and we’re actively pushing back and fighting back making sure the state stays honest in defending their laws and making sure they don’t settle them and cause problems that way. So we’re doing that in Georgia, in Florida, in Iowa, and as other states get sued which they undoubtedly will as they pass these reforms we will engage in those lawsuits as well.”

A memo the RNC prepared detailing said efforts, also obtained exclusively by Breitbart News, noted the RNC spent more than $30 million in 2020 in dozens of lawsuits — 59 in particular last year — but that the party is expanding and bolstering that legal strategy now heading into the 2022 midterms and eventually the 2024 presidential cycle. Already, the RNC has engaged in at least 19 lawsuits more than a year before the 2022 midterms — with lots more planned on the way. The operation has a multimillion dollar investment from the party as well, and it is a broad effort that the RNC is overseeing in coordination with other party committees like the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), and perhaps most importantly, the Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC). The RSLC is a key part of all of this because that committee is a clearing house for state leaders like attorneys general, secretaries of state, and state legislators to work together and connect up with national Republicans in Washington. State parties are also key to the strategy, according to both Riemer and this memo — as the RNC has coordinated with state parties like the Arizona GOP and the North Carolina GOP and others to fight the left on election matters most famously so far in the U.S. Supreme Court decision shredding ballot harvesting in Arizona. Riemer believes the Republicans — despite what happened in 2020 and a dejected GOP base since then — have turned the tide and are winning the war, while the Democrats are losing overall.

“I think they’re absolutely losing,” Riemer said of the Democrats. “States are enacting these laws and we feel very confident the courts are going to uphold them. We are organized earlier than ever before. We are working with the other party committees, we’re working with other outside groups on the right to make sure we have a unified approach. People are so serious about this and I see how desperate the Democrats are. The DOJ suing Georgia for their law — it is really absolutely ridiculous. I can just see Biden calling up Merrick Garland saying ‘you guys just have to sue now.’ And I think it reeks of a desperate move especially if you read the complaint. Any decent lawyer would read that and just say ‘wow, this is a public relations exercise.’ So, we’re doing everything we can to fight. And, I think we’re going to win. I think we’re winning now. This Arizona decision was a huge loss for them and that’s going to have ramifications moving forward in a lot of other lawsuits so I think the fact where we are right now in early August a year and three months before the next election is incredible.”

Structurally, to help oversee and corral the immense resources the party is putting into this effort — tens of millions of dollars per the memo also obtained by Breitbart News — Riemer said the RNC has stood up a fully-staffed structure nationwide with full-time election integrity directors in key states coast to coast.

“On the operational side, we are already in the process of setting up our election integrity teams at the state level,” Riemer said. “We’re already staffed up here at the RNC. But what we’re doing is setting up state election integrity directors in all the major states where there will be close elections in 2022. So we have sort of a political organizer who’s responsible for recruiting poll watchers and showing up at the county board of election meetings and that sort of thing. We’re pairing them with an attorney as well who can help. Really, what the point of this is is ultimately for election day everywhere across the country to make sure we have poll watchers and that no polling place we need to be at observing is missing a poll watcher. But we’re also monitoring what’s happening at the state and local level. A lot of this stuff is the devil is in the details, like the secretary of state can come up with some policy that basically waters down something or makes it harder for our poll watchers to be in the polling place or whatever. So what we’re trying to do is make sure we’re watching everything and getting ahead of it, submitting Freedom of Information Act requests and that stuff.”

Then, more broadly from a public relations standpoint, Riemer said the party is conducting polling and releasing ads on digital and television and radio platforms to help support the push for election integrity measures in states and to fight back against Democrat overreach from Washington—and to fight leftists in particular states whenever they cause problems for election integrity, like the Texas Democrats who fled Texas to deny the legislature a quorum for a special session. The goal is to harness the enormous energy on the right after what happened in 2020 for productive purposes on election integrity, and bring together what he called “the whole conservative, Republican ecosystem” on the push.

“Then, on the communications and advocacy side, this is slightly less legal but we’ve done everything from running ads to doing polling to targeting legislators that have been attacking some of these state laws and also going after congressional Democrats on HR1 — I guess they call it the ‘Corrupt Politicians Act,’” Riemer said. “I think it’s a great example of not just the RNC but the whole conservative, Republican ecosystem banding together and fighting back on HR1. Obviously they’re still fighting to pass something but it’s a huge success they haven’t pulled anything off yet. But going back to the beginning of HR1, when we saw they were really going all in to pass HR1, we actually started drafting a complaint to challenge it in the event it did pass. And we know they’re going to keep coming back on it, so we have a sort of ‘break glass in case of emergency’ lawsuit that will be ready to file and challenge this federal overreach because — no surprise here — we believe states should be running their own elections and that Congress shouldn’t be sort of micromanaging the states and making bad policies.”

The communications and advocacy side of things — while less about legal precedent or the big law-fare fights playing out in courtrooms and state legislatures across America — is also important because it helps push Democrats on issues they are losing on, like voter ID. It can also help in the courtroom, Riemer said, because judges want people to have confidence in the outcome of elections.

“I think it’s really important — it does play into the legal stuff for sure,” Riemer said. “One of the things a state can say when it’s defending its laws that are under attack is that the law promotes the confidence of the election and a court thinks that is important. The Supreme Court has basically said that a state trying to protect its voters’ confidence in the election is really important. Knowing how popular these laws are makes it a lot harder for the courts to attack them and strike them down. It’s nice knowing the public is on your side. We have the wind at our sails here and I think you’re seeing examples of it changing policy. You’re seeing Stacey Abrams suddenly saying she is for voter ID and James Clyburn saying he is for voter ID and Governor Wolf in Pennsylvania doing this remarkable turnabout where he says voter ID is not so bad. It’s remarkable. Rarely do you see people flip-flop like this on policy so it’s working.”

Asked to detail a sampling of the GOP’s “micro wins” so far — places where this new structure from the RNC has already had an impact in stopping the left and securing elections — Riemer pointed to several cases around the country including Supreme and Appellate Court decisions against ballot harvesting in Arizona and against busing voters in Michigan, as well as an effort to stop election officials in North Carolina from blocking GOP poll watchers from being near enough counting of ballots in that state. He also cited some early indications that GOP litigation on Georgia’s landmark election integrity law will be likely upheld in the end.

“So a couple come to mind just in the last few months,” Riemer said when asked to detail GOP wins on election integrity. “In Georgia, I mentioned all these lawsuits they filed challenging the law. The Democrats tried to go in and basically put that law on hold for some recent special elections they had. We were in that lawsuit and pushed back on that. The court basically said ‘no we’re not putting that law on hold — it’s going to stay in effect, all these provisions that are important for the integrity of the election are going to remain in effect.’ It was a good sort of leading indicator of where we think these lawsuits are going to end up. That was just a few weeks ago. Sometimes they will use these minor elections to try to score a win and that failed there. In Michigan, just the week before last, we had a big win at the federal appellate court on the issue of busing people to the polls so there’s always that kind of legend or myth that Democrats bus people in to the polls and they vote even if they’re ineligible. We had a win on that. Michigan has a ban on that practice, which the Democrats challenged and we got a win on that at the appellate court just a couple weeks ago so they’re not allowed to pay to bus people around to the polls which was a nice win as well. Last one I would mention is in North Carolina the board of elections is notorious for making policy that contradicts state law and the legislature — it’s a very partisan, Democrat board — and they were proposing regulations that would have made it a lot harder for our poll watchers to poll watch. We caught it with this monitoring and state structure that we’ve developed. We saw it when no one was paying attention to it and we worked with the state party and we basically went full blast. We sent them a letter saying you can’t enact this regulation, you can’t restrict our poll watchers and it’ll contradict state law — and basically made a threat that we would sue them if they followed through on it. So, when the time came to finalize the regulation they basically rewrote it in a way that was not going to be a problem and was not going to restrict our poll watchers and honestly I’m pretty convinced that wouldn’t have happened had we not engaged in it and engaged in it with the state party.”

Riemer said overall the GOP strategy is to “kill” bad Democrat ideas “in their infancy” rather than letting them fester and get worse.

“So those are the kinds of — micro-win is a great way of describing it — those are the kinds of micro-wins we’re looking for,” Riemer said. “Honestly, the best way to deal with a lot of this is to stop these problems before they become bigger problems. Kill them in their infancy. It’s not as sexy a win as in the Supreme Court, but I’d rather deal with it then when it’s a small problem than when it’s a big problem. So that’s exactly the kind of stuff we’re going to be doing confronting these issues when they happen.”

Riemer, the point man for the GOP on election integrity as the RNC’s chief counsel, also said he thinks that Democrat lawyers particularly Marc Elias of Perkins Coie are overrated. Elias got tons of attention last year as he litigated lots of places, and it looked like he was winning lots of decisions — he certainly won some — but Riemer said Elias lost more than he won. And, now, as the Republicans formally counter that law-fare strategy from the Democrats who were led in part by Elias, Riemer said he aims to expose the fallacy that the Democrats are winning the broader fight on this front.

“It absolutely is a huge part of their electoral strategy,” Riemer said when asked about the Democrats’ law-fare battles. “Some of it is substantive in that they are legitimately trying to go after these laws and strike them down. I think we kind of know what they are trying to do in trying to water down the system and create more uncertainty. But, at the end of the day a lot of it for them is symbolic. They know when they claim voter suppression or say Republicans are engaged in voter suppression, it’s political and very powerful for them because it riles up their base. It’s the main thing they’re talking about right now. It’s the number one thing they’re talking about — Republicans ‘suppressing the vote,’ even though the public is clearly with us on the issue.”

Having the public on the GOP’s side on election integrity — polls show wide scale support for voter ID and other security measures — is a breath of fresh air for Riemer, as the corporate and special interests are all aligned behind the Democrats and their well-funded lawyers.

“There are few issues that are so lopsided, where the public is way more for us on some issues including some Democrats being with us, as this issue,” Riemer said. “It’s a big part of what they want to do. In 2020, as you mentioned, they filed a lot of lawsuits and they often used COVID [Chinese coronavirus] as an excuse. A lot of this stuff they would have liked to try before but COVID gave them an excuse to say voting is getting harder so all these requirements like voter ID, witness requirements, and signature matching — whatever it may be — need to be struck down. I think kind of one of the myths of the 2020 election is that they, I think their success was overstated actually. We actually beat Elias in most of the lawsuits we were engaged in. We completely shut them out of entire regions like in Maine, New Hampshire, Michigan, Iowa. They filed tons of lawsuits — Arizona — and they didn’t win any of them there. But what happens is if you file 20 lawsuits and you lose 18 and you win two, you only hear from Marc Elias on the two he won. We haven’t been as good at trumpeting our wins. I think that’s something we’re getting a lot more aggressive about. I think this stuff blows up in their face too, their law-fare strategy. I don’t know if you saw what happened down in Arizona, the recent Supreme Court case on ballot harvesting. We were defending that state law against the Democrats for several years. We helped finance the defense of that law, and helped make sure the right arguments were put in front of the Supreme Court. We were coordinating that behind the scenes and what you saw was — that was a Marc Elias lawsuit. It totally blew up in their face and they ended up with a really bad decision for them and you even have leftwing lawyers now like some at the ACLU who are pissed off at Elias for bringing that lawsuit because of the fact it was so weak and now they have a really bad Supreme Court decision hung around their neck and so you can see it blowing up in their faces and I think we’re getting to pushing back on the public narrative that he just comes in and wins all these cases because it’s just not true.”

Riemer also noted that RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel in February created an election integrity committee filled with RNC members and experts on election reforms to conduct “soul searching after 2020” — recommendations are soon forthcoming from this committee which has been generally, Riemer said, involved in helping steer the party forward after bruising losses last year to Democrats on this front.

“A lot of it was to hear from members and hear from experts on what the RNC should be doing on all these issues and what policies we should be recommending states enact and hearing from people in the states,” Riemer said. “What are people in the states and grassroots saying we should be doing? Having a set of recommendations that we’ll carry out and that work is pretty close to being finalized — we’ve been really busy, and we’re really excited. That work is going to make a huge difference.”

But overall Riemer said the message he wants GOP voters across America to hear is that Republicans hear them loud and clear on election integrity matters, and they are fighting back — and that they are winning.

“We’re fighting and we’re winning,” Riemer said. “We wake up every day and it’s the first thing we think about. That might sound depressing but it’s true. That’s the bottom line — and we’re going to keep winning. We’re in the right here and we’re looking forward to bragging about it when we do.”

.

Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.