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Tipsheet

After Georgia, It's Time the GOP Focus in on One Area Regarding Winning Elections

AP Photo

You’re not going to like this suggestion, and we’ve often railed about this voting method for good reason. It’s quasi-voter fraud, but if it’s legal in crucial states, the Republican Party needs to start building infrastructures to compete with the Democrats. 

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This week, The Federalist listed three reasons why Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock was able to fend off Republican Herschel Walker in Georgia. And, ballot harvesting is probably the most critical aspect of the Democratic Party’s election machine (via The Federalist):

1.Ballot Harvesting

Ballot harvesting, or the practice of going door-to-door soliciting mail-in ballots from voters, is an art form Democrats have perfected since unsupervised mail-in balloting (and a month of early voting) became legal in the wake of the Covid-19 lockdowns. Democrats in key battleground states know that collecting ballots is more important than collecting votes (i.e., generating Election Day turnout), and so they calculate how many ballots they need to secure a victory, and aim singlehandedly at that. 

There are several Georgia-based leftist nonprofits that engage in ballot harvesting and curing. America Votes, a left-wing get-out-the-vote group, knocked on 4 million doors leading up to the Georgia runoff (in contrast, the Walker-backing Faith and Freedom Coalition aimed to knock on just 400,000 doors) and made more than 1 million phone calls encouraging likely Democrat voters to cast ballots. Other Democrat groups such as Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight and the New Georgia Project have engaged thousands of volunteers to push their GOTV efforts, including registering largely non-white Georgian residents to vote. VoteBuilder, a voter registration database run by the Democratic National Committee and each respective state’s Democratic Party, gives such activists the information necessary to group and target Democratic voters and contact them about filling out and sending in their mail-in ballot.

2. Smart Spending

Georgia Democrats were very strategic about how they spent their money leading up to the runoff. While the GOP was largely focused on the old model of generating Election Day turnout through campaign mailers and TV ads (thanks to greedy GOP consultants), Democrats spent their dollars on initiatives that guaranteed them votes. Case in point: the Democratic firm Relentless paid 1,455 Georgians to contact more than 58,000 friends and family urging them to vote for Warnock. As Axios reported, Relentless paid each participant $200 to contact between 40-50 family members and friends, encouraging them to vote for Warnock. This isn’t the firm’s first rodeo, however. During the 2021 Senate runoff, the firm used the same tactic and boosted target voter turnout by 3.8 percent. 

[…]

3. Litigating Election Law

Democrats ride election litigation like a jockey riding a horse. Democrat mega-lawyer Marc Elias, the Georgia Democratic Party, and the Warnock campaign filed a lawsuit back in November against the Peach State to prevent it from banning early voting on the Saturday after Thanksgiving — despite a state law explicitly prohibiting it. While there was still plenty of time available for early voting without that Saturday, Georgia Democrats argued the law would result in voter suppression (a.k.a., give them less time to harvest ballots). A Georgia appeals court bought their argument. The Georgia lawsuit is just one example of multiple efforts by Democrats nationwide to manipulate election law in their favor or sue until they get what they want.

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As an aside, there is a bit of irony here since this operation, which Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams spent the past couple of years building undoubtedly to benefit her, wasn’t enough to defeat incumbent Republican Governor Brian Kemp, who handily defeated her. Compared with Walker’s, that result brings us into the debate about “candidate quality” and split-ticket voters, which we’ll delve into another time. 

Simply put, ballot harvesting is when a random stranger collects a trove of mail-in or absentee ballots. Every state is different regarding who can compile these ballots, but someone else is entrusted with ensuring your vote counts. If that sounds sketchy—that’s because it is. In Florida, it’s a felony, which should be the endgame with this voting method: outright ban. But that would take an act of Congress, which barring a red tsunami year in some future midterm cycle, is unlikely to pass. There might be a better shot at the state level, but some, like California, are just too out of reach for Republicans. Michigan and Pennsylvania could have been good states to make this push, but Democrats made considerable gains in the election for the state legislature; Michigan is now under complete Democratic Party control for the first time in nearly 40 years.

We don’t have time to change the laws for the next election, so Republicans should double down in trying to create operations to compete with Democrats at this level since we can no longer count on the Election Day count to bail us out. Yes, frequently, the early vote isn’t a good indicator of how the election will sway, but we can’t take the gamble anymore. Arizona and Georgia are proof of that. I don’t like it, but this holier-than-thou road on Election Day operations doesn’t cut it. We discussed this on the Triggered podcast with PJ’s Stephen Kruiser. Democrats may be sick in the head and have unpopular agenda items, but their legal minions and operations staff are good at gaming the system. They know what to do and where to zero in to clinch wins. We need to start doing that as well.

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