(USA Features) A growing number of Republicans allied with former President Donald Trump and who have never before been involved in politics are taking over grassroots-level election processes following the hectic 2020 presidential contest rife with allegations of vote fraud.
While proof of such claims has never been reliably produced, many Trump-allied GOP voters remain concerned about changes to voting rules and procedures in several key battleground states ahead of the Nov. 3 election due to the coronavirus pandemic that involved, among other things, widespread use of mail-in balloting for the first time.
As such, in many instances, local Republican activists and election officials are reporting record numbers of new volunteers whose objective, they say, is to take over the GOP machine’s control over local processes, ProPublica reported this week.
The effort, according to the left-leaning media outlet, was spearheaded by former Trump adviser-turned-top podcaster Steve Bannon, who urged the former president’s supporters to get more involved at the local level as a means of shoring up voter integrity.
“It’s going to be a fight, but this is a fight that must be won, we don’t have an option,” Bannon said on his show in May. “We’re going to take this back village by village … precinct by precinct.”
Added ProPublica: “Precinct officers are the worker bees of political parties, typically responsible for routine tasks like making phone calls or knocking on doors. But collectively, they can influence how elections are run. In some states, they have a say in choosing poll workers, and in others they help pick members of boards that oversee elections.”
The outlet noted that in short order, people who had never before gotten involved in politics at any level began flooding into local party offices to volunteer their services in ways that are unprecedented, according to a number of local GOP officials.
“In Wisconsin, for instance, new GOP recruits are becoming poll workers. County clerks who run elections in the state are required to hire parties’ nominees. The parties once passed on suggesting names, but now hardline Republican county chairs are moving to use those powers,” ProPublica added.
“We’re signing up election inspectors like crazy right now,” said Outagamie County party chair Matt Albert, using the state’s formal term for poll workers. He went on to say that Bannon’s shout-out made all the difference.
“I’ve never seen anything like this, people are coming out of the woodwork,” added J.C. Martin, the GOP chairman in Polk County, Fla.
He told ProPublica he has enlisted 50 new committee members since January.
Martin had hoped that House Republicans would move to overturn the results of the election Jan. 6, so he is grateful to see a wave of like-minded newbies.
“The most recent time we saw this type of thing was the Tea Party, and this is way beyond it,” he added.
“They feel President Trump was rightfully elected president and it was taken from him,” added Michael Barnett, the Republican Party chairman in Palm Beach County, Fla., who has added 90 executive committee members this year. “They feel their involvement in upcoming elections will prevent something like that from happening again.”
The outlet said that it’s too early to tell what impact the influx of Trump-aligned grassroots volunteers will have, but “these up-and-coming party officers have notched early wins.”