“No matter where I go as chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, it’s basically the only thing everybody is talking about among the base,” Mr. Gruters said. Like nearly all of the Republicans involved in the party’s voter integrity efforts, Mr. Gruters declined to characterize Mr. Biden’s victory as legitimate, despite there being no evidence of widespread fraud and multiple state audits reaffirming the results. “There are a lot of people who have a lot of questions about the 2020 race.”
The national committee is coordinating with the Republican State Leadership Committee, the organization that works to elect Republican state legislators and secretaries of state. The Heritage Foundation, a leading conservative organization in Washington, is teaming up with grass-roots social conservative outfits, like the Susan B. Anthony List, to mobilize supporters and lobbyists in state capitals to enact new restrictions on voting access.
Heritage, through its politics arm Heritage Action for America, is planning to spend $24 million across eight states: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, Texas and Wisconsin. An internal document described a “two-year effort” to work closely with allies like American Legislative Exchange Council (known as ALEC) and the libertarian State Policy Network to “produce model legislation for state legislatures to adopt” and hire lobbyists in “crucial states.” (A copy of the plan was obtained by Documented, a watchdog group, and reviewed by The New York Times.)
Much of the Heritage goals are laid out in a report published to their website earlier this year, ticking off a host of proposals including limiting who can vote by mail, preventing ballot collection, banning drop boxes, enacting stricter voter identification laws, restricting early voting and providing greater access to partisan election observers. Last week, the group began a $600,000 television ad campaign in Georgia, urging citizens to support the effort to roll back voting access.
The policies, according to Jessica Anderson, the Heritage Action executive director, are largely rooted in the work of Hans von Spakovsky, a lawyer who has worked on voting battles for decades, including a voter identification law in Georgia that was ruled discriminatory in 2005. He also helped to run the now-defunct voter-fraud commission that Mr. Trump created after the 2016 election. Other Heritage officials, such as John Malcolm, have helped craft the proposals.
The Heritage planning document also calls for Republicans to recruit their own army of poll workers, and not just partisan observers, to take jobs working local elections. The document calls for placing 800 poll workers “in key states and precincts” for the 2022 midterm elections.
Ms. Anderson said Heritage’s role in passing the Arizona bill would serve as a template for other efforts. “We will have that same sort of playbook for Texas and Florida,” she said. “So I would put Georgia, Arizona, Texas, Florida as kind of the first wave of seats. And then we’ll turn to looking at Wisconsin, Michigan and potentially Nevada.”
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