Republicans Plot To Turn The Tables On Dems’ Ballot Harvesting, Absentee Voting

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Republicans are gearing up for a massive vote-counting effort ahead of the 2024 election in a bid to keep the House of Representatives and take back the Senate and White House, five top officials said on a Wednesday press call.

While GOP candidates and elected office-holders, most notably former President Donald Trump, have been skeptical of mail-in and early voting in the past, the Republican National Committee (RNC) is throwing millions of dollars behind an effort to ensure that the party’s voters use all legal means of voting. The initiative, called, Bank The Vote, will be chaired by Tennessee Sen. Bill Hagerty and Florida Rep. Byron Donalds and is active in all 50 states.

“We no longer have an election day, we have an election season. Many states have weeks and weeks of voting,” RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel told reporters. “We don’t want to wait till the fourth quarter to start scoring touchdowns.” (RELATED: Georgia Sees Record Early Voter Turnout Despite Dem Hysteria Over ‘Voter Suppression’ Laws)

During the 2020 election, held during the COVID-19 pandemic, 37% of Trump supporters voted in person on Election Day, according to Pew, while only 17% of Biden supporters did so. Overall, 58% of Biden voters voted by mail, while 32% of Trump voters did so. Although the ability to bank votes early generally benefited Democrats, National Republican Senatorial Committee chairman Steve Daines of Montana said, it was not overwhelming in every state.

Daines pointed to his own victory in Montana, when he defeated then-Gov. Steve Bullock in one of the most expensive races in chamber history. Bullock declared a state of emergency due to the pandemic and ordered universal mail-in voting. Republicans “embraced” the change, Daines said, and he won by 10 points.

“We can’t take our chances on Election Day,” Daines explained. “Republicans need to take advantage of all voting methods in each state like Democrats have done.”

NORWALK, CALIFORNIA – OCTOBER 14: A pedestrian places a ballot in an official mail-in ballot drop box outside of the L.A. County Registrar’s office ahead of Election Day on October 14, 2020 in Norwalk, California. Over 1 million Californians have returned their mail-in ballots with Election Day over two weeks away, breaking the record for most mail-in ballots received by this time in any California election. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

“We’ve got to have a change of culture among Republican voters” when it comes to mail-in voting, National Republican Congressional Committee chairman Richard Hudson of North Carolina added.

All five Republicans on the call expressed optimism about Republicans’ chances of regaining control of the Senate. In addition to Montana’s other Senate seat, held by Democrat Jon Tester, Republicans are hoping for pick-ups in Ohio and West Virginia. Montana is one of 24 states that allows ballot-harvesting, McDaniel noted, and Republicans will use it, even though she herself is not a fan of the practice.

“We’re probably not going to change the law,” McDaniel acknowledged. (RELATED: Republicans Will Focus On Four States In 2024, Mitch McConnell Says)

Donalds pointed to his state as a model for Republicans nationwide. After the contested 2000 election, former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush signed legislation that set a mandatory election certification date and provided funding for updated voting machine technology. Since the 2018 election of Gov. Ron DeSantis, the Florida GOP has registered nearly 600,000 new voters, compared to a decline of 140,000 for the state Democratic Party.

“We’ve been banking votes for a long time” in Florida, Donalds said. “Our local committees have been doing the hard work to make sure they get voters out.”

“At the end of the day, you’ve got to have more votes than the other guy.”