The RNC’s Election Integrity Efforts Have Left Much To Be Desired. I Have A Plan To Succeed.

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Like a homeowner who sees evidence of termites on the windowsill, the RNC has finally woken up to the election integrity crisis, years after Democrats systematically began hollowing out safeguards ensuring that our elections be limited to legal voters only. Too many of our states have introduced rules seemingly designed to invite fraud, while Democrat lawyers convinced courts to eliminate sound laws in the name of far-fetched civil rights claims, often with little, if any, meaningful resistance from Republican interests. Every Republican voter knows it. Yet the Democrats’ denials, amplified by their allies in the media, mean that far too few Americans understand the depth of the problem or the danger that it poses to voter confidence in our elections — and ultimately to the nation itself.

A Look At The Past 

Ever since I joined the RNC in 2016, after many years serving as an election lawyer laboring in isolation, I’ve been ringing the alarm: the RNC should be leading the fight to restore election integrity nationwide. It has the access to resources, the platform, and the vision – at least in theory – to issue-spot, prioritize, and lead nationally. By all reasonable expectations, the RNC should have been training and placing the right people on the ground, filing the right lawsuits in court, aggressively opposing Democrat lawsuits, and messaging clearly about the problem to alert the entire American public to lead the way to legislative change.

A 1982 consent decree sidelined the party from conducting so-called “election day operations,” – a fact often used by party insiders as an excuse, to this day, for complete legal inaction on just about every front. But starting in 2018, when the consent decree expired, the party could have done much more to oppose legal challenges to sound voting laws, to model best practices in election integrity, and to support state efforts to upgrade safeguards for fair and accessible elections. Why didn’t we? Too many cautious insiders were afraid of being called names if they insisted on voter ID, on strict adherence to rules, on purging outdated voter roles of ineligible voters.

I’m a veteran of the internal battles to motivate the party to take the issue seriously. In 2019, after a disastrous midterm election, my complaints were answered with a reward familiar to squeaky wheels in bureaucracies everywhere: I was appointed to chair an ad hoc committee on election integrity. For a year, our committee earnestly studied everything from bloated voter rolls (in blue and red counties alike), to overseas voters, to the hazards of same-day registration and ballot harvesting. We prepared a detailed action plan … which gathered dust throughout 2020 as COVID was used to shred our voting laws on a wholesale basis nationwide, even as the party sat inert, doing little to fight back. At times, the party claimed it was the Trump campaign’s problem to do the legal heavy lifting in 2020 – but how can an ephemeral campaign, focused on winning a single, presidential election, address long-seated, structural problems in voting nationally, or the storm of changes wrought by COVID? It couldn’t — and it didn’t.

Harmeet K. Dhillon is a candidate for RNC chairman at the January 27, 2023 election.

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By Harmeet K. Dhillon

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