There's a reason why Democrats have long controlled polling places
One of the things that's bewildered me for almost twenty years is why poll workers are so often Democrats. I assumed that it was because Republicans were too passive and disinterested to get involved at the ground level. This matters because, as both Stalin and Biden said, what ultimately matters is who counts the votes — and the next closest thing to counting the votes is being a poll worker.
I just learned that I owe Republicans an apology. It turns out that, in 1982, the RNC entered into a consent decree that prohibited it from aggressively enlisting poll workers, and that consent decree fully ended only last year.
The consent decree isn't a secret. It's simply that I hadn't paid attention to it before, and, I'm betting, many of you hadn't, either. Breitbart has the story:
The consent decree was the result of a settlement with the DNC after the DNC sued its Republican counterpart for allegedly intimidating voters in predominantly Democrat areas of New Jersey during the state's ultra-tight 1981 gubernatorial contest, as reported at the time by the Herald-News.
In a 2020 op-ed in the Washington Post, McDaniel detailed the numerous longstanding limitations the consent decree had placed on her organization and wrote of its newfound freedom that "the playing field" was "level again."
What happened in 2020 was that the RNC was finally able to recruit poll-watchers (but, as we know, Democrat poll workers often managed to kick them out). However, that's only part of the battle. All other activities, including recruiting poll workers, had to be done under the umbrella of a presidential candidate's own efforts. So it was the Trump campaign, not the RNC, that recruited poll-watchers, and Trump lacked the wide and deep infrastructure the RNC has.
Image: Poll workers in training in Kansas City. YouTube screen grab.
This year marks the first year since 1982 that the RNC has a free hand to work to get voters to the polls and to ensure that there is equal representation at polling places to prevent election shenanigans. Again, from Breitbart:
The Republican National Committee (RNC) is ramping up Republican presence at the polls this year by enlisting thousands of poll workers ahead of the midterms, an operation it legally could not run for nearly 40 years prior to 2018.
The committee is using this week specifically — the week of "Poll Worker Recruitment Day," which officially took place Tuesday — to capitalize on its millions of Republican contacts by pushing out directives for people to become involved at the polls as both watchers and official workers.
The RNC actually got to do a trial run for its three-pronged new approach to elections — "litigation, on-the-ground work, and communications" — during the Virginia gubernatorial race that put Glenn Youngkin in the governor's mansion. By having an infrastructure in place, said RNC chair Ronna McDaniel, they were able to get 100,000 more voters involved:
2022 Watch: @GOPChairwoman tells @FoxNews the RNC's get-out-the-vote efforts in #VAGov "was a great test run for next year." Touts "we were really, really, effective at finding unexpected votes" #VApolitics #2022elections #GOP #RCJinVegas pic.twitter.com/BSJv8FF9eS— Paul Steinhauser (@steinhauserNH1) November 6, 2021
As we learned in 2020, he who controls the polling place may well control the election outcome. If you're interested in getting involved, this may be the year to reach out to the RNC, which, however else you feel about it, has a strong, nationwide ground game.