Former GOP Elections Official Implores Republicans to Reject Donald Trump

With just one day left until Americans choose their next president, one former Republian elections official is imploring members of his own party to resoundingly reject President Donald Trump.

Benjamin Ginsburg, who co-chaired the bipartisan 2013 Presidential Commission on Election Administration, wrote in a Washington Post editorial on Monday that Trump “has failed the test of leadership” and that his bid for a second term is “foundering.”

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Trump’s “only solution has been to launch an all-out, multimillion-dollar effort to disenfranchise voters,” Ginsburg writes, “first by seeking to block state laws to ease voting during the pandemic, and now, in the final stages of the campaign, by challenging the ballots of individual voters unlikely to support him.”

This tactic “is as un-American as it gets,” and it places the Republican Party “on the wrong side of demographic changes in this country that threaten to make the GOP a permanent minority,” Ginsburg says.

“These are painful words for me to write,” says Ginsburg, a lifelong member of the Republican Party. “I spent four decades in the Republican trenches, representing GOP presidential and congressional campaigns, working on Election Day operations, recounts, redistricting and other issues, including trying to lift the consent decree. Nearly every Election Day since 1984 I’ve worked with Republican poll watchers, observers and lawyers to record and litigate any fraud or election irregularities discovered.”

Voter fraud in the United States is exceedingly rare, according to the FBI. Scores of studies have shown that only a handful of votes out of billions cast over the last few decades have been fraudulent, and an even smaller fraction of those cases have resulted in criminal prosecution.

Ginsburg says that Trump is clinging to the voter fraud lie out of panic and desperation.

“As he confronts losing, Trump has devoted his campaign and the Republican Party to this myth of voter fraud. Absent being able to articulate a cogent plan for a second term or find an attack against Joe Biden that will stick, disenfranchising enough voters has become key to his reelection strategy,” Ginsburg writes.

“Perhaps this was the plan all along. The president’s unsubstantiated talk about ‘rigged’ elections caused by absentee ballot ‘fraud’ and ‘cheating’ has been around since 2016; it’s just increased in recent weeks,” Ginsburg continues, calling the GOP’s onslaught of lawsuits to disenfranchise voters a “shameful effort.”

Particularly troublesome for Ginsburg is what happened in Texas over the weekend, when the state Republican Party filed a lawsuit to have more than 100,000 legally cast votes thrown out because voters dropped them off at drive-thru polling stations, which is legal in The Lone Star State. The Texas Supreme Court tossed the lawsuit, but for Ginsburg, that is beside the point:

Perhaps they forgot the Republican expressions of outrage in Florida in 2000 when Democrats sought unsuccessfully to exclude 25,000 absentee ballots in GOP counties because of administrative error, not voter fault.

I was there, and I haven’t.

The GOP lawyers managing these lawsuits may have tactical reasons for bringing each. But taken as a whole, they shout the unmistakable message that an expanded electorate means Trump loses.

This attempted disenfranchisement of voters cannot be justified by the unproven Republican dogma about widespread fraud. Challenging voters at the polls or disputing the legitimacy of mail-in ballots isn’t about fraud. Rather than producing conservative policies that appeal to suburban women, young voters or racial minorities, Republicans are trying to exclude their votes.

Ginsburg adds, correct, that “the Republican challenging effort is focused almost exclusively in heavily Democratic areas. Signature mismatches will go unheeded by Trump forces in friendly precincts. This is not about finding fraud and irregularities. It’s about suppressing the number of votes not cast for Trump,” he says.

Ginsburg then laments how far the GOP has fallen as it has succumbed to toxic Trumpism:

How sad it is to recall that just seven years ago the Grand Old Party conducted an “autopsy” that emphasized the urgency of building a big tent to reach communities of color, women and young voters. Now it is erecting voting barriers for those very groups. Instead of enlarging the tent, the party has taken a chain saw to its center pole.

My party is destroying itself on the Altar of Trump. Republican elected officials, party leaders and voters must recognize how harmful this is to the party’s long-term prospects.

Ginsburg concludes his op-ed by urging members of the GOP to “look what we’ve become,” and that “it is we who must fix this.”

Although he does not explicitly endorse Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, Ginsburg stresses that Trump must be voted out of office.

“Vote,” Ginsburg pleads, “but not for him.”

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