The RNC announced their new Committee on Election Integrity on Wednesday, sharing the news first with Fox News.
The RNC says the new committee will work closely with state parties and other election stakeholders nationwide on voting policies and best practices. Among them: the panel will push to ensure poll watchers are allowed to properly observe counting processes, "meaningful" voter ID laws are codified, and all Americans have faith in our elections process.
"Election integrity is one of the most critical issues we face as a party and as a country," RNC chair Ronna McDaniel emphasized in a statement.
Pointing to the 2020 election cycle, when dozens of states allowed for greater use of absentee balloting due to health concerns of in-person voting at polling stations amid the coronavirus pandemic, McDaniel argued that "what we saw this past election – states undoing important safeguards, bypassing the proper legislative processes, and changing election laws in the eleventh hour – was deeply troubling and brought chaos and uncertainty to our sacred democratic processes"
McDaniel – who last month was reelected to a third two-year term steering the national party committee – stressed that "as RNC chair, I will not sit idly by and the party will respond. The RNC will play a crucial role in restoring confidence in our elections, promoting election integrity, and recommending best practices to ensure that future elections are free, fair and transparent."
During her successful reelection effort, McDaniel mentioned that forming an election integrity commission would be a top priority.
The RNC notes that it ran its most comprehensive legal strategy to date, spending more than $30 million during the 2020 cycle on election protection efforts in battleground states across the country. And the party says the new committee demonstrates "a renewed focus on continuing this important work and fighting Democrats’ unprecedented attempts to change election laws."
Then-President Trump spent the eight months leading up to November’s general election slamming the push to expand voting by mail. And after the election, he repeatedly charged without providing concrete proof that there was "widespread fraud" during the presidential contest and that the election was "rigged."
Trump claimed that he overwhelming won an election he lost by roughly 7 million votes to then-Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and argued that the election was "stolen." But more than 50 lawsuits filed by Trump, his reelection campaign and allies in a half a dozen states where Biden narrowly edged Trump were shot down and Biden’s Electoral College victory was certified by Congress. The RNC backed Trump as he aimed to reverse the election results.
The RNC says the new committee will be chaired by Florida Republican Party chair Joe Gruters, with national committeewoman from the District of Columbia Ashley MacLeay serving as co-chair. Party officials add that the full temporary committee will consist of 12 men and 12 women, representing the RNC from 21 states and the District of Columbia.
The Repubican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) on Wednesday also announced it was launching a commission "to restore the American people's confidence in the integrity of their free and fair elections."
Trump in 2017 formed a voter fraud commission – chaired by then-Vice President Mike Pence – but the controversial panel was disbanded less than a year later as it faced lawsuits, opposition from some states, and infighting among some of its members.
The new move by the RNC comes as GOP state lawmakers in three battleground states where Biden narrowly edged Trump – Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania – are pushing to tighten voting restrictions on mail-in balloting in future contests.