After underwhelming midterm elections, the Republican National Committee announced a new program to take advantage of early voting tactics used successfully by Democrats.
In an overt case of “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” the RNC’s program will encourage Republican voters to use “in-person early voting, absentee voting, and ballot harvesting where legal.”
The program is being called “Bank Your Vote” and is a direct result of party leaders pushing back against former President Donald Trump’s – and other candidates – resistance to early voting methods which Democrats used to their advantage.
“We’ve got to have a change of culture among Republican voters,” Representative Richard Hudson of North Carolina, chairman of the NRCC, said on Wednesday. “And it’s going to require us all on the same page.”
Even Trump is changing his tune. Last month, his campaign fundraised for a “ballot harvesting fund”.
Republicans have long been suspicious of third-party ballot collecting, where volunteers or contractors pick up and turn completed ballots into collection sites on behalf of voters.
RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel spoke positively of Trump’s messaging change.
“It’s simple math: You want to get as many votes in before Election Day,” she said. “But that certainly is a challenge if you have people in your ecosystem saying don’t vote early or don’t vote by mail. And those cross messages do have an impact. I don’t think you’re seeing that heading into 2024. I think you’re seeing all of us singing from the same song.”
“We have some voters that like to vote on Election Day, and we have to explain to them we can’t allow Democrats to get a head start,” McDaniel said. “We don’t want to wait till the fourth quarter to start scoring touchdowns when you have four quarters to put points on the board.”
More early voting would allow the RNC and candidates to allocate resources more effectively in the final weeks of campaigning. It would also protect voters against last minute illnesses or poor weather preventing them from getting to the polls.