Trump supporters have swamped local election offices across the nation in recent weeks with a coordinated campaign of requests for 2020 voting records, in some cases paralyzing preparations for the fall election season.
Almost two dozen states are dealing with an unprecedented number of records requests that appear intended to disrupt an already strained system. The mass of identically worded requests has forced some to dedicate days to the process of responding as they hurry to finalize polling locations, mail out absentee ballots and prepare for early voting in October, officials said.
- In Wisconsin, a recent request came in for 34 different types of documents. “When you are asking for every single document under the sun, it becomes difficult for us to do our job,” said one Milwaukee official.
- Kentucky’s GOP Secretary of State said that in some cases, the requests use seemingly technical terms that the clerks can’t decipher. When the clerks ask for clarification, he said, those making the requests can’t always explain what they’re looking for.
- Several of the requests suggest that the requester is considering litigation, for instance a North Carolina woman e-mailed her elections director, “I AM CONSIDERING SUING YOU FOR YOUR AND/OR YOUR ORGANIZATION’S INVOLVEMENT IN THE FRAUDULENT ELECTIONS THAT WILL SOON BE PROVEN TO HAVE TAKEN PLACE SINCE 2017.”
- A Republican clerk in El Paso County, Colorado, said “it’s been reported to me that some of this has been done perhaps deliberately to break the system. And you have to ask yourself, why do they want to do that?”
The flood of requests came immediately after Pillow Guy Mike Lindell livestreamed his “Moment of Truth” summit in mid-August, spreading election lies and asking Trump followers to obtain copies of what’s known as “cast vote records” from every election office in the country.
Federal law requires governments to keep election records for 22 months, and Lindell said he was trying to obtain as many of the cast vote records as he could before that period expired for the 2020 cycle over the Labor Day weekend. He said copies of the records have “poured in by the thousands” since he put out his call to action.
Lindell disputes the effort was intended to cause chaos in election offices, and suggested administrators were trying to keep information from the public.
“This is to save our country,” Lindell said. “They don’t want to do work? That’s what they’re paid to do.”
Colorado’s County Clerk Association leader called the effort an attack on local governments.
“The irony is, if Lindell wanted the cast vote records, he could have just put in a request to get them. They don’t do that. They put out this call to action for people to do it, and they know it’s going to inundate these offices, especially medium and small offices who are understaffed and overwhelmed already. They know exactly what they’re doing.”