Republican Voting

Abigail Schrauth

Some Republicans have noted Trump’s role in the diminished confidence right-leaning voters have in alternative voting methods. Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., just won a razor-thin race over a Democratic challenger last month. Now about to enter his seventh term, Schweikert said that Republicans in his state used to enjoy a robust early voting edge. Arizona allows for nearly a full month of early, in-person voting and allows for full vote-by-mail. “I’ve won elections where like 84 percent of my vote came through the mail. And it was actually part of the formula — Republicans were winning elections,” he told NBC News. “President Trump then expressed skepticism on absentee balloting. Our problem is we had people in Arizona who conflated absentee balloting with the permanent early balloting system.”Chris McNulty, a former RNC political director, also asserted that Trump scared GOP voters away from early voting. The former president’s message has been amplified by leading right-wing voices such as Charlie Kirk and Benny Johnson of the influential Turning Point USA activist group. Kirk, who had raised concerns about mail-in voting, changed his tune after the November midterms, tweeting that Republicans must recognize the “power of early voting.” But Johnson has called for a ban on mail-in voting. McNulty tagged the latter in a tweet this week blaming Trump for recent losses and said he subsequently heard from about a half-dozen fellow GOP operatives who agreed with him.

The Kirk and Johnson followers “can’t have their cake” by saying mail-in balloting is rigged and “eat it” too, by saying the party needs to have a better approach to winning elections, McNulty told NBC News. At the forefront of GOP concerns over early voting is Pennsylvania, where Democrats enjoyed an edge so substantial that Republicans did not come close to overcoming it. Retiring Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said the party has committed a huge mistake in not encouraging the early vote.“It’s been a huge mistake for Republican parties in various states  and mine is one of them  not to emphasize early voting,” he said. “To cede a very large percentage of the window of opportunity to vote to the other side, and then bet the ranch on one day, when the weather or any number of personal circumstances could get in the way, that makes no sense. “Reilly, the Republican committeeman from Pennsylvania, said that although there “will be hurdles” to getting GOP voters to feel more comfortable with early voting options, Republicans must undertake a large marketing campaign about how it is safe and will be counted properly while at the same time advocating for election reforms and integrity laws. “This is an instance where, in my view,” he said, “President Trump should recognize that the best interest of the Republican Party is getting more and more Republicans to vote.”