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Bannon Has a Plan, and His Followers Are Acting On It

Far-right supporters signing up in droves to become local election precinct officers
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 6, 2021 1:40 PM CDT
Steve Bannon Champions Quiet New Election Strategy
Former White House strategist Steve Bannon.   (AP Photo/Thibault Camus, file)

(Newser) – Far-right followers of Steve Bannon are heeding his unusual battle cry—to start working in their local election precincts. And as an investigative piece by ProPublica explains, this seemingly innocuous suggestion has the potential to affect election results around the country. To be clear, Bannon is not urging his followers to run for office—he's urging them to assume roles in which they will have a say in the logistics of the elections themselves. "Precinct officers are the worker bees of political parties," explains the story. Often, they deal with mundane stuff such as knocking on doors. "But collectively, they can influence how elections are run," and this is what Bannon has seized upon. For example, precinct officers might choose poll workers or the people who sit on boards that oversee elections. Essentially, Bannon wants conservatives to seize control of the GOP from the ground up.

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The Trump ally began sounding his call immediately after the 2020 election, and he has kept up the drumbeat. "It’s going to be a fight, but this is a fight that must be won, we don’t have an option,” Bannon said in May. “We’re going to take this back village by village … precinct by precinct.” The story makes clear that people are listening:

  • "ProPublica contacted GOP leaders in 65 key counties, and 41 reported an unusual increase in signups since Bannon’s campaign began. At least 8,500 new Republican precinct officers (or equivalent lowest-level officials) joined those county parties. We also looked at equivalent Democratic posts and found no similar surge."
County party officials all over the US have been deluged with calls, but only from the right. “I’ve never seen anything like this, people are coming out of the woodwork,” says JC Martin, the GOP chair in Polk County, Fla. Since January, his county has added 50 new committee members. (Read the full story.)

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