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Fake voters are tapped as GOP congressional delegates



CNN

Seven battleground states are sending fake voters and others who worked to inflate the 2020 election results to represent their state parties at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee, where they will officially anoint Donald Trump as their presidential nominee.

The fraudulent voters and other voter deniers identified by CNN include several who are currently facing criminal charges for their efforts to help Trump try to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in 2020. They come from the states that were central to that conspiracy last term: Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico and Wisconsin, according to lists published by state parties and other documents obtained by CNN.

They have been selected to serve as national committee members, delegates or alternates with a clear mission: Make Trump’s nomination official.

Their role underscores how Trump has effectively woven election denial into the GOP’s platform. It also marks an about-face for a party that, at least immediately after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack sought to distance itself from Trump and his efforts to stay in power.

“Electoral denial is like the price of admission now,” according to former GOP Rep. Adam Kinzinger, a CNN contributor who served on the House Select Committee that investigated the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot and has endorsed Biden for president in 2024.

“These people who were in the fake voter scheme, or got mugged, they’re now the heroes of the movement, and they’ve taken over the party,” Kinzinger added.

Anna Kelly, spokeswoman for the RNC, noted that Republican activists are responsible for choosing their convention delegates. “State delegations are made up of delegates who are elected by their peers at the party level,” Kelly said.

The Arizona delegation includes three bogus voters who have been indicted in that state for their alleged roles in the plot, including s.tate Senator Jake Hoffman who was recently elected to the Republican National Committee. Hoffman has pleaded not guilty.

In Georgia, Amy Kremer – WHO helped organize the January 6 rally on the Ellipse before the Capitol attack but has not been charged with any criminal activity—was elected to serve on the Republican National Committee.

AP

Jake Hoffman and Amy Kremer

Michigan’s delegation counts four people facing criminal charges brought by prosecutors in that state. The group includes former Michigan GOP co-chairman and bogus elector Meshawn Maddock who has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Matthew DePerno, an unsuccessful candidate for Michigan attorney general who recently announced a run for the state Supreme Court, is also heading to the convention. He too is accused of planning to access and seize voting machines. He has denied any wrongdoing.

“They’ve gone from fringe elements of the party to, now, officially party members in good standing with perceived power,” Kinzinger said, referring to the delegates involved in the 2020 subversion effort.

The Democratic National Committee also panned the list en route to Milwaukee.

“This kind of far-right MAGA extremism on full display in today’s GOP is exactly why voters will reject Trump in November,” said Alex Floyd, a DNC spokesperson.

Nearly 5,000 delegates and alternates will gather in Wisconsin for the Republican Party’s four-day confab beginning July 15 in Milwaukee. They will come from all 50 states and six territories. And they will gather on the floor of the convention, wearing flamboyant hats and pledging their support for Trump.

The convention comes just months after Trump effectively remade the Republican National Committee in his image. Committee members selected Trump ally Michael Whatley to take over as party chairman, and Lara Trump, Trump’s daughter-in-law, now serves as co-chair. Other senior Trump campaign advisers have taken on roles with the RNC, in addition to their campaign duties.

Carlos Osorio/AP

Republican National Committee co-chairs Michael Whatley and Lara Trump address the media at the Oakland County GOP headquarters Friday, June 14, 2024, in Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

For the newly elected members of the RNC, the convention is a chance to rejoice and make their new role known. Their four-year term officially begins at the end of the convention. From there, they will take on responsibilities that could shape the GOP’s future spending, fundraising, primary debates and the next nominating convention.

“For a lot of people, it’s a great honor. You’re a delegate to a presidential nominating committee and you’re taking an important step in our country’s democracy and history,” said Douglas Heye, a GOP political strategist who once served as communications director for the Republican National Committee.

This year, those positions will be held by some Republicans who nearly undermined the Democratic process in 2020.

“The first few conventions I went to, character issues were a big part of Republican messaging,” Heye said. “We don’t really talk about that anymore. And this is a manifesto of that.”

Prosecutors in five of the seven hotly contested states last term brought charges against dozens of Republicans who served as surrogates or Trump allies who allegedly orchestrated the plot to overturn the election results.

But the cases have mostly rolled on. In Nevada, a judge who was recently deposed the criminal charges against GOP constituents over a question of where the case was filed. At this point, none of the four remaining state-level criminal cases are likely to be resolved before the 2024 election.

The slow progress in the criminal cases has left those who worked to overturn the last presidential election free to continue to openly participate in the political process, cheered on by GOP activists, many of whom share their baseless claims that the 2020 election was somehow rigged against Trump.

In Nevada, long before the charges were dismissed, the Republican Party selected five of the six false electors from 2020 to attend the Republican National Convention.

New Mexico included just one of the alternate GOP electors — who have not been accused of criminal activity — in its convention delegation.

Pennsylvania sends three fake electors to represent the state party in Milwaukee. While the Pennsylvania GOP electors have not faced criminal charges, several played an active role in efforts to overturn the last presidential election.

It includes Thomas Carroll, a Pennsylvania attorney who represented two local county commissioners as part of a legal dispute over voting machine violations. During the civil trial, Carroll and the county were both sanctioned by the state Supreme Court for defying a court order blocking their access to the machines, but they are not facing any criminal charges.

Regret and defiance

To be sure, some state Republicans who participated in the fraudulent voter system after the 2020 election have since expressed remorse for their actions.

In December, the 10 fake electors from Wisconsin dismissed their efforts to reverse Trump’s 2020 defeat and acknowledged the legitimacy of Biden’s victory as part of a civil lawsuit settlement. In a rare moment of accountability, they even issued a statement admitting that the fake certificates they signed in December 2020 were “used as part of an attempt to wrongfully overturn” the legitimate election results.

Wisconsin Republicans pledged not to act as real voters in 2024 or any election when Trump is on the ballot, or to act as dummy voters in future elections, as part of the civil settlement.

But it put no restrictions on other roles they could play. One of Wisconsin’s fake electors, Pam Travis, is heading to the convention as a delegate. Another, Robert Spindell, will serve as an alternate. None of them have been charged with any crime.

Ahead of November, many of the 2020 fake voters have remained defiant.

“The American people are waking up to the perverse weaponization of government in the hands of power-hungry Democrats, which is why people are flocking to the Republican Party, President Trump and the principles of freedom like never before, and my election as the RNC National Committee member for Arizona is a positive proof that Republicans are the party of everyday, hard-working Americans,” Hoffman, one of Arizona’s mock voters, said in a statement to CNN.

Hoffman has pleaded not guilty and criticized the charges against him, telling CNN in a statement: “Let me be clear, I am innocent of any crime, I will vigorously defend myself, and I look forward to the day that I justification for this. naked political persecution of the legal process.”

Maddock, one of the fraudulent Michigan voters who has pleaded not guilty, has also called the charges against her “politically motivated” and continues to argue that Trump won the 2020 election. She responded to CNN’s request for comment but did not address questions about her role as a mock elector and the significance of being elected as a delegate.

USA Today Network/AP

Meshawn Maddock and Matthew DePerno

DePerno, who also faces state charges in Michigan, shared a statement with CNN that said in part, “You should actually do some research. So now is a good time to point out that not only so-called ‘choice deniers’ (what a stupid term) stay involved, we plan to win.”

In Georgia, Kremer has also peddled the lie that Trump won a state he lost by about 12,000 votes.

“We didn’t tell people to go to the Capitol. But the thing was, the people wanted to do something. So people marched to the Capitol,” Kremer said in April, according to the Associated Press. “And we all know what’s happened since then. The federal government has been weaponized against us.”

Kremer told CNN in a statement that she is “honored and excited to be part of a new generation of leadership recently elected to the RNC and is blessed to represent Georgia on the committee.”

“I look forward to working with my colleagues at the RNC to secure our election and ensure that Donald J. Trump is elected president in November,” she added.

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