A disturbing number of Republican lawmakers have embraced former President Donald Trump's nonsense claims that the 2020 election was "stolen" from him by Democrats. While Trump is under the delusion that Democratic heavy-hitters conspired with election software companies and foreign adversaries to deliver the party a victory, other Republicans have scrambled to target absentee ballots and ballot drop boxes as election vulnerabilities.
Among these Republicans is Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who has repeatedly sought to undermine public faith in the integrity of U.S. elections by promoting statistically insignificant instances of election fraud.
Less than a month after election lies led to the January 6 insurrection, Paul misleadingly claimed that “In Wisconsin, tens of thousands of absentee votes had only the name on them and no address. Historically those were thrown out, this time they weren’t.” In reality, this policy was put in place by Republicans and enacted before the 2016 election, which Trump won. Shortly after Biden took office, Paul refused to acknowledge Biden as the legitimate winner of the 2020 election.
And on Monday, Paul posted a tweet laying out how to "steal" an election.
Despite Paul's deliberate use of buzzwords like "seeding," "targeting," and "harvesting," none of the efforts he described were actually illegal. They merely resulted in more people casting legally valid votes.
An article Paul linked from the American Conservative described a "shadow campaign" by nonpartisan entities to turn Wisconsin blue through expanded accessibility to mail-in ballots, increased voter education initiatives, and the recruitment of more election workers.
...none of which is illegal.
Paul made clear what he believes amounts to "stealing" an election.
People soon began making comparisons.
Despite no validation of the right's claims that widespread fraud occurred, multiple Republican state legislatures have passed or proposed stricter voting laws designed to limit voter participation.