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Top Republican officials are urging the party to embrace early voting and vote-by-mail options, in a shift from past statements by former President Donald Trump. Recent TV appearances, memos, and public statements by GOP operatives and leaders have emphasized the importance of utilizing these voting methods. This change comes after years of contradictory statements from Trump about the legality and safety of voting by mail, causing concerns among Republican strategists about voter confidence in early voting options.

The Republican National Committee is now actively promoting early voting and vote-by-mail, with calls for encouraging voters to utilize these options. The newly installed RNC co-chair, Lara Trump, emphasized the need to match Democrats in encouraging voters to take advantage of these voting methods. Efforts to promote early voting among Republican voters have been ongoing for years, but the party’s messaging has been inconsistent, especially since Trump took a hard stance against voting by mail during the pandemic.

Despite efforts to encourage early voting, some Republican strategists are concerned that matching Democrats in this area may be too little, too late. Participation in early voting has varied in recent election cycles, with a decrease in mail-in ballots from 2020 to 2022. The skepticism of mail-in voting among Republicans, fueled in part by Trump’s claims of fraud, poses a challenge for the party’s efforts to promote early voting and vote-by-mail options.

The RNC has launched programs like “Bank Your Vote” to motivate Republicans to vote early, appointing Trump allies to spearhead these efforts. Trump himself appeared in an ad promoting early voting, emphasizing the importance of mastering the rules to beat Democrats at their own game. The committee has also deployed election integrity directors in swing states to engage in get-out-the-vote efforts and recruit volunteers for early voting operations.

The challenge for Republicans lies in overcoming party sentiment against mail-in voting, which has been reinforced by Trump’s skepticism. A Pew Research Center analysis found that a significant portion of Republican voters lack confidence in the accuracy of their mail-in or absentee votes, in contrast to the high confidence expressed by Democrats. Republican strategists stress the importance of investing in early ballot access operations to ensure a robust voter turnout and avoid relying solely on Election Day turnout.

Overall, the push for Republicans to embrace early voting and vote-by-mail options represents a significant shift in the party’s strategy. Despite initial resistance and skepticism, party officials are recognizing the importance of increasing voter participation through these methods, aligning with efforts by Democrats to reinforce their infrastructure for early voting. Moving forward, the success of these initiatives will depend on Republicans’ ability to navigate state laws, build voter confidence, and effectively engage voters in utilizing early voting options.

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