Republicans appear to have 'grievously injured' their own voters -- and it could come back to haunt them in 2022

Despite zero evidence of any widespread fraud in the 2020 election, most Republicans believe next year's midterms will not be counted fairly, according to a poll released Tuesday by the nonpartisan Center for Election Innovation and Research.

The new poll of Republican voters, conducted for CEIR by Echelon Insights, detail what Republicans believe about the 2020 results, and reveal how this might affect their future voting behavior.

Unfounded and unproven accusations of election fraud by prominent members of the Republican party, spearheaded by former President Donald Trump and proliferated by candidates in Nevada and the nation currently campaigning to win office in 2022, have sown distrust in U.S. elections for the long term, according to the poll.

The poll found that nearly two-thirds (65%) of GOP and Trump voters are not confident that votes across the U.S. were counted accurately in 2020 and 53% believe they will not be fairly counted in the upcoming 2022 midterm elections. Only 38% of GOP and Trump voters felt confidence their vote would be counted.

By contrast, self-identified Democrats (87%) and independents (62%) are much more confident about 2022.

“This poll confirms that the campaign to discredit elections has grievously injured Republican voter confidence," David Becker, executive director and founder of CEIR.

“There's no way to understate the danger we're in," Becker told reporters in a conference call. “I personally believe this is as dangerous a moment for American democracy as the Civil War, and perhaps even worse."

The January 6 insurrection and the Trump administration's efforts to overturn last year's presidential election continue to undermine Republican trust in the process.

“People who have that kind of impulse, who have lost any kind of sense of principles or norms, who are willing to defy the will of the people in a democratic society to install a leader they prefer, where does that naturally go?" Becker asked.

The poll found trust in local elections actually remains high. But it wanes as the jurisdiction gets bigger. While 75% of GOP and Trump voters believe the 2020 elections were conducted very or somewhat well in their own communities, confidence drops to 61% at the state level and 32% at the national level.

In high-profile states Trump claimed were stolen from him, confidence in state level elections is even lower among GOP and Trump voters, including Arizona (46%), Pennsylvania (40%), and Georgia (52%), than among the national sample.

Misinformation about voter and election fraud is widely believed by Republican voters. Overall, nearly half (48%) of GOP and Trump voters believe there was widespread occurrence of election officials deliberately miscounting votes in 2020, compared to just 10% of Democrats and 25% of independents who feel that way.

Asked what issues they believe will continue to be a problem in the 2022 elections, 61% said illegitimate votes from false or deceased persons; 55% said duplicate votes, or people voting multiple times; 46% said elections officials intentionally miscounting votes; and 36% said elections officials accidentally miscounting votes.

Despite the fact that not a single so-called “full forensic audit" has yet to overturn an election — and on the contrary such “audits" have validated 2020 election results, as happened in Arizona — GOP and Trump supporters strongly support the exercise.

The polling suggests election denial could have long-term negative effects on turnout, particularly among Republicans and Trump voters who may become more radicalized as their trust in elections diminishes.

“One out of every six Republican voters say that they are less likely to vote in the midterms unless 'forensic audits' are conducted across the country, which is both completely unnecessary and highly unlikely," said Becker.

CEIR noted that unlike official processes of auditing and verifying election results under law, “forensic audits" aren't an actual election practice.

Among GOP and Trump voters, 16% say they are less likely to vote in 2022 if no such audits are conducted. That's four times the number who say they would be less likely to vote if audits were conducted. Another 60% of GOP and Trump voters support audits in every state and (47%) support audits only in states Biden won.

Some Republican worry about the possibility of their voters staying home, citing statements such as one issued by Trump last month. “If we don't solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020," Trump said, “Republicans will not be voting in '22 or '24. It's the single most important thing for Republicans to do."

The poll was conducted online by Echelon Insights from October 20-26, 2021. It surveyed 1,600 registered voters nationally with oversamples of 150 voters in three 2020 battleground states (AZ, GA, and PA) and one state conducting a competitive off-year gubernatorial election (VA). The poll has a total sampling error of +/-3.4683%.

Nevada Current is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Nevada Current maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Hugh Jackson for questions: Follow Nevada Current on Facebook and Twitter.

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Immigrants implore Democrats to 'keep their promises' on immigration

In September, Fransis Garcia traveled all the way to the nation's capital from Las Vegas to call on Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform through the budget reconciliation process. But before she could join a scheduled march, the U.S. Senate parliamentarian rejected the effort.

On the night of Sunday Sept. 19, Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough determined the Democrats' proposal to provide legal status to roughly 8 million people fell outside the boundaries of what can be done through budget reconciliation, a process that allows a simple majority to pass a bill instead of having to meet the usual 60-vote threshold.

“That lowered our morale. We were hoping for a better resolution," Garcia, a housekeeper at MGM Resorts and holder of Temporary Protected Status, said in her native Spanish. “I've gone to various marches but I think that was the one we went into with the most hope."

According to an estimate prepared by the Center for American Progress the proposed provisions could have put nearly 113,000 people in Nevada including those brought to the U.S. as children and TPS holders— on a track to permanent residency.

The Senate's Parliamentarian is a nonpartisan, unelected individual who interprets the rules of the chamber, and whose decision can be ignored by Senate leadership or overturned by a Senate vote.

Now immigrant rights advocates in Nevada are demanding that Democrats change, ignore or overturn the Senate parliamentarian's ruling.

On Friday, a group of protestors stood outside the Federal Building on South Las Vegas Boulevard to demand Congressional Democrats and President Joe Biden keep their campaign promises to provide a pathway to permanent residency to those brought to the country as children, TPS holders, essential workers and farm workers.

Activists with the National TPS Alliance and the Arriba Las Vegas Workers Center argued that the Senate parliamentarian's ruling is non-binding, adding that Democrats can't hide behind the ruling to excuse inaction on immigration reform.

“The racist opinions of the parliamentarian are a political smokescreen meant to confuse and divide us. We know that Democratic party leadership has the power to deliver permanent residency this year, and we call on them to keep their promises" said Walter Martinez, a member of the Culinary Union Local 226 and a TPS holder, who has lived in the U.S. for 20 years after immigrating to the United States from El Salvador.

The tough talk underscored the frustration built up in the immigrant community after years of promises from Democrats without results.

“They know they aren't doing the right thing," said Garcia, who's lived in the U.S. for 25 years. “They're using the parliamentarian as a justification to not do the right thing. They're telling us it's her fault when they're the ones with the power in their hands."

“They owe us. During their campaign they promised a path to citizenship for TPS holders, DACA, and essential workers but they keep exploiting us."

A study released earlier this year by the Center for American Progress and the University of California, Davis, Global Migration Center found that allowing Dreamers, individuals with temporary humanitarian protections and undocumented essential workers to become permanent residents would increase the U.S. gross domestic product by a cumulative total of $1.7 trillion over 10 years and create more than 400,000 new jobs.

However, in her decision to reject a pathway to citizenship for immigrants, the Senate Parmilitarioan wrote, “the policy changes of this proposal far outweigh the budgetary impact scored to it and it is not appropriate for inclusion in reconciliation."

Under budget reconciliation rules, the Senate can't consider matters that are deemed “extraneous" to the budget.

Ramon Estrada, a realtor and TPS holder, disagreed with the parliamentarian's assessment. He said he pays taxes and has contributed to the country for 25 years as a construction and restaurant worker.

“We've worked for everything we have," Estrada said in Spanish. “Stop using us as puppets. If they give us residency we could contribute a lot more economically to this country."

More importantly, Estrada and his wife Maricruz Salvador haven't been able to see their children in 25 years because TPS does not automatically grant the ability to return to the U.S. after traveling abroad.

“It's not easy for me to talk about this because I haven't seen my children in 25 years and haven't been able to leave the country," Salvador said through tears. “It's really sad to be in this country alone without the support of my family."

“We're asking for support. We're asking for help," Salvador said in Spanish. “We're asking for a document so we can be free and know that we count in this country."

The group of activists agreed: the budget reconciliation is the only clear path to citizenship for millions of immigrants.

In July, Nevada Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and several other Senate Democrats told Biden reconciliation was their best opportunity at passing immigration reform.

Sen. Bob Menendez, a member of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, told immigration advocates “If we don't have reconciliation I'm not sure that there's a pathway forward" for immigration reforms.

Menendez told advocates he'd been involved in bipartisan talks with Republican colleagues for several months in hopes of finding common ground on immigration, however, the meetings have remained unproductive.

Nevada Current is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Nevada Current maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Hugh Jackson for questions: Follow Nevada Current on Facebook and Twitter.

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