Chicago, IL — Tomorrow night, the Illinois GOP will celebrate their “Bank Your Vote” Gala as a turning point for their struggling party, but in reality, it’s another ironic display of their ongoing identity crisis.
The IL GOP has embraced the RNC’s “Bank Your Vote” campaign for the fundraiser and their 2024 strategy. They encourage Republicans to vote early or vote by mail, methods which many high-profile Republicans, including their presumptive nominee Donald Trump, have repeatedly and falsely claimed leads to election fraud. The keynote speaker for the gala, Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana, was among those who questioned the results of the 2020 election, supported efforts to challenge the results, and even sent a fundraising email pushing the “Big Lie” conspiracy.
While they publicly roll out this effort to increase early and absentee voting, Illinois Republicans have spent significant energy behind the scenes attempting to suppress the vote through litigation. Congressman Mike Bost has sought to block mail-in ballots received after Election Day, and IL GOP Treasurer Laura Pollastrini is a co-plaintiff in that effort. The ongoing appeal was also supported by the RNC through an amicus brief, despite their public 180 on mail-in voting.
The gala is a clear example of a national GOP tension between their electoral strategy and the inflammatory rhetoric of their party leader.
“The IL GOP won’t disavow Bost’s efforts to restrict Illinoisans’ right to vote, John Kennedy’s history of pushing election fraud, or Donald Trump’s anti-democratic agenda, but they are happy to take up this new-found passion for early and absentee voting when electorally convenient. With no record to run on and an authoritarian extremist poised to sit at the top of their ticket, the IL GOP is struggling to connect with voters. It shouldn’t be a difficult task to defend voting rights and our democracy, yet the IL GOP continues to tie themselves to individuals who pose a threat to free and fair elections,” said DPI Chair Lisa Hernandez.