Election deniers and extremists are organizing state by state on the QAnon-linked website “Pilled.net” in an attempt to “take the Republican Party over” and undermine local election administration.
This effort has been heavily promoted by former Trump adviser Steve Bannon on his War Room: Pandemic podcast over the past year. Alongside Republican activist Dan Schultz, Bannon has encouraged his listeners to pursue local election jobs that are often left vacant due to lack of public knowledge of the positions.
As explained by ProPublica, precinct officers play an important part in deciding how local elections are run, and the responsibilities of the positions differ by state. These positions can “have a say in choosing poll workers” and even “help pick members of boards that oversee elections,” among other responsibilities.
On the September 27 edition of conservative media personality John Fredericks’ show Outside The Beltway, the host discussed Schultz’s plan to “take the Republican Party over” and “end the Joe Biden regime in its tracks.”
During the interview, Fredericks played a video from Schultz’s group showcasing his “precinct strategy” website. Schultz also promoted a new button on his website to “connect with other conservatives in your state” and suggested the site allows users to “privately and securely communicate and collaborate with one another.” Fredericks responded, saying that is “exactly what we need.”
The button that Schultz referred to takes users to Pilled.net to sign up for a group named “Precinct Strategy.” However, if users were to go to the Pilled.net homepage by clicking the pill icon in the top left corner, they would see that the website is riddled with QAnon-linked content that has been banned by mainstream social media platforms.
QAnon is a baseless conspiracy theory that claims former President Donald Trump is secretly working to take down leading Democratic officials, global pedophilia rings, and his purported enemies in the “deep state.” It has been labeled a domestic terrorism threat by the FBI and QAnon followers have been linked to numerous incidents of violence, including the deadly January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.
For example, QAnon influencer Zak Paine has an active account on the Pilled.net site with over 6,000 followers. Paine, who uses the pseudonym RedPill78, was part of the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol.
Patriots’ Soapbox, a livestream outlet devoted to the conspiracy theory, also has a profile on Pilled.net that posts similar content. Other extremist content on the site includes discussions of the chemical compound adrenochrome with QAnon influencer Jordan Sather and suggestions that liberal elites and celebrities are actually pedophiles who “will be exposed.”
Media Matters has previously reported on Bannon and Schultz’s calls to action being amplified and distributed by QAnon influencers and shared on far-right message boards. Schultz himself has appeared on a number of QAnon podcasts to encourage supporters to get involved with GOP precinct officer positions. Unfortunately, his plan seems to be working.