After spending two years selling its audience on countless conspiracy theories about Democrats supposedly stealing elections, One America News Network is now attempting to convince them to become election workers.
Since the 2020 election, OAN has been a clearinghouse for almost every election lie imaginable. The day after the election, while votes were still being counted, OAN declared that “Trump won a second term last night,” and the only reason nobody said it was because the Democrats were trying “to create confusion” while they worked to steal the election. OAN employees have since pushed a wide variety of inane conspiracy theories about how Biden supposedly stole the election, enough to earn the network multiple defamation lawsuits worth over $1.6 billion.
The network has pushed for “audits” of election results in multiple swing states. OAN even allowed its then-employee (now Trump lawyer) Christina Bobb to raise money for Voices & Votes, her nonprofit that funded and staffed the audit in Arizona, while she reported on the effort. It has also devoted voluminous coverage to shoddy conspiracy theories by people like pillow magnate Mike Lindell and filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza and elevated numerous Republican elected officials and candidates promoting the same misinformation.
Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee is gathering an intricate network of Republican poll workers and attorneys to challenge Democratic votes in majority-Democratic precincts in the upcoming midterm elections.
Politico reported earlier this month that the plan “includes utilizing rules designed to provide political balance among poll workers to install party-trained volunteers prepared to challenge voters at Democratic-majority polling places, developing a website to connect those workers to local lawyers and establishing a network of party-friendly district attorneys who could intervene to block vote counts at certain precincts.”
Though OAN does not specifically appear to be part of the RNC’s plan, the network has aired multiple calls for its viewers to “get involved” in the administration of future elections, in whatever position they can get. Bobb looms large in this effort. On her former show Weekly Briefing, which is now hosted by Voices & Votes co-founder Chanel Rion, Bobb would often end with a similar plea for viewers to “get involved,” because “if we don’t secure our elections, nothing else matters.”
On June 11, Bobb returned as a guest on her former show. Frustrated that some Republican officials weren't pursuing Trump’s election lies, Bobb told the audience that their involvement in elections is crucially important. “It’s going to take a very concerted effort. We need everyone to get involved, secure the elections, and actually take back those important offices like attorney generals and chief law enforcement officers.”
Discussing Georgia and Arizona, Bobb said, "these are Republican states, and I think it’s really important to highlight that election security and election fraud -- this is not Republicans blaming Democrats. … We have corrupt leaders on both sides of the aisle, in many different states, corrupting our elections. And so it’s really important for the American people to get involved and take back their elections, because we have a swampy politics problem, not a party problem.”
Later in the same interview, Bobb returned to the theme of the OAN audience becoming election workers. She predicted that the 2022 midterms “will be secure, if the people step up,” crediting a “record numbers of volunteers” in Virginia for Republican wins in the 2021 election. “Those who are watching who are not currently volunteering, get involved and volunteer in your local elections. Make sure that the candidates that you like and that you want to vote for -- sign up through their campaigns and work to be a poll worker. … Take one day, take one day to volunteer and show up at the polls and make sure that there’s no funny business going on.”
On June 7, Bobb spoke with OAN anchor Stella Escobedo, to complain that a minor instance of illegal ballot collection in Arizona “is being swept under the rug by the people who cheated in the first place.” Nothing about the case suggests the kind of widespread fraud that Bobb and other election deniers have been obsessed with for years; nonetheless she proclaimed that the case “is actually confirming” that widespread fraud “actually did take place.”
“Hopefully we have a fairer election in 2022,” Bobb said, adding that “it’s more important to actually get involved and work the polls” than it is to register to vote. “Take a day. If everybody can chip in for one day, even half a day, a couple hours -- just to make that extra effort to make sure there’s more eyes on the polls, and make sure that the way the ballots are being counted is done in a way that has integrity, and that you can be confident that your vote is counting properly. People just need to get involved.” Bobb predicted that “we’ll have it cleaned out” and all the election fraudsters removed before the 2024 presidential election, “but it’s going to take all of us getting involved in ‘22 and ‘23 to make sure that ‘24 is secure.”
“This country is worth fighting for, Christina. That’s true,” Escobedo replied, telling the audience, “So get involved.”
On May 31, in a different interview, Escobedo asked Bobb about her work “to restore credibility with elections,” to which Bobb replied that “certainly it starts with the people on the ground. … If you want to get involved and make sure your elections are secure, get involved.” Bobb continued, “Volunteer, become a poll worker, become an observer -- better yet, become an election worker,” pointing specifically to Maricopa County, Arizona, which Bobb said is seeking 2,600 election workers.
“Take a job at the county and be responsible for managing the election in Maricopa County. So that’s certainly a big lift at the grassroots level just to make sure that the people involved are honest.” In an attempt to back up her lies, Bobb went on to discuss alleged evidence of fraud, including the debunked movie 2000 Mules, and other anecdotes, which she termed “quite suspicious.”
Between the RNC’s plan to create a network of Republican poll workers and attorneys, and OAN’s ability to marshal angry viewers into direct action, the network's lies could get legitimate votes thrown out in future elections.