Trump-Backed Attorney Wants to Restrict Voting Access on College Campuses

Cleta Mitchell, an attorney who assisted Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, also spoke out against voting-by-mail.

Cleta Mitchell speaks about election integrity at the South Carolina Republican Party

Image via Getty/Gerard Albert III/Myrtle Beach Sun News/Tribune News Service

Cleta Mitchell speaks about election integrity at the South Carolina Republican Party

A veteran GOP attorney has devised a plan to give her party an edge in the 2024 election: make the voting process much more difficult.

Longtime legal strategist Cleta Mitchell outlined the scheme Saturday during the Republican National Committee donor retreat in Nashville, where she presented a 50-slide PowerPoint titled, “A Level Playing Field for 2024.” The Washington Post obtained audio from the event as well as a copy of Mitchell’s presentation, which included voter suppression strategies aimed at young people and others who have historically leaned Democrat.

According to the Post, the presentation called on conservatives to limit voting access on U.S. college campuses, where there tends to be much more opposition to the GOP. Though it’s unclear if Mitchell presented the plan “exactly as it was prepared on her PowerPoint,” the Post confirmed she touched on students’ access to the ballot box and questioned why it had become so easy.

“What are these college campus locations?” she reportedly asked. “What is this young people effort that they do? They basically put the polling place next to the student dorm so they just have to roll out of bed, vote, and go back to bed.”

According to researchers at Tufts University, the 2022 election had the second-highest youth turnout in the past 30 years. The school’s Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement estimated 27 percent of U.S. young voters (ages 18-29) cast a ballot during the midterms. Michigan had the highest youth turnout in the country (37%), while states like Minnesota, Maine, Oregon, and Colorado had more than 30 percent. Tufts’ report cited an Edison Research National Election Pool exit poll that found young voters preferred Democrats to Republicans by 62 percent to 36 percent, marking the only age group in which a strong majority backed Dems.

The Republican attorney also spoke out against same-day voter registration and the vote-by-mail option, two provisions that have been more advantageous for Democratic candidates. As pointed out by the Post, GOP members have warned that voting-by-mail and looser voter ID laws will result in more election fraud; however, experts say there is no evidence to support such claims.

“The Left has manipulated the electoral systems to favor one side … theirs,” Mitchell reportedly wrote in the presentation. “Our constitutional republic’s survival is at stake.”

The Republican Party has not officially endorsed Mitchell’s plan, but RNC spokesman Keith Schipper said the governing body appreciates the attorney’s contributions.

“As the RNC continues to strengthen our Election Integrity program, we are thankful for leaders like Cleta Mitchell who do important work for the Republican ecosystem,” Schipper said. “Our guests in Nashville were grateful for her to travel to the event and share her efforts.”

Mitchell did not respond to the Post’s request for comment.

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