Brennan Center analysis of Conservative Partnership Institute cites potential elections interference

Insurrectionists loyal to President Donald Trump try to break through a police barrier at the Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6, 2021.

Julio Cortez / AP

The Conservative Partnership Institute is training its supporters by recruiting poll watchers and election staffers and creating teams of local citizens to potentially challenge voter rolls and election officials with document requests.

It’s part of a nationwide effort for a greater presence in local election offices. A number of summits encouraging members to increase poll-watching activity and challenge voter eligibility have already taken place in Georgia.

The group has become a destination for former Trump administration aides and figures linked to the January 6 insurrection. Cleta Mitchell, who was on Trump’s legal team in 2020, recently described the group’s mission as an effort to “arm the army of patriots.”

An overwhelming number of career election officials are resigning in the wake of the insurrection amid increased threats against their safety. Mekela Panditharatne, who serves as counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice’s Democracy Program, urges states and media outlets to take threats to election workers seriously, provide voter education campaigns and maintain a network of trusted messengers to amplify accurate election information.

“These problems are compounding. The loss of election officials is creating more holes to fill [and] making it harder for election offices to combat election misinformation,” Panditharatne said on Thursday’s edition of “Closer Look.”

“It’s also potentially leaving room for an influx of election deniers.”