Trump’s Allies Ramp Up Campaign Targeting Voter Rolls

A network of right-wing activists and allies of Donald J. Trump is quietly challenging thousands of voter registrations in critical presidential battleground states, an all-but-unnoticed effort that could have an impact in a close or contentious election.

Calling themselves election investigators, the activists have pressed local officials in Michigan, Nevada and Georgia to drop voters from the rolls en masse. They have at times targeted Democratic areas, relying on new data programs and novel legal theories to justify their push.

In one Michigan town, more than 100 voters were removed after an activist lobbied officials, citing an obscure state law from the 1950s. In the Detroit suburb of Waterford, a clerk removed 1,000 people from the rolls in response to a similar request. The ousted voters included an active-duty Air Force officer who was wrongly removed and later reinstated.

The purge in Waterford went unnoticed by state election officials until The New York Times discovered it. The Michigan secretary of state’s office has since told the clerk to reinstate the voters, saying the removals did not follow the process laid out in state and federal law, and issued a warning to the state’s 1,600 clerks.

The Michigan activists are part of an expansive web of grass-roots groups that formed after Mr. Trump’s attempt to overturn his defeat in 2020. The groups have made mass voter challenges a top priority this election year, spurred on by a former Trump lawyer, Cleta Mitchell, and True the Vote, a vote-monitoring group with a long history of spreading misinformation.

Their mission, they say, is to maintain accurate voting records and remove voters who have moved to another jurisdiction. Democrats, they claim, use these “excess registrations” to stuff ballot boxes and steal elections.

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