For more coverage of the January 6th attack, check out our collection of essays and reflections examining where we are as a country a year later, including what has changed – and not – since a violent crowd of Trump- Supporters stormed the US Capitol.
After the 2020 elections, much of the Republican Party welcomed Trump unfounded Lie that his election was stolen from him. Not only did this help fuel the January 6 uprising and the passage of new election restrictions, as Nathaniel wrote, but it also encouraged Republicans to embrace greater partisan interference in elections that could result in GOP officials undermining future results or even tilt.
In around half a dozen states under Republican control, new laws have restricted the authority of state electoral officers who did not support Trump’s “big lie” and / or made it easier for GOP-controlled state boards to more easily save local electoral officials in the Democrats Force to put or threaten – Leaning areas. And that might just be the tip of the iceberg because Bills creating similar laws also in other states as well as even more extreme proposals that would make it easier for state legislators to undermine or even ignore election results.
For example, some Republican-controlled states have even targeted nationwide officials to restrict their oversight of elections. In Arizona, for example, the GOP taken away authority over electoral litigation from the Secretary of State – currently a Democrat – and shifted that to the Attorney General – a Republican. Significantly, however, this change is due to expire in January 2023 at the same time as the end of the foreign minister’s term of office. In Georgia, Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has Refusal to assist Trump in meddling in Georgia’s 2020 election results didn’t deserve just one Trump-backed lead challenger who supports the Big Lie, but it also resulted in the state’s Republicans being removed the Secretary of State as a voting member of the Georgia State Electoral Committee and give control to the Republican-led state legislature over the appointment of the chairman of the board.
New laws in the GOP-ruled states have also brought local electoral officials more openly under state control, allowing Republicans to target the electoral machinery of democratic-minded places. For example, Georgia has a Republican majority on the state electoral board can suspend local officials and appoint provisional representatives. District boards have the power to rule on eligibility contests and to confirm election results, so this is law creates a conceivable way for Republicans to sway results in heavily Democratic counties by disqualifying votes for contesting individual voters’ eligibility – or even by refusing to endorse results.
Laws in some Republican-controlled states now also provide severe penalties for election officials who allegedly fall out of line. Take Iowa where officials can now be charged with criminal offenses for failing to enforce electoral laws or following orders from the Secretary of State, who is currently a Republican. They can also be fined $ 10,000 for “technical breaches” of their duties. Such rules could have a deterrent effect, as local officials may not rule as they see fit for fear of attack.
Indeed, in the face of such legal changes, Threats from Trump supporters and the stress of the 2020 elections have many local election officials stop en masse – a loss of experience that could weaken the electoral system. This exodus also created vacancies in state and local electoral administrations, Big Lie supporters tried to fill. Paired with the The concerted effort of the extreme right Recruiting district officials, who frequently make decisions about election workers and select local electoral boards, has undoubtedly increased the likelihood of future election harassment motivated by Republican electoral interests.
And this can only be the beginning. There are more serious threats lurking, such as: Republican proposal to the Arizona Legislature This could allow the legislature to ignore the state’s simple majority presidential vote and nominate state voters to the electoral college. Republicans in Wisconsin are also considering ways overturning the state’s bipartisan electoral agency and asserting partisan control over the Wisconsin election results.
The movement for the right to threaten free and fair elections is not ebbing seems to be picking up speed. The nation’s little democratic relapse is already happening – the question now is how far it will go.