The States Where Efforts To Restrict Voting Are Escalating

ILLUSTRATION OF THIRTY-FIVE

Even though the 2020 elections are over, there are still plenty of Republicans Holding on to the “big lie” or the unsubstantiated claim that election fraud cost former President Donald Trump the presidential election. Trump didn’t just make it convince its base that the election was “stolen,” but now there are many state legislatures Use it as a justification Restrict voting rights. A number of bills have been introduced at the state level in recent months that, if passed, could make it difficult for millions of Americans to cast their ballots.

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One of the biggest battlefields was Georgia, where a controversial package of new voter restrictions was released last Thursday signed into law. Under his many provisions: Absent voters are now required to prove their identity, people are prohibited from distributing food and water to voters in line, and the state electoral board has the power to remove local election officials. Legislators in Michigan and Wisconsin have also prioritized “electoral integrity” and introduced a number of laws prohibiting election administrators from proactively emailing voting requests, tightening voter ID requirements, and more.

However, the urge to restrict voting rights extends beyond a few states. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, a voting advocacy group, introduced 253 bills restricting access to voting rights in 43 state legislatures on February 19. According to our own information, at least 53 additional bills have been introduced since then. Of those 306 bills, 89 percent were sponsored wholly or largely by Republicans, according to the Bill Tracking Service LegiScan.

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In particular, the four states that tabled the most bills to restrict voting rights – Georgia, Arizona, Michigan, and Pennsylvania – were some of the closest states in last year’s presidential election. They all also voted for President Biden – for the first time Georgia and Arizona Voted a Democratic presidential candidate in over two decades – and having Republican-controlled legislation, making them particularly fertile ground for new election restrictions.

“The politicians who are introducing new voting restrictions are clearly people who are dealing with demographic changes and political winds and trying to manipulate the rules of the game so that they have some job security,” said Myrna Pérez, the director of the Voting des Brennan- Center’s program for rights and elections, which also warned that the restrictions would disproportionately disenfranchise color communities. “Instead of competing for voters, they try to fend off some voters and make it difficult for them to vote.”

At this point, the most concerted effort appears to be focused on rolling back the postal vote, which shifted significantly to the Democrats in 2020 and helped secure Biden’s victory. To some extent, given the expansion of postal voting during the pandemic – and the skepticism of Republican voters – it’s not surprising that Republicans are primarily targeting this type of voting. But as Pérez told us, “Postal ballot papers were largely unchallenged when they were used by older, whiter, Republican-minded Americans,” but “as soon as color communities began [using them] … we are beginning to see limitations. “And until the 2020 elections there was really no partisan split with the party doing mail-in votes.

Nevertheless, an almost majority – 49 percent – of the voting restrictions introduced contained provisions restricting postal votes.

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The second largest category were bills that contained some kind of voter ID law (23 percent of the bills recorded). People must provide proof of identity prior to voting long been a political priority for Republicanswho claim it is necessary to fight electoral fraud (Democrats, on the other hand, argue that this is a way of preventing a disproportionately non-white, democratically-minded population from voting). It makes sense, therefore, that more voter identification laws also make up a large part of the current Republican call for voter restrictions, especially since that is part of the “big lie” Millions of ineligible voters cast a vote (You do not have).

Forty-seven bills were also introduced in relation to voter registration, 38 which would free people from electoral rolls, 24 and which deal with personal early voting.

But there’s one major catch: most of these bills will fail. A full 89 of the 306 (29 percent) were introduced into democratically controlled legislatures – most of them died on arrival. And while the sheer number of bills introduced into Republican-controlled legislatures is remarkable, many of them are likely to die too. The legislative process is full of arcane obstacles and pitfalls that can hold back even popular bills, and some of the proposed bills were so extreme so many republicans did not support them either.

Still, what is in the bills is more important than how many will pass, and many of them would still have far-reaching implications for future elections – even if only a handful of them were made into law. As of Friday March 26th, 53 of the 306 bills had passed at least one step of the legislative process and still had a chance to become law. A total of nine had passed the committee, 34 one legislative chamber. Four had passed both legislative houses awaiting the governor’s signature, and six had already been enacted. These six are:

  • A Kentucky invoice The forbids the governor and secretary of state from changing electoral laws in an emergency when You did it last year to enable everyone to vote by post in the middle of the pandemic.
  • A few Arkansas bills The Tightening of the state’s voter card law – especially too Remove the option Voters without ID must sign an affidavit confirming their identity.
  • A Utah invoice that points to the electoral roll with death certificates and deletes all matches.
  • A comprehensive revision of the electoral law in the Iowa Among other things, this cuts the number of early votes by nine days, closes polling stations an hour earlier on election day, gives voters less time to request and return postal ballot papers, limits the number of ballot boxes to one per district, and forbids people to return anyone Postal voting of the other (with limited exceptions for carers, family members and household members).
  • And that is of course controversial Georgia invoice. In addition to the provisions we described earlier, the law limits dropboxing to early voting locations, standardizes early voting hours, gives voters less time to request postal ballot papers, prohibits unsolicited postal voting, allows unlimited voter complaints and regulations a number of minor changes.

However, a few more voter restrictions are likely to become law in the coming weeks or months. Some of the most powerful are:

The big question is whether these bills are doing what Democrats – and some Republicans – fear hope openly – You will do: Help the GOP win elections by suppressing voter turnout. However, the answer is far from clear. Despite the Republican protests study after this study found that mail-in voting does not give any party an advantage – so new laws restricting it might not do it either. Some of these new laws might not survive until the next electionalso because of legal challenges.

And of course, Democrats have one big trump card they could play: the Bund For the people’s law, better known as HR 1, which would require states to offer universal early voting, apology-free postal voting, same-day voter registration, and automatic voter registration (and more) in federal elections. Democrats can find it difficult rally enough votes in the Senate to pass it, but it would override many of these new state-level restrictions.

But even if HR 1 passed, that would not be the end of the struggle for voting rights. As long as belief in the “big lie” persists, Republicans will continue to use voter disenfranchisement as a tool to win elections, Pérez said. “I think it reflects a real fear of the tan in America and people are trying to protect what they have and keep the power to themselves.”

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