Republican-controlled state legislatures are responding to former president Donald Trump’s election loss by brutally clamping down on voting rights.
GOP lawmakers have entered at least 165 proposals in 33 states to restrict mail-in ballots, impose new voter ID requirements and squeeze registration choices, and those efforts are already moving full-steam-ahead in Florida, Georgia and other states, reported The Daily Beast.
“We should make no distinction between the failed Capitol insurrection and the GOP doubling down on antidemocratic voter repression schemes, except the latter could be even more far-reaching,” wrote Democratic strategist Max Burns for The Beast.
Georgia state lawmakers have introduced at least eight bills that would rebuild the state’s “red wall” knocked down by Stacey Abrams and other Democratic activists on the way to Trump’s defeat, and those efforts are endorsed by GOP secretary of state Brad Raffensperger — who drew the former president’s ire and widespread praise for his refusal to overturn the election loss.
The state would require valid photo ID for absentee ballots, even as it shuts down DMV locations that serve lower-income or minority communities, and another proposal would cut the automatic voter registration system without notifying voters they must opt in to remain enrolled.
“Republican attacks on our elections are cloaked in the dense legalese of state legislatures and buoyed with RNC campaign funds and a pro-suppression right-wing media machine,” Burns wrote. “If these efforts succeed, the GOP will have achieved a coup against democracy far beyond anything the QAnon Shaman could have imagined.”
Other states critical to Trump’s election loss are quickly moving to restrict access to the polls, with 19 such proposals in Arizona and 11 in Pennsylvania, while New Hampshire, South Carolina and Texas are each considering proposals that could have helped the former president claim victory.
New Hampshire would open the doors for anyone to observe polls “without obstruction,” while South Carolina would require signature matching on absentee ballots and Texas would take away voter registration authority from county clerks and require the Department of Public Safety to verify voters’ citizenship.
“[Republicans are] trying to stop eligible voters from voting because they don’t like the decisions voters are making,” said Arizona Democratic state Rep. Athena Salman.
In Arizona, Republicans are trying to cancel the permanent early voting list and require mail-in ballots to be formally notarized, and Burns said Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has backed a series of possibly illegal segregationist anti-voting laws that are the most repressive since the Jim Crow era.
“Voter suppression began as a tool to sustain white supremacy in the Jim Crow South,” Burns wrote. “It is now wielded with cold efficiency by Republican legislatures for much the same reason. What’s new is how overt GOP efforts to strip the franchise have become.”