The Washington Post reported Thursday, based on data compiled by the Brennan Center for Justice, that:
“In 43 states across the country, Republican lawmakers have proposed at least 250 laws that would limit mail, early in-person and Election Day voting with such constraints as stricter ID requirements, limited hours or narrower eligibility to vote absentee.”
That actually undercounts the deluge of bills that seek to make it harder for Americans to vote, since the Brennan Center’s report was compiled Feb. 19.
More proposals have been introduced since then, the Post says.
The 2020 election, as you probably know, set records for voter participation, which benefited from various measures making it easier to vote early or by mail or in other ways designed to reduce the danger of COVID exposure on Election Day.
While the Republican sponsors and supporters generally claim to be concerned that they need to crack down on voting methods other than in-person on Election Day in order to reduce fraud and other problems, all but the most partisan observers recognize the flood of such bills for what they are: an effort to make it harder to vote in hopes of improving Republican chances in future elections by reducing turnout.
In addition to despicable, there’s something bordering on pitiful about a party having to adopt such a strategy.
The number and sweep of such anti- (small d) democratic and anti- (big D) Democratic measures is staggering. Many of the bills will fail, but in Republican-controlled states many of them will pass. It remains to be seen the extent of their impact.
Not only Democratic but neutral and expert observers agree that voter fraud is a small problem in the big picture and that very little fraud occurred in the 2020 vote. Despite the complaints of Donald Trump and his acolytes and enablers, the intent of the bills is obvious.
The Trump campaign filed more than 50 lawsuits and other challenges to the vote in dozens of court and other venues seeking to overthrow the comfortable victory of Joe Biden in the election. Almost all were dismissed quickly and easily by the courts, and none came close to the result desired by Trumpians, to overturn Joe Biden’s victory in both the popular and electoral votes.
Those court battles are over. But Trump insisted long past Election Day and even since Joe Biden’s Inauguration Day that the election was stolen by Democratic cheating. If polls can be believed, while most Americans reject the claims, a sizable majority of Republicans claim to believe the Trumpian lies.
But while those retrospective claims are basically dead, the spirit behind them – a spirit that objective observers basically understand to be a desire to rig the next election – poll well among Republicans, although among neither Democrats nor independents.
I assume this effort to rig future elections in favor of Republicans by making it harder to vote will fail in states where Republicans do not control both houses of the legislature and the governors’ offices. But there are quite a few Republican-controlled states where they will very likely become law.
How pitiful is this?
The Washington Post overview of the multistate Republican-led campaign to make it harder to vote is viewable here.