Over the last two years, the GOP has managed to lose the House, the Senate, and the White House, so obviously that means the party is going to learn from its mistakes, condemn white supremacy in the party, and craft policies that don’t fuck over anyone not rich, white, and male, right?
The “pull yourself up by your bootstraps” party actually consists of America’s laziest and most proudly ignorant people, so instead of doing the work to build a party that’s actually worth a damn, they’ve introduced legislation in 43 states that would severely limit voting access.
According to the Washington Post, there have been approximately 250 pieces of legislation introduced by Republican lawmakers that would place restrictions on mail-in voting, enact stricter voter ID requirements, and even place limits on how long polling locations can stay open. Republicans have argued that these restrictions are intended to increase the faith of (white) voters in election security, following a year where they consistently repeated unsubstantiated lies about voter fraud and election security.
The former president actively campaigned on the idea that mail-in voting is somehow less secure without providing evidence why. Of course, white people don’t need evidence to believe something is true, so those lies directly led to a failed insurrection on Jan. 6.
Somehow, the only thing the GOP took from all that was “mail-in voting...bad?”
Michael McDonald, a political scientist at the University of Florida, put it plainly, telling the Washington Post, “If Republicans truly wanted to increase confidence in elections, they would stop saying, ‘Don’t trust the elections.’”
While many of the pieces of legislation have been introduced in states where President Joe Biden won, there has been legislation introduced in historically red states where no one even contested the election. Take Iowa for example, where Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a bill into law this week that will reduce hours at polling locations for both early voting and on Election Day.
“No one questioned the legitimacy of anything that happened in our state election,” Sharon Steckman, a Democratic state representative in Iowa, told the Washington Post. “They won. They won overwhelmingly. We had no fraud in Iowa.”
From the Washington Post:
If many of the measures proposed across the country pass, legal scholars and voting advocates alike say some will be difficult to defend in court. Foley, the law professor at Ohio State, said taking away a previously granted voting right will prompt scrutiny of the law’s rationale — with the burden on the government to justify a new hurdle for voters.
Democrats will also be armed with the fact that until Trump launched his campaign against mail voting, Republicans were champions of the practice, passing legislation in Florida, Pennsylvania and elsewhere, and developing sophisticated ballot “chase” operations to encourage their voters to request, fill out and return mail ballots.
Arguing that some of the proposals could disproportionately affect people of color is a trickier legal prospect because of the federal bench’s history of narrowly defining racist intent under the Voting Rights Act.
When you look at these bills in totality, it paints a picture not of security but of suppression. Take Georgia for example, where a series of voter restrictions passed through the state House earlier this month. The restrictions would place limits on ballot boxes, mail-in voting, limit early voting, and shorten hours at polling stations. Those restrictions alone would probably lead to longer lines on Election Day, and Georgia has also introduced another piece of legislation that would prevent people from giving out free food and drinks to those waiting in long lines.
How, exactly, does any of that benefit voters? I’ll answer that for you: It doesn’t.
The pandemic saw many states enact measures that allowed for universal mail-in ballots and expanded early voting as an effort to keep people alive. As a result, the 2020 election saw the highest voter turnout in almost a century, with 73 percent of the electorate using early voting methods.
The GOP can keep trying to hide behind this “election security” schtick if they want to, but Republican Senator Lindsey Graham basically said the quiet part out loud last November in an interview with Fox News, saying, “If we don’t do something about voting by mail, we are going to lose the ability to elect a Republican in this country.”
Yes, the problem isn’t that the GOP’s whole platform is antagonistic to anyone who doesn’t look, love, or think like them. It’s that too many people voted. But please, tell me again how much the GOP believes in constitutional rights.