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State Republicans impose new voting restrictions after losing Trump

The President of the Texas Republican Party called on lawmakers there to make “electoral integrity” the top legislative priority in 2021, calling, among other things, for a reduction in the number of early voting days. Jason Miller, a top Trump advisor, told the conservative site Just the news that Trump consider staying involved in “vote integrity” efforts, keeping the issue high on Republicans’ concerns. And VoteRiders, a nonprofit group that helps potential voters obtain identification if they need it to vote, said it expects a serious push for new voter identification laws. voters in at least five states, while North Carolina could potentially implement new voter identification policies. who were retained in court.

Voter ID laws are generally very popular among the general public – a Pew Research Survey 2018 found that three-quarters of Americans polled supported laws requiring voters to present photo ID – but activists say they are problematic for several disparate groups of voters.

“These are students and other young people, these are communities of color, these are older adults who no longer drive, low income people, people with disabilities,” said Kathleen Unger, Founder of VoteRiders. VoteRiders estimated that up to 25 million Americans of voting age did not have government-issued photo ID.

Georgia Republicans, in particular, are intensely focused on their state’s election laws, after the state became the epicenter of Trump’s attempts to undermine confidence in the 2020 election results. Georgia Republicans have proposed a host of changes, ranging from placing limits on who can vote by mail to limiting the use of drop boxes, which allow people to return mail ballots without using the postal system .

The Republican State Senate caucus approved Ending absentee voting without excuse in Georgia, which was used disproportionately by Democratic voters in the 2020 election. (More than a third of Biden’s votes in Georgia were cast by mail, compared to just 18% of Trump’s votes.) Republican state Brad Raffensperger, who dismissed Trump’s fraud allegations, also said he supported removing mail-in voting without excuse because the system was too cumbersome for local election administrators.

However, the state’s GOP legislative leaders have yet to agree on what exactly needs to change. Republican Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan, who is the President of the State Senate, tells 11Alive News that he would not support ending the absentee vote without an excuse, and House Speaker David Ralston has also rung the bell skeptical about the end of the practice. Republicans are more universally aligned with requiring absent voters to submit a copy of ID when requesting or returning a ballot, which would replace the state’s signature verification system . Georgia already requires voters to present photo ID when voting in person.

“I think this is most likely to be signed into law,” said State Senator Larry Walker, deputy chairman of the Senate Republican Caucus. Walker said he would be “very supportive” of the change and said his constituents were deeply concerned, saying he had received thousands of emails, letters and texts.

“A large percentage of my constituents have lost confidence in the integrity of our electoral system,” he said. “So we’re going to try to address some things that we think can restore public confidence in the system.”

He also rejected the claim that changes would deprive voters of their right to vote, citing the state’s high turnout. “I don’t think any of these ideas are heavy or too restrictive or lead to what I would consider voter suppression,” he said.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, a non-partisan organization, 36 states have some form of voter identification law in place. the NCSL ranks Georgia as a “strict photo ID” state, meaning voters without approved ID must vote on a provisional ballot and take steps after the election to have their ballot counted.

But Georgia is unique among the closest 2020 Battlefield states in that Republicans control the governorship and both houses of the state legislature. That excludes Democrats, who are widely opposed to voter identification laws or other proposed electoral changes, such as limiting absentee voting. Democratic governors in states with Republican legislatures, like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, could veto changes in election laws if there is no bipartisan agreement on what to change.

“If you look at the disposition of governments within them, I’m not sure many of them will be able to go the distance like Georgia will,” said Jason Snead, executive director of the Honest Elections Project. . , a conservative group. “But I think there’s definitely a lot of interest in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin.”

In Pennsylvania, Republican lawmakers have signaled their intention to introduce voter identification laws and try to repeal the bipartite law allowing postal voting without excuse, although Democratic Governor Tom Wolf stands in their way. The problem could spill over into the 2022 midterm election, when Republicans attempt to take over the governorship.

“It is no secret that further electoral law changes need to be made,” Pennsylvania State Representative Seth Grove, a Republican who chairs the state government committee, said Thursday afternoon. Chamber, during a hearing on state election laws. Democrats and Republicans have proposed changes to Pennsylvania election laws. Thursday’s hearing was the first of a total of 14 scheduled hearings on election laws.

In Arizona, another swing state Biden narrowly carried, Republicans in the state Senate advanced legislation that would result in no more automatic recounts. Some Republicans have also introduced legislation to abolish the state’s permanent early voting list – for which an overwhelming majority of voters are registered – despite being a co-sponsor of the legislation. said to the Republic of Arizona, “It can’t pass and I don’t want to waste my time with it.”

And in North Carolina, the state’s delayed voter identification policy could take effect before the 2022 midterm election. In 2018, voters approved a constitutional amendment requiring voter identification, but a federal judge blocked its entry into force for the 2020 cycle. A federal appellate judge canceled an order effectively blocking its implementation, but there is an ongoing legal battle in state and federal courts over the law.

“Electoral integrity, electoral security, these issues are not going anywhere,” Snead said. “And I firmly believe that if a legislature in a particular state doesn’t pass reform this cycle, that doesn’t mean it will never pass reform, does it?”


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