Nel's New Day

February 21, 2021

GOP Plans ‘Rigging and Stealing’ Future Elections

Filed under: Voting — trp2011 @ 11:50 PM

Alice O’Lenick, a GOP representative on the Gwinnett County (GA) election board, wants her colleagues in the area of almost 1 million population to lobby the state for changes for the elections. Her goals in the changes, including limits on absentee voting and elimination of ballot drop boxes, is to “have a shot at winning.” Georgia’s no-excuse absentee voting law was passed over a decade ago; Republicans want to change the law only after Democrats won the presidency and two U.S. senators in the most recent election.

As Deposed Donald Trump (DDT) continues to claim the election was rigged and he’s the real president, GOP lawmakers in 33 states have proposed over 165 bills that would restrict voting. Four times as many bills were introduced this year as the same time last year. These legislators have joined GOP secretaries of state in a commission to examine elections laws amid the push to block people voting against Republicans.

Republicans know they can win only by disenfranchising anyone who votes against the GQP (Grand QAnon Party). In the past, they purged voters, cut back on early voting including on Sundays, restricted voter registration—actions that will be accepted by many judges. A few years ago, states began to cut back democracy by shrinking people’s ability to pass ballot initiatives, those on the ballot through voters’ signatures:

Proposed state bills by Republican legislators:

Arizona: increase voting approval of initiatives from a majority to 60 percent and a two-thirds supermajority for tax increases. It might prevent the passage of such initiatives as automatic and same-day voter registration.

Florida: a constitutional amendment increasing passage of initiatives to two-thirds approval. The state had increased the approval requirement from majority to three-fifths in 2006 after a successful vote enfranchised people no longer in prison.

Missouri: constitutional amendments to vastly increase the required number of signatures for putting initiatives onto the ballot by spreading them over multiple districts and mandate legislative approval for any initiative on a ballot; ban on judges to change the summary for ballot measures. Republicans are taking this action following a reform of legislative redistricting and new ethics restrictions on state legislators which they repealed last year.

Montana: a constitutional amendment to gerrymander the state supreme Court which could be on the 2022 ballot. The move retaliated against the state courts striking down the GOP’s 2018 congressional gerrymandering and protecting voting rights in 2020.

Pennsylvania: a constitutional amendment to gerrymander its appellate courts, too late for the May primary ballot but in time for the November election. The move retaliated against the state courts striking down the GOP’s 2018 congressional gerrymandering and protecting voting rights in 2020.

More bills to suppress voting:

Arizona: The Brennan Center for Justice called Arizona the nation’s leader in “proposed voter suppression legislation in 2021.” Among their 40 GOP bills is one that would permit the state legislator to overturn the popular vote for president by naming the electoral college representatives who disagree with the vote majority. A bill purging about 200,000 voters from the early voting list was blocked when one GOP senator sided with Democrats to stop it.

Florida: Republicans in a Senate committee passed a bill to end the system of allowing people to request absentee ballots for two election cycles, instead mandating applications for every cycle and canceling requests from 2020 for 2022. State absentee voters rose in 2020 to 2.1 million from 1.5 million.

Georgia: Georgia Republicans advanced a record number of voting restrictions: end no-excuse absentee voting for everyone under 75; require voter ID for absentee voting; restrict use of mobile early voting buses; block anyone from giving food or water to people standing in the long lines at polls; give the GOP-run secretary of state’s office more power to take over the operations of county election offices. The hearing for a sweeping bill adopting many more voting restrictions had almost no advance notices:

  • Limit the availability of absentee ballot drop boxes;
  • Disqualify votes cast in the wrong precinct but in the right county;
  • Outright ban for Sunday early voting, disproportionately used by Black voters and churches via “souls to the polls” voter drives after Sunday services;
  • Cut the number of remaining early voting hours with the excuse of county standardization;
  • Shorten the absentee voting period by barring ballots from being sent out more than four weeks before Election Day;
  • Ban election officials from sending unsolicited absentee ballot applications to voters although GOP Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger did so in the 2020 primary; and
  • Prohibit private organizations from donating funds to help officials administer elections after multiple groups donated tens of millions to do so in 2020.

Indiana: A GOP bill passed in committee strips the governor and state Election Commission of the power to implement emergency election changes after they temporarily expanded last year’s voting access. The power would be moved to the Republican state legislature.

Iowa: Bills passed in GOP committee:

  • Reduce the period for early and mail voting from 29 days to 18;
  • Limit counties to one mail ballot drop box regardless of population size;
  • Remove counties’ ability to set up satellite early voting locations, requiring voters to request them;
  • Bar counties from sending absentee ballot request forms to voters, even if voters ask for one, meaning those who lack transportation or a printer have trouble getting an application;
  • Ban third parties from collecting and submitting mail ballots on a voter’s behalf; and
  • Prevent political parties and other get-out-the-vote groups from pre-filling any portion of absentee ballot request forms on behalf of voters.

Kansas: Republican legislators introduced a bill making it a felony for anyone other than a family member or caregiver to collect and submit an absentee ballot on behalf of another voter.

North Dakota: Republican legislators withdrew a bill requiring voters to be a resident of their jurisdiction for a full year, instead of the current 30-day residency requirement, which would have disenfranchised college students, active-duty military members, and new residents who intend to remain in the state long-term.

While Republicans try to block voting for large swaths of the population, Democrats are working to expand voting rights. Lawmakers in 37 states introduced 541 bills to expand mail-in voting, extend early voting, promote voter registration, and restore the right to vote for those who have lost it. At the national level, the first measure Democrats introduced into Congress this year was the “For the People Act,” which embraces the policies in the state bills and also reforms campaign financing, requires candidates to disclose the previous ten years of their tax returns, and ends gerrymandering. Some of the provisions in a 2019 bill passing the House:

  • Require early voting and same-day registration for federal elections;
  • Require states to automatically register voters who interact with certain state agencies and place limits on how aggressively states can remove voters from the rolls;
  • Require states to set up independent commissions to draw congressional districts, reducing the potential for excessive partisan gerrymandering; and
  • Restore the provision of the Voting Rights Act requiring places with a history with voting discrimination to pre-clear voting changes before they go into effect.

States working for expansions of voter rights:

California: passed automatically mailing a ballot to all active registered voters for elections.

Iowa: passed a constitutional amendment codifying Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds’ 2020 executive order automatically restoring voting rights to people with felony convictions who have completely served their sentences, with the exception of those convicted of homicide offenses.

New Mexico: passed a bill in the House to end felony disenfranchisement for people on parole or probation.

New York: consider a bill automatically restoring voting rights to people with felony convictions upon release from prison.

Virginia: passed a state-level equivalent of the federal Voting Rights Act, banning voting rules discriminating against voters based on race or language group. Localities attempting to make voting changes affecting protected racial or language groups must submit the proposed changes for public comment for a period of at least 30 days or seek the state attorney general’s approval to make alterations on shorter notice. Another bill would move municipal elections held in the spring to November, with its higher turnout.

The GOP excuse for suppressing voter rights comes from their assertion of election fraud, “information warfare” in “a classic Russian-style disinformation campaign,” according to Jonathan Rauch of the Brookings Institute. Through the “firehose of falsehoods,” incessant lying about a rigged and stolen election, the GOP joins DDT in “manipulating and organizing the social environment and the media environment to confuse and discombobulate enemies, to isolate them, to demoralize them so they don’t know what’s true or false anymore, they get very frustrated. In a fire hose falsehood campaign, it’s not about having one idea and pumping it out consistently. It’s about throwing spaghetti against the wall. It’s anything and everything. It can be wild. It can be random. It’s to create confusion and epistemic chaos. That’s what we are seeing. That’s very hard for democracies to deal with it.”

And that’s the strategy for Republicans rigging and stealing elections through voter suppression.

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