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Monday, January 24, 2022

‘Tidal wave’ of voting restrictions on the horizon

by Fredreca Schouten | CNN

Pressure to impose voting restrictions at the state level will continue over the next year as Republicans move forward with a series of new proposals — ranging from legislation that would eliminate ballot drop boxes to bills that would establish new ID requirements for voting.

For example, in Georgia, State Sen. Butch Miller, a Republican and provisional chairman of the state Senate, introduced a law this month that would ban the use of ballot drop boxes in a state that already passed a law this year. which is dramatically restricting their use. , In Florida, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis wants to set up a new law enforcement office to investigate election crimes. In Arizona, another battlefield state, a bill would establish new voter identification requirements.

Lawmakers in four states have already filed at least 13 bills for 2022 legislative sessions, according to an analysis released Tuesday from the Liberal-leaning Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s law school, making it harder to vote. Will be done.

And in five states, six pre-recorded bills would allow an “audit” or review of election results, as former President Donald Trump and his allies continue to base their 2020 losses on election fraud.

In addition, some 88 restrictive bills that were introduced but failed to become law in nine states this year are expected to be taken up in legislative sessions beginning early next year, the analysis found.

“We saw a tidal wave of restrictive voting laws last year,” said Jasleen Singh, who serves as an attorney at the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program and helped research legislative proposals. “We’re seeing no sign of that tidal wave ending in 2022.”

The report argues that the federal voting law, now stalled in the US Senate, offered the best tool to counter the oncoming onslaught of new laws in states where Republicans have a firm grip on the government’s levers.

Restrictions period in 2021

A flurry of legislative efforts to curtail ballot access reached new heights this year.

In all, the center found that lawmakers in 19 states had passed 34 restrictive election bills as of December 7 – largely as Republican-led legislatures raced to reshape the election system in their states.

Passing 2021 accounts for more than a third of all restrictive voting laws enacted since Brennan began tracking voting legislation a decade ago, the researchers said.

Some of the laws passed this year – with proposals under consideration during next year’s legislative sessions – aim to cast ballots by mail voting and other alternative methods that election officials will use in 2020 to reduce the spread of the coronavirus during the pandemic. was used.

Conservative critics argue that voting by mail left the election vulnerable to fraud, although federal, state and local election officials insist there is no evidence of widespread wrongdoing that would have affected the outcome of last year’s election. .

Jason Snead, who runs the conservative Honest Elections Project, said revising voting procedures in state legislatures next year is “going to be one of the top 10 issues”.

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In some cases, he said, lawmakers need to revisit procedures that were changed on an emergency basis during the height of the pandemic. In 2020, “the pendulum was swung more heavily in favor of personal protection from the virus than election integrity,” Snead said. “But does it make sense on an ongoing basis? Does it make sense now? Does it make sense in an election 10 years from now?

In Georgia, a traditionally red state that President Joe Biden flipped last year, Republican lawmakers earlier this year enacted a sweeping new law that established ID requirements for voting by mail and one per 100,000 registered. Limited the ballot drop box to one of the voters. As a result, populous Fulton County — which takes over much of Atlanta — grew from 38 drop boxes to eight during the 2020 election under the new law.

(An analysis earlier this year by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Georgia Public Broadcasting found that more than half of absentee voters in four heavily Democratic counties used drop boxes to return their ballots in the 2020 general election.)

Now Miller, who is seeking the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor, wants to end the use of drop boxes in Georgia.

“Going forward, we can return to pre-pandemic normalcy of individual voting,” Miller said in a recent news release announcing his bill. “Removing the drop box will help rebuild the trust that has been lost. Many see him as the weak link when it comes to securing our elections against fraud.

Georgia will host some major midterm political battles in 2022 with the office of governor, the post of secretary of state, and a US Senate seat.

Florida Push

In neighboring Florida, DeSantis — considered a potential contender for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024 — is pursuing what he calls “election integrity reform,” which he says will make “Florida the number one state for elections.”

Earlier this year, DeSantis signed into law a controversial bill that brought a number of changes to election procedures in Florida — including a ban on ballot drop boxes, stricter voter IDs for voting by mail, and the pick-up of voters’ ballots. Includes refund limit. ,

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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