Voter Suppression Is A Five-Alarm Emergency for Democracy

by | Apr 8, 2022 | Money and Politics, Human Rights

Photo by Library of Congress

Voter Suppression Is A Five-Alarm Emergency for Democracy

by | Apr 8, 2022 | Money and Politics, Human Rights

Photo by Library of Congress
The GOP’s voter suppression laws are a coordinated effort to turn back the clock on civil rights. The problem is that these laws are working. They need to be stopped before more states adopt them.

“Voter suppression” is a divisive and highly politicized term. But for the slate of bills Republicans are pushing across the country, it’s the only correct one.

They’re introducing these bills in virtually every state, but three — Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin — are especially worrisome. These swing states, along with Pennsylvania and Michigan, helped decide the last presidential election. Each flipped from Trump in 2016 to Biden in 2020.

But now, in these states and elsewhere, Republicans want to make it harder to vote by mail, get rid of same-day voter registration and ballot drop-off boxes, limit early voting, reduce the number of voting booths at polling locations, and much more.

If you’re not paying attention to these election bills, you should be. They might determine the next president of the United States.

Joe Biden won Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin by a combined 45,000 votes. He didn’t win because of widespread voter fraud or some liberal conspiracy. He won because more people voted for him.

The GOP response hasn’t been to win more votes. It’s been to make sure fewer people get to vote.

Voting rights should be a bipartisan issue. Instead, we’re seeing Republicans throw every voter suppression idea they have at the wall of their Capitol buildings hoping something sticks. A big part of this is Trump’s iron grip over the Republican Party.

To appease Trump, Republicans have spent the last two years trying to overturn the last presidential election. They failed. But if the election bills they’re pushing are signed into law, they may not have to overturn the next one.

Texas Senate Bill 1 is a good example of the kind of restrictive bills Republicans are pursuing in at least 40 states — including those three swing states.

The new Texas law makes it illegal for election officials to send mail-in ballots to voters unless they ask for them. It requires a voter identification number to be included with mail-in ballots. And it bans 24-hour polling places, among other things.

In the first election since the law was implemented, over 27,000 mail ballots were flagged for rejection in Texas. Most rejections were due to a technicality — forgetting to include that newly required voter identification number.

In the end, 23,000 ballots were thrown out, which was about 13 percent of all mail ballots. In Democratic-dominated Harris County around Houston, that figure rose to 19 percent — nearly one in five ballots.

For comparison, less than 1 percent of mail-in ballots in Texas were rejected in the 2020 general election. When ballot rejections increase by 10- to 20-fold, that’s not a free and fair election.

If we see rejection numbers like Texas’s in a general election — especially in swing states like Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin — we’re talking about control of the House, Senate, and presidency being stolen. Not stolen from Democrats, but from voters.

According to the Voting Rights Lab, which tracks state-level election legislation, 565 election bills that restrict voter access or election administration have been introduced so far this session. Of those 565 bills, 129 are courtesy of Republicans in Arizona, Georgia, and Wisconsin.

Elections should be about the person with the most votes winning. For Republicans, it’s about putting up as many barriers to voting as possible and shrinking the electorate until it churns out the result they want.

The good news for voters and for supporters of free and fair elections is the vast majority of those bills haven’t made their way out of their state legislatures. There’s still time to stop them.

Republished with permission from Other Words, by Robert P. Alvarez

OtherWords — Institute for Policy Studies

OtherWords — Institute for Policy Studies

OtherWords is a free editorial service published by the Institute for Policy Studies. Each week, we publish a package of op-eds and columns, plus an original cartoon, and distribute them to readers, editors, and publishers through our website and newsletter. Each year, hundreds of newspapers and websites reaching millions of readers use this work.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Related Articles

May 16 2022

The Testing Lab That Missed 96% of Covid Cases

State and local officials across Nevada signed agreements with Northshore Clinical Labs, a COVID testing laboratory run by men with local political connections. There...
May 14 2022

The Facts Surrounding the U.S. Baby Formula Shortage

As Republican fear mongers like Elise Stefanik whip out conspiracy accusations and blame about the baby formula shortage, the real facts from a pediatrician are more...
May 13 2022

Rick Scott — Florida Man Gaslights Himself

Rick Scott has published an 11-point proposal to raise taxes on the poorest of Americans and set the stage to destroy Medicare and Social Security. But he now claims it...
May 13 2022

Bernie Sanders Unveils Medicare for All Act of 2022

A study by RAND found that moving to a Medicare for All system would save a family with an income of less than $185,000 about $3,000 a year, on average.
May 12 2022

Watergate — A New History of the Abuse of White House Power

As the 50th anniversary of the Watergate break-in approaches, a recent book charts the transformation of the Nixon administration’s bungled burglary into a wake-up call...
May 11 2022

State Anti-Abortion Laws Are Causing Confusion for Treatment of Miscarriages

In Texas, anti-abortion laws are creating uncertainties that may deter some doctors and other providers from offering optimal miscarriage treatment.
May 11 2022

Baby Formula Has Become the Latest Supply Chain-Monopoly Battleground

Six states are seeing baby formula shortages of more than 50% and stores are limiting purchases to three or four per customer, with prices surging to $33 per can.
May 10 2022

Investigation Shows that Right Wing Extremists Are Training Some of Our Police Officers

Reuters identified five law enforcement trainers who have been hired by police and sheriffs’ departments nationwide despite their support for right-wing militia...
May 07 2022

Turning Back the Clock: Justice Alito’s Leaked Draft Overturning Roe v. Wade Quotes a Witch Trial Judge

Justice Alito’s leaked opinion cites Sir Matthew Hale, a 17th-century jurist who conceived the notion that husbands can’t be prosecuted for raping their wives, who...
May 07 2022

Healthcare Profiteering: Medical Bills Force a Family to Get Care in Mexico

The Fierro family was trapped in a situation of being “functionally uninsured.” They have insurance, but their healthcare plan is expensive and they don’t have the...
Subscribe for Updates!

Subscribe for Updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This