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States have already introduced 165 bills this year to make voting harder

The latest report from the Brennan Center for Justice found the number of voter suppression bills has skyrocketed since Donald Trump’s election loss.

By Emily Singer - February 09, 2021
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Wisconsin voters, election 2020

Republican state legislatures across the country have introduced a torrent of bills meant to restrict access to the ballot box, a new report from the Brennan Center for Justice found.

“In a backlash to historic voter turnout in the 2020 general election, and grounded in a rash of baseless and racist allegations of voter fraud and election irregularities, legislators have introduced well over four times the number of bills to restrict voting access as compared to roughly this time last year,” the Brennan Center for Justice wrote in a report published on Monday.

Since 2021 legislative sessions began, 165 bills to restrict voting have either been “introduced, prefiled, or carried,” the report found, up from 35 voter suppression bills that were introduced by this same time in 2020.

“These bills are an unmistakable response to the unfounded and dangerous lies about fraud that followed the 2020 election,” the report stated.

The report found Arizona, Pennsylvania, and Georgia have seen the most legislation introduced to restrict voting rights — all states President Joe Biden won and that Republicans attempted to steal by employing baseless allegations of fraud.

Some of the recent bills filed by Republicans seek to make it harder to vote by mail — a secure way of casting ballots that states across the country expanded during the COVID-19 pandemic — while others seek to make it harder to register to vote in the first place.

Georgia GOP Gov. Brian Kemp justified efforts by Georgia Republicans to make it harder to vote, telling Republican operatives in a a podcast interview that the state should make it harder to vote absentee — even though there were no instances of fraud.

“I do think there’s things that we need to do, seeing how many people voted absentee, the demand and the volume is significantly more than we’ve ever seen in the past,” Kemp said in a podcast interview with Josh Holmes, a longtime aide to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and two other GOP operatives, released Tuesday morning.

“And I think that gives us some reasoning to go into this session, which we’re doing now and consider other ways to make it easy to vote in Georgia, but also hard to cheat. And one of the things that I’ve championed is a photo ID requirement for absentee ballots by mail, just like we have for in person,” he added.

It’s unclear how many of the 165 voter suppression bills and counting will become law.

However, Marc Elias, a Democratic lawyer who fights for voting rights, said he is planning to sue to get those laws thrown out.

“We will see them in court, and we will win,” Elias tweeted on Monday.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.


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