GOP uses voters to drive electoral reform in unlikely states | news
HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania – Republicans this year managed to pass a number of electoral restrictions in states they politically control, from Georgia to Iowa to Texas. You don’t stop there.
Republicans in at least four states where Democrats control the governor, the legislature, or both – California, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Pennsylvania – are pursuing statewide voting or veto-proof proposals to introduce ID restrictions and other changes to suffrage.
In another state, Nebraska, Republicans control the governor’s office and have a majority in the single-house legislature, but are pushing for an electoral vote because they haven’t been able to get enough lawmakers on board pick up.
Republicans say they are tracking the changes in the name of “electoral integrity” and repeating similar slogans – “easier to vote, harder to cheat”. Democrats are dismissing it as a GOP after former President Donald Trump false claims that widespread fraud cost him the election. They say Republicans have tried to instill suspicion in elections in order to gain political advantage and are passing restrictions to prevent Democratic voters from registering or casting a vote.
âIt’s depressing that it should be [the Trump] Wing of the Republican Party thinks they need to win rather than try to win on issues or beliefs, “said Gus Bickford, Democratic Party leader in Massachusetts. “They just want to suppress the vote.”
A common thread among the Republican proposals is the tightening of the electoral identification requirements, both for personal and postal voting.
In Michigan and Pennsylvania, Republicans are trying to bypass Democratic governors who leads the veto pen. Wisconsin Republicans say they are also considering such a strategy.
In California and Massachusetts, Republicans are a minority in both houses of the legislature. In republican controlled Nebraska, the hang-up is an officially bipartisan legislature where more liberal lawmakers can derail laws that enjoy broad conservative support.
The road to voter approval is uphill in California and Massachusetts, but there is a clearer road to success in the other states.
California effort leader Carl DeMaio of Reform California said his organization was on a poll because Democratic lawmakers would never take his group’s proposals.
“That would mean they endorse Donald Trump, and they hate Donald Trump so much that they don’t even want to acknowledge that there is a problem here at all,” DeMaio said.
Trumps unsubstantiated allegations of electoral fraud That being said, DeMaio said Trump’s message gets through to people who have had doubts about the electoral system based on their own experience;
Election fraud is extremely rare and if attempted it is usually detected by local polling stations.
In any case, Democrats say the voter identification laws will do nothing to stop the little scam that exists. Rather, it will only serve to force the elderly, poor, and disabled people to put in unnecessary efforts to obtain proper government-issued IDs that they may not have, they say.
Despite Trump’s false allegations of a stolen election, his own Department of Justice and numerous recounts have exposed it, and courts up to the US Supreme Court have brushed aside such allegations. The government’s own cybersecurity agency has called the 2020 presidential elections the safest in US history.
No state legislature has produced evidence of widespread electoral fraud. Even so, at least 10 Republican-controlled states have so far passed laws so far this year that tighten ID or voter signature requirements, or limit registration or voting.
Putting voter-related matters to a national vote is nothing new.
In recent years, for example, voters in California and Florida have restored the right to vote for felons. In 2018, Michigan voters approved a constitutional amendment that would allow people to register on election day and request postal votes for no reason.
The difference this year is that Republicans are using the process to impose restrictions they couldn’t otherwise pass.
Republicans in California, Massachusetts, and Nebraska are trying to collect enough signatures to get their proposals on the ballot papers in next year’s general election.
In Michigan, Republicans are using an unusual provision in the state constitution to collect enough petition signatures for the GOP-controlled legislature to pass a veto-proof voter ID bill.
Among other things, the Michigan Initiative would forbid postal voting requests to be sent to people who did not request them, with supporters saying that in 2020 it sowed confusion and suspicion.
“The Democratic leadership is inconsistent with its constituents,” said Jamie Roe, a Republican campaign advisor and strategist with the Secure MI Vote initiative.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, prepares her veto similar legislation on her desk, told reporters this month that there was not a âscintillaâ of evidence of widespread electoral fraud in last year’s election and that Republicans are simply unhappy with Trump’s loss.
âOur options work. You don’t like the result? Well, then you stand for the next election and try to win and earn the votes of the people – and not turn off some of the people who cast their votes as Americans and have the right to do so, âsaid Whitmer.
In Pennsylvania, which does not allow direct access to ballot papers for citizens’ groups, the Republican-controlled legislature could – through a proposed constitutional amendment – put its electoral amendments on the ballot no earlier than 2023.
The Pennsylvania proposal is one of several that would go beyond voter ID changes.
As Trump’s allies go from state to state, push partisan reviews last year’s presidential election, the measure in Pennsylvania would require that the election results be reviewed by the State Auditor General. It would require paper ballots to be watermarked and “publicly viewed” after an election has been confirmed.
The measure is awaiting a vote in the State House, maybe next week before it can go to the Senate. His sponsor, Republican Rep. Jeff Wheeland, said he will “restore security to voters” that their elections are safe and secure. Another Republican, Rep. Eric Nelson, said it would allow voters to “address what many see as a frenzy of suspicion in our current electoral system”.
Referring to Trump’s loss in the battlefield state, Democratic MP Malcolm Kenyatta said the only reason the measure was introduced was “because some are disappointed with the outcome of the election.”
Under the proposed California initiative, counties would need to do more to clean up electoral rolls, assess waiting times for face-to-face voting at each election, and show how to resolve “unreasonably long” waiting times.
In Nebraska, groups like Black Votes Matter and the League of Women Voters have come together to oppose those backed by the Republicans Ballot Initiative.
John Cartier, director of voting rights at Civic Nebraska, said the initiative would violate Nebraska’s constitutional protection for access to voting. He said there has never been a single conviction for voter fraud in the state’s history.
Also, he said, states like Arizona and Georgia already have strict voter identification laws, “and the people there don’t really trust the system,” Cartier said. âSo passing a voter ID bill does nothing for trust. If anything, it hurts him. “