The Washington Post: How GOP-backed voting measures could create hurdles for tens of millions of voters

After a historic voter turnout last year, Republican lawmakers in at least 43 states are considering more than 250 bills that would make it harder to vote, according to the Brennan Center for Justice.

In an effort to undermine and disenfranchise voters, the GOP’s national push to enact hundreds of new voting restrictions could strain every available method of voting for tens of millions of Americans. According to a Washington Post analysis, the GOP’s effort to suppress voters could potentially amount to “the most sweeping contraction of ballot access in the United States since the end of Reconstruction, when Southern states curtailed the voting rights of formerly enslaved Black men”.

From The Washington Post:

The measures are likely to disproportionately affect those in cities and Black voters in particular, who overwhelmingly vote Democratic — laying bare, critics say, the GOP’s true intent: gaining electoral advantage.

The rush to crack down on voting methods comes after many states temporarily expanded mail and early voting in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, leading to the largest voter turnout in more than a century. The changes reshaped both who turned out and how they voted, with an astounding 116 million people — 73 percent of the electorate — casting their ballots before Election Day, according to The Post’s analysis.

While Republicans in states like Georgia and Arizona are proposing rollbacks in access to the ballot, particularly targeted at Black and Brown votersNorth Carolina Republicans have yet to file any bills.

Historically, Republicans in North Carolina have tried to give themselves unfair advantages when redrawing districts and enacting suppressive voter laws to the detriment of communities across our state.

In 2018 and 2019, lawsuits challenging North Carolina congressional and legislative districts alleged that state lawmakers manipulated lines to maximize GOP seats. A state court found the state’s maps unconstitutional and ruled that the maps needed to be redrawn before the 2020 elections.

The wave of GOP voter suppression bills across the country, particularly in Georgia and Arizona, reflects Republicans desire to maintain power by any means.

In order to stop their attack on voting rights and our democracy, we must demand the passage of voting rights legislation such as HR1, The “For the People Act” and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act in order to protect all of our voices.

Bottom Line: In 2020, we witnessed a historic voter turnout — one in which communities who have been marginalized or disenfranchised were participating in record numbers. 

And now, more than ever, we need our representatives to enact voter protections and expand access to the ballot box in order for all eligible voters to freely and safely exercise their constitutional right to vote.

Alanna Joyner

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