And they’re not even hiding their motives:
After record turnout in 2020, Republican-controlled states appear to be in a race to the bottom to see who can pass the most egregious new barriers to voting.
According to a new analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice, 253 bills to restrict voting access have been introduced in 43 states already this year. Georgia is ground zero for the GOP’s escalating war on voting, targeting the voting methods that were used most by Democratic voters in 2020 and which contributed to flipping the state blue and electing two Democratic senators.
On Tuesday, Georgia’s Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Dugan introduced a bill repealing no-excuse absentee voting, which 1.3 million Georgians used in 2020, including 450,000 Republicans. Under his proposal, only a small subset of voters, such as those who are out of town, disabled, or over 65 (a demographic that leans strongly Republican), will be eligible to vote by mail. The small percentage of Georgians who can still cast ballots by mail will have to get a witness signature on their ballot and attach a copy of photo identification, which requires access to a copier or printer. The new law would make Georgia one of the most restrictive states in the country for mail voting.
Georgia Republicans wrote every aspect of the state’s already stringent voting laws and for many years promoted mail voting, specifically exempting mail ballots from voter ID requirements because they didn’t want their own voters, who are older and more rural, to be disenfranchised. They abruptly had a change of heart in November, when more Democrats than Republicans voted by mail for the first time.
Their confidence that the Trumpified federal courts will allow even the most egregious measures to go into effect is, of course, eminently justified.
Having said that, all of these measures also hang fully on Joe Manchin, Kyrsten Sinema, and any other Senate Democrat who thinks preserving a disastrous anti-democratic tradition that isn’t even old enough to drink legally is more important than passing voting rights legislation.