North Texas Daily

Democrats need to call out Republicans for trying to add roadblocks to voting

Democrats need to call out Republicans for trying to add roadblocks to voting

Democrats need to call out Republicans for trying to add roadblocks to voting
April 12
12:00 2021

Republican state legislators are using the fantasy of election fraud during the 2020 presidential election as an excuse to create voting roadblocks and effectively disenfranchise the citizens of their states. Democrats should, loudly and publicly, call out, denounce and chastise the Republican party over these blatant attempts to restrict the right to vote.

President Joe Biden certainly had no issue calling the rush of state bills across the nation “un-American” during his press conference on March 25. Biden further associated these proposed laws with the racist and restrictive Jim Crow laws of our nation’s not-so-distant past.

State legislators have introduced 361 bills with restrictive provisions in 47 states as of March 24, with bills such as AR HB 1112 and AR HB 1244 in Arkansas, GA SB 202 in Georgia, IA SF 413 in Iowa and UT HB 12 in Utah being passed into law. At least 55 restrictive bills are moving through legislation in 24 states, while 29 have passed through at least one chamber and 26 have experienced actions through committees, according to a study by the Brennan Center for Justice.

Most of these restrictive bills seek to hinder absentee voting, add stricter voter ID requirements, make voter registration harder, reduce early voting and implement practices that would result in more voter purges. Texas and Georgia have introduced the largest amount of restrictive bills at 49 and 25 bills, respectively.

Texas legislators seek to implement a range of restrictions on voting access through TX SB 7, which has already passed out of committee. It would limit mail-in voting through extensive restrictions such as prohibiting state and local election officials from sending mail ballots applications without prior request. The bill would also require disabled voters who wish to vote by mail to provide documentation proving their disability.

The bill will also limit operating hours during early voting and eliminate the use of drive-through polling places. Also, SB 7 will result in more voter purges by threatening local election officials with financial penalties for not purging voters. The most concerning part about this bill are the weakening of voter intimidation protections by rolling back checks on poll watchers.

Georgia lawmakers have passed SB 202 as of March 25, that will limit absentee voting by requiring a state ID number or photocopy with their application. It prohibits election officials from sending out absentee ballot applications before requested by voters, reducing the time to apply and restricting the availability and hours of drop boxes. It will also reduce early voting hours by creating standardized days and hours for early voting.

This new law will also allow mass challenges to voters’ eligibility and effectively have an unlimited number of voters removed from voter rolls. The most publicized aspect of this law is criminalizing bringing snacks and water to voters waiting in line to vote.

Republican state legislators are working on bills like these all over the U.S., and left unabated, will ensure voter disenfranchisement at all levels of government election. Democrats in the house and the senate need to follow Biden’s lead and denounce these actions as “un-American” and aggressively seek to pass H.R1 or the ‘For the People Act’ to protect the voting rights of Americans.

The ‘For the People Act’ would require all states to offer early voting, unconditional absentee voting, same-day voter registration and automatic voter registration in federal elections. This bill would override many of the new state-level restrictions and ensure the voting rights of all Americans.

Republicans have used unfair and restrictive voting policies to squash voters’ rights and secure unjustified election wins for too long.

Featured Illustration by J. Robynn Aviles

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Steven Nickols

Steven Nickols

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