NPR: “One measure that’s been proposed would make distributing ballot applications to voters who didn’t ask for one a felony. Others would outlaw drive thru-voting, and not allow polling locations to be open for more than 12 hours — specifically beyond 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Another would require that election administrators put the same amount of voting machines in every one of their polling sites, no matter what.”
Atlanta Journal Constitution: “The arrest of state Rep. Park Cannon — who faces two felony charges — far overshadowed the victory lap that Kemp and other Republicans hoped to take with the signing Thursday of Senate Bill 202, legislation that imposed new ID requirements, limited drop boxes and instituted other restrictions.”
“The image of Cannon, an Atlanta Democrat, being forcibly dragged from the statehouse lobby was hard to watch and the arrest could be legally questionable, since state law protects sitting lawmakers from arrest during a session except for charges of treason, felonies or breach of the peace.”
“Georgia lawmakers approved a sweeping voting measure Thursday that proponents said is necessary to shore up confidence in the state’s elections but that critics countered will lead to longer lines, partisan control of elections and more difficult procedures for voters trying to cast their ballots by mail,” the Washington Post reports.
“The measure is one of the first major voting bills to pass as dozens of state legislatures consider restrictions to how ballots are cast and counted in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, when former president Donald Trump questioned the integrity of election results in six states he lost, including Georgia.”
The Atlanta Journal Constitution says Gov. Brian Kemp (R) will sign the bill tonight.
“The Georgia House voted Thursday to overhaul election laws after last year’s close presidential election, with proposals including new absentee voter ID requirements, drop box limits and state takeovers of local elections management,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.
- 77% oppose criminalizing the distribution of food and water to people standing in line waiting to vote.
- 76% oppose allowing the state legislature to take election authority away from local elections officials, counties, and the Secretary of State.
- 70% oppose throwing out the vote of any eligible voter who votes at the wrong precinct location, regardless of circumstances like being given incorrect information by an election official.
“The Senate took its first steps on Wednesday to advance one of Democrats’ top legislative priorities, convening an opening hearing on a sweeping elections bill that would expand voting rights and blunt some Republican state legislators’ efforts to restrict access to the ballot box,” the New York Times reports.
“Chock-full of liberal priorities, the bill, called the For the People Act, would usher in landmark changes making it easier to vote, enact new campaign finance laws and end partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts. The legislation passed the House along party lines earlier this month. It faces solid opposition from Republicans who are working to clamp down on ballot access, and who argue that the bill is a power grab by Democrats.”
The Hill: Senate panel dukes it out over voting rights.
New York Times: “Of the 68 bills pertaining to voting, at least 23 had similar language or were firmly rooted in the principles laid out in the Heritage group’s letter and in an extensive report it published two days later.”
“Facing more than $1.3 billion in liabilities over her post-election conspiracy theories, lawyer Sidney Powell told a judge that the defamation lawsuit Dominion Voting Systems filed against her earlier this year should be dismissed because ‘no reasonable person’ would believe that her well-publicized comments about an international plot against former President Donald Trump were ‘statements of fact,'” according to Law & Crime.
“Republican Georgia legislators are pursuing an overhaul of primary and runoff election rules — changes that might have prevented Democrats from winning U.S. Senate races if they had been in effect last year,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.
“Runoffs would be held four weeks after an initial election, cutting short the state’s current nine-week wait.”
Harry Enten: “Republicans’ response to losing control of the White House and Senate has been to try and make voting harder in a number of states. Most notably, perhaps, is Georgia, where they’re going after ways of voting that were popular for Black voters and Democrats in 2020 (e.g. mail voting).”
“Democrats and Black advocacy groups are, of course, up in arms and trying to stop the GOP.”
“We can’t know how these changes, if they come to pass, would affect future elections. But by looking at two of the most prominent moves Republicans are trying to make, we can see it’s not at all clear that Republicans will succeed in helping their electoral prospects.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) told an invitation-only call — which was secretly recorded — that Democrats are trying to expand voting rights to “illegal aliens” and “child molesters” and Republicans must do all they can to stop them, the AP reports.
He added that if “they push through far-reaching election legislation now before the Senate, the GOP won’t win elections again for generations.”
New York Times: “Passing new restrictions on voting — in particular, tougher limits on early voting and vote-by-mail — is now at the heart of the right’s strategy to keep donors and voters engaged as Mr. Trump fades from public view and leaves a void in the Republican Party that no other figure or issue has filled. In recent weeks, many of the most prominent and well-organized groups that power the G.O.P.’s vast voter turnout efforts have directed their resources toward a campaign to restrict when and how people can vote.”
“Just as notable as the brand-name conservative groups that are raising money off Mr. Trump’s revisionism — Susan B. Anthony List, the Heritage Foundation, the Family Research Council, Tea Party Patriots — are some of the heavy hitters that are sitting this fight out. Americans for Prosperity, the political organization funded by the Koch fortune, is not supporting the efforts to pass more ballot access laws, nor are other groups in the multimillion-dollar Koch political network.”
“Leading Georgia lawmakers said Thursday that they plan to maintain Sunday voting and no-excuse absentee voting but pursue strict controls on other areas of voter access and ballot counting,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.
“U.S. Postal Service investigators found no evidence to support a Pennsylvania postal worker’s claim that his supervisors had tampered with mail-in ballots, according to an inspector general’s report — allegations cited by top Republicans to press baseless claims of fraud in the presidential election,” the Washington Post reports.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Under pressure from civil rights activists, some of Georgia’s biggest companies and their allies at the Capitol are taking a guarded approach toward election measures that would limit weekend early voting days, curb absentee voting and add other restrictions at the ballot box.”
“The corporate titans aren’t standing in fierce opposition to the restrictive voting proposals moving through the Legislature, much like they did in 2016 when they rallied against a ‘religious liberty’ measure that critics blasted as discriminatory.”
“But they aren’t exactly staying silent either, which was the stance most corporate leaders took during the 2019 debate over abortion legislation that divided Georgia lawmakers.”
Rick Hasen writes that HR 1–the major Democratic voting rights and elections bill that already passed the House–likely wouldn’t pass in the Senate even if there were no filibuster.
“This mammoth bill has little chance of being enacted. But a more pinpointed law, including one restoring a key part of the Voting Rights Act, could make it out of the Senate to guarantee voting rights protections for all in the 2022 and 2024 elections.”
His four main tenets in such a “pinpointed” bill are:
- Restore preclearance provisions of the VRA.
- Voting rights protections like early voting periods.
- End partisan gerrymandering with commissions.
- Paper ballots and election security measures.
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“Texas Republicans are rolling out a slew of restrictive election bills, taking particular aim at early voting after Democrats enthusiastically embraced the practice last year,” NBC News reports.
“More than two dozen GOP-sponsored elections bills are under consideration in the Legislature as lawmakers seek to tighten ID requirements and voter rolls, limit early voting and up the penalties for errors. The broad interest — and a directive last month from the governor to prioritize election legislation — makes changes to Texas’ election law likely this year.”