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Thu Jun 10, 2021, 02:59 PM

Ari Berman: 14 GOP-controlled states have passed laws to impede free elections

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Ari Berman
New data: GOP state legislatures have passed 24 new laws in 14 states this year making it easier to overturn elections, interfering with election administration & criminalizing efforts by election officials to make it easier to vote. This is terrifying

14 GOP-controlled states have passed laws to impede free elections
Twenty-four new laws will "politicize, criminalize, and interfere in election administration."
11:55 AM · Jun 10, 2021


Donald Trump will not be “reinstated” as president by August, as some of his supporters and allegedly the former president himself seem to believe. But Republicans are rushing to change the rules to make it easier for their party to overturn the will of the voters in future elections.

While GOP-controlled legislatures rush to make it harder for Democratic constituencies to vote, they are also intensifying their control over how elections are run and how votes are counted, after Trump tried to overturn the 2020 election results. Twenty-four new laws have been passed in 14 states this year that will allow state legislatures to “politicize, criminalize, and interfere in election administration,” according to a report released Thursday by three voting rights groups, States United Democracy Center, Law Forward, and Protect Democracy. Overall, 216 bills have been introduced in 41 states to achieve these ends.

When Texas Republicans scrambled to pass a massive voter suppression bill over Memorial Day weekend, they included a provision written behind closed doors with no public scrutiny that would make it easier for judges to throw out election results. Under the plan, losing candidates would no longer have to prove that individual fraudulent votes swung the election but rather that the number of allegedly fraudulent votes exceeded the margin of victory—which is exactly what Trump falsely alleged in 2020. The measure would also lower the burden of proof needed to demonstrate illegal voting, so that candidates only have to show a “preponderance of evidence” instead of “clear and convincing evidence.”

“They could use this to overthrow the voice of the people,” Democratic state Rep. John Bucy III said on the House floor. “We no longer have to prove voter fraud to overthrow an election result, we can simply do it.” Though the bill failed to pass when House Democrats staged a dramatic walkout, denying Republicans the quorum needed to approve it, it is expected to be resurrected at a special legislative session later this year.


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