Highlight: The battle between the Republicans and Democrats over the voting facilities.
In Washington, Americans turned out in huge numbers for the 2020 elections. Besides all the odds of the global pandemic. But the Republicans in many states are emphasizing that achievement with new laws to make it harder to vote.
The Republicans claim that the extended voting hours, wider access to mail-in ballots, and other relaxations made for the pandemic led to voter fraud.
Democrats claim that there is no evidence for that. Republicans after losing the White House and Senate in the November vote, want to make it harder for people who support the democrats to participate in elections. Especially for the African-Americans and the Native American voters.
According to the Brennan Centre for Justice, the Republican-controlled states have adopted new laws to restrict voting.
The battle over the restrictions has drawn comparison with decades ago. Laws then were drawn up to prevent Blacks from voting.
Let’s discuss the kind of restrictions the Republicans are pushing:
First, voting should be harder to register
While many states have permitted citizens, if already not registered to vote, to do that on Election Day. Thus by providing simple evidence of their residency in the state.
But the new legislation, some states demand the voter’s register early with an official ID card like a driver’s license.
What is the problem with this legislation?
According to the ACLU, 21 million people do not have their driver’s license or any other official ID card. The civil liberties group says the ID requirement will hit the poor people. As a result, a 2-3 percent fall in voter turnout can be seen.
Some Republican laws are making it harder to register voters in other ways. Traditionally political parties have gone from door to door to help voters register themselves. But the new rules in Florida restrict this.
Second, limiting access to by-mail voting.
Many states expanded voting by mail in 2020 to address the pandemic. Based on the experience of a few states like Colorado who have had Universal by-mail voting for years. Thus, in the 2020 elections, the number of people who voted by mail doubled from four years earlier.
Resulting in many ballots being delivered late and not counted until days after Election Day.
Republicans have proposed a new law limiting who can vote by mail. Thus, Georgia cut in half the time allotted to obtain a mail-in ballot.
Arizona, on the other hand, required that every ballot be post-marked five days before an election. Colorado and some other states send mail-in ballots to every registered voter. Georgia and some other states have moved to limit the availability of drop-boxes for mail ballots.
Third, early voting limits
Because of the pandemic, early voting was expanded by several days and hours per day in many states. But now the legislation in some states is reducing the number of days and the hours for early voting. Which will make it difficult for people working for long hours to cast their vote. Also, it will lead to longer waiting on Election Day. Thus, resulting in lesser people voting.
Fourth, help for voters
Previous year in Georgia, people had to wait in lines for hours. To aid them with the long waiting hours, volunteers handed them water and snacks.
But now Georgia is banning volunteers from providing snacks. Also, no action is taken to shorten the long waiting lines.