The GOP is using this pandemic to suppress voters.
A few weeks ago, Politico reported that national Republicans were “declaring war” on Democratic-led efforts to make voting easier and safer during the pandemic – driven by the belief that voting disruptions caused by the crisis “could sway the election” to Trump and hundreds of GOP candidates.
Then in an interview with Fox News, Trump himself rejected any new efforts to make voting easier, claiming that if every eligible voter could cast a ballot, “you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”
With that interview, Trump gave Republicans the green-light to begin their nationwide voter suppression strategy – and now GOP state legislators are leaping into action.
Just days later, Wisconsin Republicans and the conservative majorities on the Wisconsin and United States supreme courts rejected measures to postpone in-person voting and expand vote-by-mail for a key judicial election.
GOP state legislators clearly hoped forcing people to vote in person during a pandemic – combined with 175 of 180 polling location closures in the Democratic stronghold of Milwaukee – would effectively rig that election in their favor.
Election-law expert Rick Hasen warns that what happened in Wisconsin – attempts to dramatically suppress voting in heavily-Democratic cities, because of the crisis – is exactly what Trump and GOP legislators are hoping to replicate in other swing states. But Hasen says “the biggest power plays may come in November, and they could threaten our democracy.”
Unfortunately, Wisconsin was just a trial run. All across the country, Republican-led states are hoping to perfect these strategies so they can sway the fall elections in their favor.
With Mitch McConnell facing one of his most competitive elections ever, Kentucky Republicans just passed a law imposing strict voter ID requirements – even as state office closures made it impossible for people to get the correct IDs.
In Texas – a state with some of the strictest voting laws in the country – the state attorney general is using his office to threaten criminal charges against anyone promoting vote-by-mail as a means of reducing exposure to the virus.
And in Pennsylvania, the GOP speaker recently ignored health officials’ recommendations and refused to postpone three special elections, resulting in a drastically lower turnout.
Trump and state Republicans are using this crisis to sabotage our elections, – and if history is any indicator, the attacks will only ramp up from here. We have no choice but to step up and fight back in full-force today.
But there’s hope.
Republicans played with fire in Wisconsin, and they got burnt. The state Supreme Court election they tried to rig started out leaning towards the GOP-endorsed candidate, but it ended in a double-digit blowout for the progressive candidate – fueled by outrage at Republican antics among Democrats and swing voters alike.
That is the energy we need to replicate in order to send a blue wave from our statehouses straight to Donald Trump’s doorstep. But to do it, we need grassroots Democrats to mobilize right now.
DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.