Republican Assaults Against Fair Elections

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Photo by Michael Fleshman via Flickr

Republicans have long known that when the number of people who vote goes up — their chances of winning go down. So they have worked long and hard on both the state and national levels to limit and reduce how many people vote, particularly among demographic groups that lean Democratic such as people of color, urbanites, students, and seniors who rely on Social Security and Medicaid. Since Trump lost the popular vote in 2016 but won the Electoral College by the thinnest of margins, Republican efforts to restrict voter turnout have increased substantially. The following list summarizes many of the methods and schemes they are now using to rig the election or win by barring or discouraging likely Democratic voters from casting ballots that get counted. 

Voter Suppression
[Potential Democratic voters can be prevented from voting by making it difficult or impossible for them to register. This tactic became easier after the five Republican justices on the Supreme Court gutted one of the key provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.]

  • Voter ID registration restrictions that target likely Dem voters
  • Racially targeted rules such as requiring street addresses on Indian reservations that can’t be met
  • Mass voting list “purges” that target people of color, students, and seniors 
  • Registration rules designed to hinder/block Dem constituencies and mounting voter registration drives
  • Coordinated efforts to challenge Democratic voters at the polls (“caging”)
  • Rules requiring college students to vote in their home districts/states
  • Disenfranchising ex-convicts by law or by fines and court fees as a new kind of poll tax

Vote-by-Mail (VBM)
[Recent polls indicate that 78% of Democrats plan to vote by mail, while 63% of Republicans currently plan to vote in-person. Therefore, hindering VBM gives a significant partisan advantage to the GOP.] 

  • Blocking funds for USPS to prevent it from handling VBM ballots
  • Attempting to charge states higher postage for ballots (3x in some cases) to discourage VBM
  • Downgrading VBM service from 1st class to 3rd (“junk” mail) to delay or prevent delivery
  • Degrading USPS capability so that many ballots won’t be received for counting by deadline
    • Eliminating overtime to slow delivery and create massive backups
    • Firing 23 senior officials to centralize control by Postmaster General DeJoy
    • Removing/destroying mail sorting machines and other essential equipment
    • Rigid truck departure schedule that forces postal workers to leave mail behind creating backlog
    • Removing mailboxes to make voting-by-mail slow and less convenient

Voting Barriers
[Long lines & wait times discourage voters, particularly the elderly, the ill, and the time-deprived.]

  • Disallowing and restricting early & weekend voting to make it harder for working people to vote
  • Mandating early poll-closing deadlines that make it hard for workers to cast their ballots after work
  • Forcing in-person voting during a pandemic that’s dangerous for seniors & those with health problems
  • Closing/under-staffing/under-equipping polling places in Dem-leaning areas to create long lines
  • Requiring postage for mail ballots (a kind of poll tax)

Foreign Sabotage

  • Massive disinformation campaigns via Facebook & other social media to support GOP & divide Dems
  • Hacking into voter registrations & counting systems to disrupt or falsify
  • Dark money campaign contributions to GOP candidates and PACs
  • GOP Sens. Johnson, Grassley, and Graham involvement with Rudy Guiliani & Russian operatives

Voter Intimidation

  • Prominent deployment of police around polling places with concentration of nonwhite voters
  • Armed militias, racists, & private security lurking at polling places where Democrats vote
  • Threats that ICE/CBP agents will monitor/search polling places for “illegals”

“Dirty Tricks”

  • Deliberately mailing/advertising misleading, and outright-false information to confuse voters
  • Misleading robocalls sowing misinformation and confusion as to polling locations and times
  • Sowing doubt by suggesting others are doing the tricks Republicans themselves plan to do
  • False public claims by Trump of “discovering” fake ballots
  • Voting machines with secret proprietary software from Republican-donor companies like Diebold
  • Resisting and opposing efforts to ensure a trackable trail of paper ballots to confirm count

[There is growing concern that if Trump takes an early lead in the Republican-heavy, in-person, vote-count, he will declare himself the winner on election night before all the mail ballots are counted. And then challenge the final results if they show him losing.]

  • Lies to discredit vote-by-mail results in advance because of alleged “voter fraud”
  • If enough states don’t certify results, election thrown to House, where GOP has majority
  • Partisan rulings by Republican majority on Supreme Court re voting rights & election results

[Note that this list only focuses on voting and the election. It does not include other kinds of undemocratic Republican efforts, such as extreme partisan gerrymandering, to seize and hold power against the will of the majority of voters.]

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