WASHINGTON — Arizona Republican Representative John Kavanagh admitted today that the party’s push to limit access to voting comes because Republicans believe “everybody shouldn’t be voting.” Kavanagh went on to imply that we should be more concerned about the “quality” of votes rather than the quantity, rhetoric that echoes historical justifications for race-based restrictions on voting. It’s no coincidence that the GOP’s voter suppression bills would disproportionately impact minority communities.
“The core principle of our democracy is the idea that every American should have a say in our elections,” said Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee President Jessica Post. “Every Republican lawmaker should condemn this racist rhetoric, or they condone it. Based on the legislation they’ve been introducing in states across the country, I’m not holding my breath.”
Here’s a recap of the major developments in Republican voter suppression just this week:
- An Arizona Senate committee approved legislation that would shorten the early voting period and require ballots to be postmarked five days prior to the election. Another bill passed the Senate that would implement voter ID for mail voting; 80 percent of the electorate used mail ballots in last year’s election.
- Even though the state’s election administration won widespread praise last year, Florida Senate Republicans advanced a bill that would ban ballot drop boxes, require absentee voting requests to be renewed yearly instead of every four years, and make it a crime to collect ballots from anyone other than a family member. The bill’s sponsor acknowledged that the measure wouldn’t solve any known problems.
- The Georgia Senate voted to eliminate no-excuse absentee voting; other pending bills would curtail Sunday early voting and even make it illegal to give voters snacks or water while they wait in line, a clear assault on Black churches’ GOTV efforts.
- Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a bill that will cut early voting by about a third and eliminate an hour of voting on Election Day. The proposal also calls for voters to be removed from the rolls if they miss just one general election.
- Texas Republicans filed seven bills in the Senate that would curtail access to voting. One proposal would require all counties to observe the same early voting hours. Another bill would impose a Kris Kobach-style crosscheck regulation to try and purge the voter rolls.
- A new voter ID sponsored by over 40 Republicans in Pennsylvania was referred to a legislative committee. The sponsor of the bill argued that it was necessary to ensure that individuals don’t negate the votes of others, even though he himself called on Congress to reject the choice of Pennsylvania voters in the Electoral College.