WASHINGTON — In a committee hearing yesterday, Arizona Republican Rep. John Fillmore defended his bill that would give the Arizona legislature the power to reject the results of any state election, stating “we need to get back to 1958-style voting.” He signaled the GOP desire to go back to before the civil rights movement, defined by literacy tests, poll taxes, and other insidious ways the government deterred Black and brown citizens from voting. Rep. Fillmore’s attempt to return to Jim Crow-style voting only accentuated Arizona Republicans’ efforts this week to drag the state back to the last century – such as attempts to block trans kids from playing on sports teams, censor materials referencing homosexuality in schools, and ban abortions almost entirely.
“Republicans have started saying the quiet part out loud: their restrictive voting laws have nothing to do with promoting safe and accessible elections — they just want to drag us back to before the Civil Rights Movement,” said DLCC vice president of communications Gabrielle Chew. “Republicans have made their agenda for 2022 clear. They’re working to place restrictive bans on abortion, strip rights from the LGBTQ+ community, and enact regressive voting laws akin to the Jim Crow era — washing away the progress made by Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights activists. The only way to stop this kind of return to a pre-civil rights era reality is to vote for Democrats in statehouses not only in Arizona but all across the country.”
In lieu of new federal voting rights legislation and a reversal of Roe v. Wade from the Supreme Court likely to come this summer, Republicans have pounced on the opportunity to seize power and roll back civil rights, writing voter laws that read like conspiracy theorist’s wish list and laying out abortion measures that resemble laws on the book from over a hundred years ago. State Democrats reject these regressive policies and will fight any Republican attempt to reverse the march of progress.