WASHINGTON — Republican leaders across the country are finally admitting what has long been apparent: encouraging voter participation would spell their electoral doom. The GOP’s reluctance to ease voting during an unprecedented global public health crisis brings the party’s long track record of voter suppression to a whole new level.
“Republicans know that they can’t win on their policies, which is why they’ve always done everything they can to suppress voter turnout,” said Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee President Jessica Post. “But this is a new low — even for them. Their gross, immoral behavior during this crisis is just another reason why it’s more important to elect Democrats than ever. Only one party fully supports our democracy and the right to vote.”
The GOP’s refusal to make it easier to vote, often while admitting that higher turnout would help Democrats, comes from elected official at all levels of the ballot across the country:
- President Trump admitted “you’d never have a Republican elected in this country again” in response to Democratic efforts to ease voting in the face of the pandemic.
- Georgia House Speaker David Ralston said facilitating vote-by-mail would “be extremely devastating to Republicans and conservatives in Georgia.”
- North Carolina Senate Leader Phil Berger pushed back on proposals to make it easier to vote by mail, complaining it was something “progressive, liberal Democratic groups” wanted.
- Pennsylvania House Speaker Mike Turzai ignored pleas to postpone three special elections, leading to dramatically lower turnout.
- Wisconsin Republicans recklessly pushed forward with plans to hold the state’s primary next week, despite a dearth of polling workers and many closed polling places. GOP legislative leaders refused to send ballots to every registered voter, hoping that lower turnout would help a conservative supreme court justice fend off a liberal challenger.
- Kentucky Republicans tightened voter ID requirements even though state closures could make it impossible for voters to obtain an appropriate form of identification.
Republicans’ shameful disregard for safeguarding the democratic process stands in sharp contrast to Democrats across the country, who have led the way on voting reforms that would make it easier for Americans to exercise their right to vote, even during the coronavirus crisis.
“The voting debacle poised to play out across the country is just another example of how damaging Republican leadership has been for our democracy,” added Post. “If you support a fair political process, then you should vote for Democrats up and down the ticket this November.”