HALL OF SHAME: Republicans Following Trump’s Lead, Suppressing Voting
April 22, 2020
While Democrats, civil rights advocates, and even some Republicans push for critical reforms to expand access to the ballot box, many state Republicans have followed Trump’s lead and shamefully refused to protect the fundamental right to vote during the most severe public health crisis in generations.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey opposed no-excuse absentee voting, even though she herself planned to vote by mail.
AL.com: “Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey is voting by absentee ballot in the July 14 runoff because of the coronavirus pandemic but opposes legislation to allow absentee voting in all circumstances, saying it could open the door for fraud.”
Missouri Governor Mike Parson politicized vote-by-mail instead of admitting it is a public health necessity.
Kansas City Star: “[Parson] said he did not consider absentee balloting a public health issue. ‘The absentee ballot is more of a political issue than it is anything,’ he said. ‘This is a Democrat-Republican issue and that’s where this is all headed, is to a political answer and what’s driving behind this force.’”
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton downplayed the severity of the crisis by saying fear of contracting COVID-19 is not a valid reason to vote by mail.
Houston Chronicle: “Voters cannot cast ballots by mail just because they are afraid of getting the coronavirus at polling places, Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton said on Wednesday, even as a state district judge in Austin said he will rule that voters can vote by mail if they believe doing so in person puts their health at risk.”
Louisiana GOP lawmakers blocked an emergency election plan, crafted by the Republican Secretary of State, that would expand vote-by-mail and early voting.
The Advocate: “Ardoin faced stiff resistance from his own party. … The Republican lawmakers echoed President Donald Trump, who has claimed absentee ballots invite fraud, though experts say voter fraud is extremely rare.”
Tennessee Republicans rejected measures to expand vote-by-mail, saying a “radical change” was not an appropriate response to a global pandemic.
Associated Press: “Lawmakers rejected amendments that would have allowed widespread absentee voting during the ongoing pandemic.”
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is only mailing absentee ballot request forms to active voters, excluding hundreds of thousands of voters, disproportionately young people and people of color.
Washington Post: “In Georgia, Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger announced last month that he would send a mail ballot application to every active voter rather than to all registered voters. The plan was developed in coordination with Trump’s reelection committee, according to a campaign official.”
…And Kentucky’s Republican state legislature actually made it harder to vote.
Vox: “Kentucky’s heavily Republican legislature voted Tuesday to require voters to show a government-issued photo ID, overriding Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s veto in the process.”