I’m happy that the media is covering the travesty that is the new Georgia law that restricts all kinds of voting rights for its citizens. But, that coverage is drowning out other, similarly important stories.
First and foremost, the media barely covered the Iowa governor signing a voter suppression bill a few weeks before the Georgia bill was signed. The Republicans in the state House and state Senate pushed their bill through, using the tired, old GOP talking point that it was all about “guarding against voter fraud,” even as they admitted that “Iowa has no history of election irregularities and that November’s election saw record turnout with no hint of problems in the state.”
Like in Georgia, the new law shortens the early voting period, cuts down on the voting period on election day, county election officials are banned from sending out absentee applications unless requested, and voters will be removed from the voter rolls if they miss a single election. Oh, and the state will only set up satellite voting site only if enough voters petition them to do so. None of this is about election integrity — it’s about erecting more barriers to vote.
It’s worth noting that Marc Elias of Democracy Docket announced that he has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the League of United Latin American Citizens of Iowa to challenge the new law.
Now which states are coming up next?
ARIZONA — The state Senate has already approved of SB1485 which would get rid of Arizona’s permanent early voting list, which allows voters to opt in to receive absentee ballots automatically. Another bill, SB1713, would change Arizona’s practice of signature matching and replace it with a mandatory voter ID requirement.
FLORIDA — Their state Senate is considering getting rid of drop boxes altogether, which is a major barrier considering how many Floridians, of both parties, use absentee ballots. They also want voters in include a copy of ID in with the ballot. They would also require voters to request absentee ballots for every election, whereas now voters are eligible for two full election cycles before having to reapply.
MICHIGAN — Republicans in the state are considering a slate of restrictive bills, along the same lines as we’ve seen in other states. And if you’re thinking that the Democratic governor, Gretchen Whitmer, would veto them, you’re right. However, in Michigan, the GOP could start a petition initiative, and if they gather enough valid signatures, a simple majority vote in the legislature could essentially override that veto.
NEW HAMPSHIRE — This was the lone state where Republicans flipped both the state House and state Senate in 2020 and so now they are looking at a variety of restrictive bills. Specifically, they are looking to get rid of the option for voters to register on Election Day, and they want to stop students from using their universities’ address as their “home address.”
TEXAS — Texas has proposed more restrictive bills than any other state at this point, and they already are the most restrictive state in the nation when it comes to voting. They aim to reduce early voting times, ban drive-through voting, ban sending absentee ballot applications, and eliminate drop boxes. Like Georgia, the Texas Republicans are also trying to criminalize many aspects of voter registration and other practices to make it as hard as possible for volunteers and organizers to help voters vote.
As always, please be in touch with your state legislators to tell them you oppose restrictive election bills, and then keep pressing your U.S. Senators to reform the filibuster and get HR1/S1, the For The People Act, passed!