We’ve said multiple times here at The Hayride that there are two significant areas where it’s crucial for Republicans to make progress in retaking control of the country, and both areas are dependent on state legislatures. One, which can’t be addressed until later in the year when the Census is finished with processing its data, is redistricting; blue states have lost a lot of population to red states in the past 10 years and that’s going to mean more congressional and state legislative districts in conservative areas, so mostly-Republican state legislators in those states are going to be drawing mostly-Republican districts. The effect of that will likely to be to shift anywhere from a half-dozen to a dozen congressional seats to the GOP for the 2022 election cycle, and that by itself could eliminate the Democrats’ majority in the House of Representatives.
But the other one is election reform.
The 2020 elections were an utter disaster in terms of integrity. It’s very obvious there were rampant irregularities which affected the outcome of several races, including the presidential race. One can argue about whether the election itself was stolen, but what can’t be argued was those irregularities clouded the results in uncertainty not just over whether the vote counts were real but whether elections officials in key states and localities, particularly in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona and Nevada, weren’t flagrantly violating state elections laws.
And COVID-19 was used as a pretext for doing so, particularly with respect to the use of mail-in ballots which are wide open to fraud and abuse of the system.
In his CPAC speech, President Trump outlined the need for serious election reform, something which is being taken up in state legislatures across the country. In Georgia, where the problem was worse than anywhere because it didn’t just result in throwing the state to Joe Biden in the presidential race but also cost the GOP a pair of Senate seats to far-left challengers in what has been a fairly reliable red state for the past 20 years, that banner has been taken up by the state legislature.
Georgia’s Senate passed election reform legislation on Monday that contains various components, including that it would eliminate no-excuse absentee voting and limit mail-in ballots to individuals who qualify based on specific criteria.
The bill now moves on to the Georgia House Elections Integrity Committee where it is anticipated that it will pass in the next few weeks, according to the Epoch Times, which noted that there is a key deadline approaching: “The bill must pass by March 31 to have a chance of becoming law by the end of the 2021 legislative session in Georgia, subject to Gov. Brian Kemp’s decision whether to sign or veto it,” the outlet reported.
The legislation would nix no-excuse absentee voting, which has been permitted in the Peach State since 2005.
“Under the proposed legislation, those who are eligible to vote by mail will be limited to people who are physically disabled; or are over 65 years old; are eligible as a military or overseas voter; have a religious holiday around election day; work in elections; or somehow need to be outside their voting precinct during the early voting period and election day,” the outlet reported.
The bill is certain to pass in the House and it’s going to be signed. Even Georgia’s controversial secretary of state Brad Raffensperger, who made himself a national figure of scorn among Republicans following comments defending the state’s suspect election results, has come out in favor of reform. “This cycle has shown, we need to move to an excuse-based system for absentee voting,” Raffensperger said just before the Senate runoffs in that state. “The no excuses system voted into law in 2005 — long before most of you, if not all of you, long before I was in the General Assembly — it makes no sense when we have three weeks of in-person, early voting available. It opens the door to potential illegal voting,”
And Georgia is only one of several states across the country where bills limiting mail-in voting and imposing stricter rules governing the integrity of the vote are moving through this year’s legislative sessions. In fact, Heritage Action for America, the activist group attached to the conservative Heritage Foundation, is now planning a $10 million advocacy campaign to support election reform legislation in eight states – the six contested ones from 2020, plus Iowa and Texas.
Heritage Action for America, a nonprofit branch of the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation, will spend $10 million on election security law reform efforts in eight swing states, according to a new report.
The effort will including digital and television ads, volunteer issue advocacy campaigns and lobbying state legislatures directly in eight swing states: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, Texas and Wisconsin, according to Fox News.
“Fair elections are essential for every policy debate in the future,” Heritage Action Executive Director Jessica Anderson said in a statement. “We are working to help state lawmakers restore trust in our elections, ensure transparency, and protect the rights of every American to a fair election. This is our number one priority, and we are committed to doing whatever it takes.”
This comes on the heels of the passage of HR 1 last week in the U.S. House of Representatives, a bill which does the opposite of what state legislatures are working toward. HR 1 would eliminate all voter I.D. requirements; mandate no-excuse absentee voting in all states; make it more difficult for states to clean up outdated voter rolls; and mandate automatic voter registration for people who are registered with state or federal offices within a state.
It’s hard to imagine HR 1 won’t die thanks to a Senate filibuster. If not, it’s almost certainly going to be thrown out as unconstitutional seeing as though state legislatures are entrusted with setting election laws in our founding document and HR 1 would nationalize them as never before.
The Democrats are anxious to institutionalize the failure of the 2020 elections and encase it in granite. If they succeed, and if state legislatures in places like Georgia aren’t able to reinstitute a more reliable system of culling fraudulent votes from the counting, Americans won’t have faith that elections reflect the true will of the people. The fate of bills like the one in Georgia paring back no-excuse absentee voting could well be the fate of American democracy itself.