Republicans Work State by State to Change Election Laws

Reducing turnout is main strategy, though one state considers letting legislators overturn presidential results
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 28, 2021 9:40 AM CST
GOP Strategy: Change State Election Laws
Maricopa County elections officials count ballots in Phoenix on Nov. 4.   (AP Photo/Matt York, File)

Across the nation, supporters of former President Trump are working to pass state legislation changing laws to limit access to voting and give them more control over election outcomes. With a rallying cry about the presidential election having been stolen from Trump, and basing their plans on the premise that large turnouts benefit Democrats, state legislators are seeking major changes to help Republicans win the presidency next time, the New York Times reports. The efforts could help Republicans, who've won the popular presidential vote only once in the past eight elections, gain control of government despite being a minority party. "The typical response by a losing party in a functioning democracy is that they alter their platform to make it more appealing," said a University of Wisconsin expert. "Here the response is to try to keep people from voting. It's dangerously antidemocratic." The national GOP showed its support last week by forming a panel to look at state election laws, which Republicans have done in various states.

Some efforts seem illogical. Republicans won the presidential and Senate races in Iowa, which reported record turnout and essentially no election fraud last fall. But GOP legislators have voted to shorten early voting by nine days, close polling places an hour earlier, and make absentee voting rules more restrictive. They also moved to take county auditors' authority away to made decisions about local voting. "Most of us in my caucus and the Republican caucus believe the election was stolen," a GOP state senator said. Nebraska Republicans want to change to a winner-take-all system for its electoral votes because President Biden was awarded one vote last time. But New Hampshire Republicans want to adopt Nebraska's current system because Democrats have been winning presidential elections there. A bill in Arizona is more direct, per NBC: The Legislature would have the power to revoke the secretary of state's certification of electoral results "by majority vote at any time before the presidential inauguration." (Fraud claims appeared to have support on the Supreme Court.)

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