By SEAN QUINTAL
Republican office holders across the country are waging a coordinated attack on Americans’ right to participate freely in elections. In more than half the state legislatures, in excess of 100 bills have been proposed to impose restrictions and limits on this most essential American right. These legislators are feeding off the lie that Donald Trump started telling before the elections, and that he has continued to tell since. In a February 2021 survey conducted by Quinnipiac, 76% of Republicans polled nationwide said they believe there was “widespread fraud in the 2020 election.”
Of course, there is not now nor has there ever been any evidence to support Trump’s and the Republicans’ lies about the election. November 2020 was the most litigated presidential election in our history. In more than 60 court cases, courts across the country — county, state, federal, even the U.S. Supreme Court — found no credible evidence of influential voting fraud or irregularities to support these claims, none.
Yet Republicans across the country have unified behind this coordinated lie, and in states where the GOP controls the legislature, they are conniving to make it more difficult for Americans to cast their vote. And while many offer vague claims of “election security,” some Republicans have baldly admitted the real motive behind these voter suppression bills: because the GOP knows they cannot win without preventing many Americans from voting.
In Georgia, a GOP election board member, lamenting Biden’s and the two Senators’ victories in that state, told fellow Republicans that they needed to change election laws. “They don’t have to change all of them,” she declared, “but they’ve got to change the major parts, so that we at least have a shot at winning.”
A conservative lawyer, representing the Republican National Committee in an Arizona voting rights case before the U.S. Supreme Court, was asked by Justice Barrett why the RNC had an interest in preventing people from having their votes counted if they were cast in the wrong precinct. The lawyer did not bother to euphemize in his response: “Because it puts us at a competitive disadvantage relative to Democrats.”
But some Republicans recognize how unAmerican these voter suppression efforts are. Benjamin Ginsberg, perhaps the GOP’s most prominent election attorney, has criticized this rush to make voting more difficult. By attacking the integrity of the voting process, Ginsberg acknowledges Republicans are telegraphing their own unpopularity with voters. He elaborates, “Look at what it really means. A party that’s increasingly old and white, whose base is a diminishing share of the population, is conjuring up charges of fraud to erect barriers to voting for people it fears won’t support its candidates.”
Just as Delta Airlines, Coca Cola, Merck, Microsoft, Apple, the owner of the Atlanta Falcons and others have voiced criticism and opposition to Georgia’s new law that imposes unnecessary and suppressive requirements on voters, so should all patriotic Americans raise their voices to condemn Republican efforts to oppose democracy. Instead of working to keep people from voting, perhaps the GOP instead might try what the Democrats have done: field better candidates who advocate for policies that most Americans support.
The La Mesa Foothills Democratic CLub’s May 5 Zoom meeting will feature La Mesa City Council members, who will cover a raft of topics related to their city and the region, to include homelessness and police reform. All meetings commence at 7 p.m. and may be accessed through www.lmfdems.com/zoom.
— Sean Qunintal writes on behalf of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club.