“Your place for all the information you need about voting rights,
voter suppression, and voting trends to prepare you to fight in the 2022 election.”
September 14, 2021
Huge Impacts Expected From Three Lesser Known Texas Voting Bills
Texas’ massive voting bill, SB7, was signed into law last week by Gov. Greg Abbott, but that was not the only voting bill that passed the Texas legislature this year. Three lesser known bills will be having huge impacts as well on who gets to vote in Texas. Particularly harmful is SB 1111, which forbids, among other things:
Registering using a post office box address, a significant problem for the homeless and those living on Indian reservations. The rationale, according to bill’s author? No one lives in a two-by-three-inch P.O. Box.
Using an address where you live most but not all of the time for voter registration. That includes college students or workers who often work out of state. Texas tried that unsuccessfully in the 1960s regarding soldiers at military bases. (https://bit.ly/3BNmryA)
Then there’s SB 1113, which enables the Secretary of State to deny voter registrars funds if they fail to remove certain individuals from the rolls. The supposed rationale? “If you don’t work, you shouldn’t get paid,” said the bill’s sponsor, Republican state Sen. Paul Bettencourt, who apparently assumes that only removing individuals from the voter rolls counts as work.
Not to be outdone, another bill, House Bill 3920, makes it harder to apply for a mail-in ballot for medical reasons. Disability advocates say the new law may discriminate against people with disabilities that can flare up without warning, like multiple sclerosis.
On the bright side? SB 3920 makes it easier for pregnant women due around Election Day to request a mail-in ballot, and HB 1382 enables people to track their mail-in ballots online to make sure they’ve been received. (https://bit.ly/3hdKEGE)
Not All News Is Bleak on the Voting Rights Front
Estimates from the non-partisan Voting Rights Lab show a brighter picture concerning voting rights/voter suppression bills than recent news might lead us to believe.
Among their findings? Around 70 million voters live in states where voting has been made easier vs approximately 55 million voters in states that have done the opposite. In fact, a glance at their State Voting Rights Tracker shows that more pro-voter bills have been passed this year than anti-voter bills. (https://bit.ly/3niEYPp)
Other groups have also found that several blue as well as red states have expanded early in-person voting, widened voting eligibility for past felons, and provided procedures for voters to fix errors on mail ballots.
Unfortunately, these advances are offset by the nine states that have weakened or criminalized the authority of state and local election officials. Says Liz Avore, Voting Rights Lab’s vice president for law and policy, “Rather than protecting them, which is what we should be doing, these bills threaten them with really serious criminal penalties and are likely to result in increasing the exodus of election administrators that we’re seeing across the country.” ( https://wapo.st/3lbM4CS )
Report Finds Plans to Invalidate 2020 Election Results Started in Early 2020
A group you never heard of, made up of major players from the extreme right wing, apparently planned as early as February 2020 to find ways to invalidate the November 2020 election results if Donald Trump lost the election.
That’s the finding of an investigation by Ann Nelson of the Washington Spectator. She found that the the Council for National Policy, a coalition of Christian conservatives, free-market fundamentalists, and political activists, not only was a major player in the insurrection on January 6, but had also started eleven months earlier to build a coalition to undermine any election results they did not result in the reelection of Donald Trump.
“By February 2020, the CNP, fearing the erosion of Trump’s support, shifted its strategy from boosting the popular vote to deflecting it,” writes Nelson. The reason? The CNP assumed the seemingly thriving economy would ensure his reelection, along with mass rallies and in-church recruitment. All this was threatened by pandemic lockdowns.
Among their strategies, drawn up as early as April 2020:
Writing letters to secretaries of state questioning the validity of an election.
Using their robust voter database to increase Republican voter turnout and depress the Democratic turnout.
Mobilizing supporters in swing states to protest against virus-related lockdowns.
Create a media blitz using “physicians with dubious credentials” to dismiss the dangers of Covid-19.
You can read the entire report at https://bit.ly/3hkwIuC.
Right-Wing GOP Urges Takeover of Local and State GOP Parties
The extreme right wing of the GOP is now targeting party precinct-level positions as a means to take over the entire Republican Party.
Steve Bannon, the far-right nationalist and former Trump advisor, has told his millions of podcast listeners that because the January 6 insurrection failed to overturn the 2020 election, they should “flood into the lowest rung of the party structure: the precincts,” according to a ProPublica report. “We’re going to take this back village by village … precinct by precinct,” Bannon is quoted as saying.
Is it working? Apparently yes. According to ProPublica, GOP leaders in 41 of 65 key counties reported an unusual increase in signups since Bannon’s campaign began. Read the entire report at https://bit.ly/3BWRoAH.
Webinar Next Week on “What You Need to Know About Trump Supporters”
The University of Minnesota’s Center for the Study of Politics and Governance is offering a webinar from 12-1pm on September 22 entitled “What You Need to Know About Trump Supporters.” Legendary Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg will be discussing his research on Trump supporters and what makes them so loyal to the man. Trump loyalists are among the most likely to vote in 2022. What can Democrats do to overcome this? Go to https://bit.ly/3tsoOnv to sign up.
Live in the St. Louis Metro East or Kane County areas? This weekend, September 17, there will be Finish the Job rallies in Belleville, IL, and Geneva, IL, to urge the Senate to pass S1, the For the People voting bill, and S4, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. Majority Leader Schumer has promised that voting rights will be the first legislative priority now that the Senate is back in session. With redistricting already underway, we don’t have time to waste. Go to https://bit.ly/3l8PNB5 for details!
Looking for a roundup of all the voting rights litigation going on around the country right now? Head to Marc Elias’ excellent Democracy Docket for a round-up of this summer’s voting rights legislation at https://bit.ly/3twIRl4.
Donald Trump appears to be on the brink of announcing a run for president again. The focus of his latest fundraising pitch? “We. Cannot. Trust. Mail. In. Ballots.” (https://wapo.st/3E0vNZZ)
For California’s Larry Elder, who’s trying to unseat Gov. Gavin Newsom, the tune is different. Despite heavy mail-in voting by mostly Democrats so far, Elder’s team believes most Republicans will vote in person “in part because of attacks on mail-in voting around the 2020 election,” and that will ensure his victory. (https://cnn.it/3neKv9L)
Editorial: What’s Happening in Texas May Happen to All of Us
“Bad things happen when leaders don’t reflect the will of the people.” That’s what the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank wrote recently in a column entitled “Texas shows us what post-democracy America would look like.”
And he’s absolutely right. Restrictions on vote-by-mail or drop boxes or expanded voting hours? A majority of the country favors increasing all of these–74% of Americans, including 62% of Republicans. Forbidding abortions at 6 weeks, before a woman even knows she’s pregnant? A majority of voters favor abortion rights—59% of all voters think it should be legal in most cases.
How about common-sense gun laws? Texas just voted to allow people to buy guns, not only without a permit, but without even requiring any kind of training. Even in Texas, this is unpopular–fully 57 percent of Texas voters oppose such a law and 46 percent want stricter gun laws.
Unfortunately, what happens in Texas doesn’t just stay in Texas. Already, states with Republican majorities are looking for ways to copy what they’ve done, if they haven’t already. In other words, what’s happening in Texas may happen to the rest of us should the GOP retake the House in 2022.
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