This is what you need to know about the battle for voting rights that is taking place right now.
Florida, Arizona and Georgia were all battlefield states in 2020 and are running races in the U.S. Senate in 2022. Republican legislative majorities and Republican Party governors are moving to make it harder to vote in those states.
Texas does not have a 2022 Senate race, but it does have a run for governor in 2022. Currently, Republican control controls all levers of state government.
There are proposals to make voting more difficult in other key states (Wisconsin and Pennsylvania) with 2022 Senate seats, but the divided government in those places will make the restrictions harder to enact.
What exactly are the limits of voting rights and access that we are talking about?
It varies from state to state.
Many states are considering changing signature verification to require voters to include a copy of their driver’s license or other documents with a ballot.
Others are studying proposals to withdraw a voter’s registration if they do not vote in four consecutive years.
“We need to pass laws to prevent election officials from jeopardizing the electoral process,” Abbott said, arguing somehow that more people voting endanger the process.
Could these changes alter the outcome of future elections, if approved?
Why are Republicans pushing for change now, rather than before the 2020 election?
- The pandemic to hit. States made last-minute changes to facilitate rules on how and when people could vote for public health issues.
- Participation increased. Either because of these changes or because voters wanted to reject or protect Trump (or both), turnout went through the roof and Trump lost.
- Trump was involved in electoral fraud. While there is no evidence that widespread fraud has occurred, its repeated allegations made the GOP’s top priority in addressing the integrity of the voting system.
- Republicans maintained control of state governments. Trump’s allies at the state level have moved quickly to deal with the election fraud he alleged, but it didn’t happen.
Why shouldn’t everyone vote at the same time and in the same way?
The difficulty is to make sure everyone has the same access to the polls, while maintaining the necessary security. One complication is that when there are normal voting hours, it is often people from small urban areas who end up waiting for hours. Early voting and postal voting are alternatives to remove this barrier.
Can’t all people over the age of 18 vote in the US? How can states restrict access?
Yes! It took a long time to get white landlords to vote in the first presidential election in the 24th Amendment, enacted in 1964, which says:
“The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for president or vice president for electors of president or vice president, or for senator or representative in Congress, shall not be denied or restricted by the United States or by any – for not having paid any tax or other duty. “
This put an end to poll taxes and, combined with the Voting Rights Act, ended many of the tricks of the Jim Crow era that prevented many black Americans from voting.
But not everyone over the age of 18 can vote: non-citizens and criminals, in most places, although there are efforts to re-authorize crimes. It should be noted that they can vote in Florida after voters there approved a voting initiative in 2018.
States have the power to govern their own elections, but Congress has the power to impose rules on them. And the courts are often involved.
Almost all states require some type of voter registration and many require identification to vote and there are many different versions of absentee voting and the times when people from different states can vote before or on election day.
What is the history of the rules on who can vote in the U.S. election?
Voter registration is relatively unique in the U.S. and has a long history of racism. It began in New England in the 1800s, was a key element of Jim Crow in the south, and then experienced a huge increase in the early 1900s, as states tried to make it difficult for immigrants and voters to vote. Jewish and black Americans.
What do other countries do?
Instead of blocking votes, some countries, such as Australia, require it. People who do not vote face a small fine.
The government makes people pay taxes, why can’t it register it to vote?
The United States is slowly moving toward easier and, in some states, automatic registration, but the rules still vary by state. In the 1990s, under President Bill Clinton, Congress passed a reform linking voter registration to the DMV. Most now have some sort of online registration. Many states allow same-day voter registration, but in others there are deadlines. North Dakota has no electoral record.
Is there an effort in Congress to change things nationally?
The bill would do much more, including ending partisan gerrymandering, by which parties draw lines of Congress to protect their incumbents, forcing an early voting period of two weeks and more.
But it would take a supermajority (60 votes) to surpass a Republican Party filibuster promise in the Senate. Democrats have suggested changing Senate rules specifically for this bill, but it is not clear that all Democrats would support the rule change.
Would universal postal voting or universal voter registration automatically help Democrats?
Clearly, Democrats are trying to make it easier for people to vote, and Republicans in general are trying to make it harder. This tells you a lot about political calculus here. But it’s also true that Republicans didn’t lose all races in the Senate or any state legislature in 2020 when turnout was across the roof.
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