GOP lawmakers in statehouses across the country are calling for stricter voting regulations after concerns were raised in the 2020 election.
Legislators have introduced three times the number of bills to restrict voting than this time last year, according to the Brennan Center, which has tracked voting legislation in all 50 states. Twenty-eight states have introduced, prefiled, or carried more than 106 restrictive bills this year. Last February, there were 35 such bills in 15 states.
Restrictive voting proposals are being advanced in states such as Texas, which have long pushed for more barriers to the ballot box, but newer proposals have also been brought up in Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania, according to the Associated Press. The latter three all flipped for President Biden last year after former President Donald Trump won them in 2016.
In Georgia, which flipped blue for the first time since the 1992 presidential election, GOP lawmakers are seeking to impose new barriers to mail-in voting, used heavily by Democrats in the presidential election and the Senate runoff elections earlier this month.
Another bill would create a photo ID requirement for voting outside of polling places in Georgia. Voters would be required to submit ID both when applying for absentee ballots and returning them, according to a report by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Some voting rights groups and advocates have raised concerns that the push to extend barriers to voting would hurt communities of color the most.
“Unfortunately, we are seeing some politicians who want to manipulate the rules of the game so that some people can participate and some can’t,” Myrna Pérez, director of the voting rights and elections program at the Brennan Center, said.
Brian Robinson, a Republican political consultant in Atlanta, defended the push.
“The overall purpose of these reforms is to restore faith in our election systems,” Robinson told the New York Times. “That’s not to say that it was a giant failure; that’s to say that faith has been diminished.”
Trump, and other Republicans, long alleged that widespread voter fraud took place in the 2020 election, resulting in a victory for Biden. The former president was entangled in monthslong litigation seeking investigations into how the electoral process played out, especially in swing states.