This is because Republicans hate a true representative democracy. And if they hate that, then they hate America. And if they hate America, then they hate you. I know Republicans say they LOVE America. They love it so much they wanna marry it. But that’s not true. They only love using America, mostly as a means of engineering hate.
There’s North Dakota, which changed its voter identification law after the razor-thin election of Sen. Heidi Heitkamp in 2012 to make it harder for Native American voters living on reservations and lacking a residential street address to be able to vote. There’s Georgia, where Secretary of State (and current gubernatorial candidate) Brian Kemp has been holding for administrative review up to 53,000 voter registration cards for failing to have an exact match (like a missing hyphen) between the official record of a person’s name and the name appearing on the registration card. And there’s Dodge City, Kansas, a Latino-majority city with only a single polling place for 27,000 people—a polling place that was recently moved out of town and a mile from public transportation for the 2018 midterm elections.
These new measures have been spearheaded by mostly GOP leaders and came in a wave after the gutting of the Voter Rights Act by the Supreme Court. VICE reports:
VICE News found that for every 10 polling places that closed in the rest of the country, 13 closed within the jurisdictions once under oversight. Policies that introduce barriers to voting — like Texas’ strict voter ID requirements and North Carolina’s elimination of same-day registration and limits on early voting — have been widely criticized for discouraging minority voters, who disproportionately vote Democratic. The vast majority of the jurisdictions once under federal supervision are in states with GOP leadership.
“I think what we’re seeing [are] modern-day form[s] of voter suppression that are still occurring, and while they are not as egregious or as overt as literacy tests or poll taxes, they are nevertheless decreasing participation,” said Rep. Terri Sewell, an Alabama Democrat.
The people most burdened by changes that make it more difficult to vote are poorer and more likely to be people of color. Poll closures can increase travel time and the length of lines. Low-income voters — who may not own cars and have less time to devote to registering or standing in line — may be unable to participate if the barriers are too difficult.
Even after ballots have been cast and voters have made their voices heard, GOP-controlled legislatures around the country are disregarding their decisions. Ballot initiatives, which have been proposed in large part because citizens don't believe their elected officials are enacting change quickly enough, are either being undermined or completely ignored by lawmakers. Per The Atlantic:
In the last two years, 11 states have rendered 2016’s measures mostly symbolic, since legislators were allowed by law to amend or delay passed initiatives. Republican-led legislatures in other places are looking to pass laws to emulate those 11 states, and that could mean there will be fewer initiatives this year and in future elections.
“The ballot-measure process is under attack,” Justine Sarver, the executive director of the progressive Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, said. “There were many successful measures in 2016, and we’re seeing many conservative governors saying, ‘I’m not going to implement that.’” One recent example: In response to successful Medicaid-expansion and cannabis-legalization referenda in Maine, Republican Governor Paul LePage has led the charge to blunt the effectiveness of the tool itself. “Referendum is pure democracy and it has not worked for 15,000 years,” he said in his final State of the State address in February.
In Georgia, gubernatorial candidate and current Secretary of State Brian Kemp has been sued by numerous civil rights groups alleging he is suppressing votes with extensive voter purges and closure of polling places. Kemp, for his part, says he is only trying to ensure there is no voter fraud in the upcoming election. The Huffington Post reports on the gubernatorial debate:
“If Ms. Abrams’ folks that she’s registering had used the paper applications with the online system and were using their state-issued ID or their Georgia ID, they would not be having these problems,” he said in an apparent reference to New Georgia Project, a voter registration group Abrams started in 2014 that targets voters of color.
“The reason they’re having these problems is because her canvassers didn’t fill the form out correctly. They couldn’t get the last four digits of the Social Security right. That issue was precleared by the Obama Justice Department,” he said.
Despite Kemp's assertions that he is only trying to enforce the law, he was recorded at a closed-door campaign event lamenting his opponent, Stacey Abrams' extensive voter registration operation. Per Rolling Stone:
Brian Kemp, Georgia Secretary of State and the Republican nominee for Georgia governor, expressed at a ticketed campaign event that his Democratic opponent Stacey Abrams’ voter turnout operation “continues to concern us, especially if everybody uses and exercises their right to vote,” according to audio obtained by Rolling Stone.
...Not long after Kemp began his remarks, the candidate expressed worry about early voting and “the literally tens of millions of dollars that they [the Abrams camp] are putting behind the get-out-the-vote effort to their base.”
Kemp then asserted that much of that Abrams effort is focused on absentee ballot requests. “They have just an unprecedented number of that,” he said, “which is something that continues to concern us, especially if everybody uses and exercises their right to vote — which they absolutely can — and mail those ballots in, we gotta have heavy turnout to offset that.”
Some Republicans, like Kemp in Georgia, claim charges of voter suppression are misleading and are greatly exaggerated by Democrats. Per The New York Times:
Mr. Kemp told the Valdosta Daily Times Sunday that it was a “politically motivated, manufactured story,” made up by his opponent to drum up Democratic turnout. Everyone on the suspended list will be able to cast a ballot, he said. And he leveled an incendiary charge of his own at Ms. Abrams: that she wants noncitizens’ votes to count. “She wants illegals to vote in Georgia,” he said on Fox News on Monday.
In Arizona, early voting, which is one of the many hotly contested voting policies driving the voter suppression conversation, is showing Republican candidate Martha McSally with a clear lead over Kyrsten Sinema. Per AZ Central:
Early-voting data shows overall voter enthusiasm at an all-time high for a midterm election, and, so far, Republicans have the clear advantage.
Pollsters say the early results are a reflection of GOP enthusiasm and the longstanding fundamentals of the red-leaning state.
For all the talk of a so-called “blue wave,” Democratic-affiliated voters are lagging behind Republicans. Democrats seemed to be holding onto their ballots longer than Republicans, although their returns surged at week's end.
The president is currently on a tour across the country in support of statewide Republican candidates. Politico reports the rallies are filled with people touting a "Red Wave." These conservatives strongly believe there will be more Republican voters at the polls in this election.
Outside the Toyota Center where President Donald Trump was soon to fire up his supporters Monday night, a parked SUV was draped in a banner declaring a “Red Wave Tour,” complete with an image of Trump surfing a red tide about to swamp an unsuspecting donkey.
That may not be a widely shared forecast of next month’s midterm elections, but it does capture the triumphant mood of Trump’s political rallies as Election Day closes in.