MSNBC host Mehdi Hasan tore into Republicans on Tuesday afternoon for simultaneously passing laws to overcomplicate elections and then complaining about the consequences of having added unnecessary extra steps to ballot counting processes.
Hasan's message came as multiple right-wing candidates and officials alleged that something nefarious was afoot in Arizona's Maricopa County, where the GOP is in charge of elections and reports of tabulation machine glitches led to new conspiracy theories from gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake. "This is incompetency," she griped to a media gaggle.
Figures like former President Donald Trump have also baselessly cried foul over procedures that were enacted by Republicans.
READ MORE: 'This is incompetency': Kari Lake complains of voting problems in county where Republicans run elections
Hasan pointed out in his monologue that the GOP's tactic of trying to have it both ways is pervasive:
Why can't we have all the results on election night? Why do we have to wait for some races to be decided, to be called days later? That's the new mantra from conservatives that you may have heard recently, the idea being that if you don't have all the results in on election night, all the winners and losers confirmed straight away, and if the results of mail-in ballots, absentee ballots come in later and help Democratic candidates and not Republican ones, then that's evidence of deliberate electoral fraud, of political corruption.
Now, that's total nonsense, of course, but it goes back to Donald Trump on election night 2020 saying this: 'We don't want them to find any ballots at four o'clock in the morning and add them to the list.' Today, you have Trump loyalists like former Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell – often described as a Twitter troll – going viral with ridiculous tweets like this one: 'Any state which doesn't count all the votes and announce the winner Tuesday night is incompetent.' But here's the thing – not only is a state which doesn't do that not necessarily incompetent, but it might very well be a state with a Republican-controlled legislature.
See, mail-in ballots have to be processed – envelopes opened, signatures verified – before they're then tabulated, tallied, counted. And one of the main reasons why it takes so long to do all that with mail-in ballots in the key swing states is because Republican lawmakers in those states have made sure that's the case.
In Pennsylvania, for example, a state law passed unanimously by a Republican-led General Assembly in March 2020 prevents elections officials from even opening mail-in ballots until 7 a.m. on Election Day. The same thing in swing state Wisconsin, in fact, in March, a bipartisan bill that would have allowed local election clerks there to begin counting absentee ballots a day earlier died in the Republican-controlled State Senate. And in swing state Michigan, reports AP: 'officials can start processing just two days before. This means most results being reported from these states on election night will be from in-person voting on Election Day or during the early voting period.'
Hasan noted that most of the United States operates in a saner manner and that the targeted disruptions to elections are intentional:
Look, it doesn't have to be this way. Thirty-eight states including red states Texas and Florida allow election officials to process mail ballots prior to the election. Ten states – one in five – allow both processing and counting of mail-in ballots to begin before Election Day.
But not in Michigan, Wisconsin, or Pennsylvania.
So the truth is, if Republicans in those swing states really wanted a result on the night, they'd be pushing for that to happen. But they're not. They're blocking it while moaning about election integrity. They complain that it takes too long to get the result and suggest it's evidence of either incompetence or election fraud. But at the same time, they guarantee that any measures to speed up the processing and counting of those mail ballots are just killed in the state legislatures that they control.
Hasan ended his address with an unavoidable assessment.
"That's not just dishonest on their part," he concluded of the GOP. "It's straight-up gaslighting."
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