Long after Donald Trump is extracted from the White House, voter suppression will live on more zealously than ever in states across the nation. Increased stifling of democracy will rank as one of Trump's more noxious legacies, which is saying something.
An ABC News report Thursday that in at least five key battleground states, "Republican state lawmakers are taking the baseless claims of fraud and lack of election integrity often promoted by the president and repeated by their constituents, into the 2021 session as arguments for changing election law."
Those states are Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, Arizona and Texas. ABC reported that "Republicans across the country are still using fraud claims as justification for proposed legislation that would undo some provisions, some implemented during the coronavirus, such as the use of ballot drop boxes and no-excuse absentee voting."
Sylvia Albert, director of voting and elections at the nonpartisan voting rights group Common Cause, expressed concern.
"Obviously we saw record turnout everywhere and part of that was because access to the ballot was expanded. And obviously nothing is perfect," she told ABC News. "We would want improvements and improvements should be made, with consultation with election officials and election security experts and advocates in the community, but that's not what we're seeing.
"What we're seeing is legislatures adopting the president's lies about there being problems with the election," Albert added, referring to unsubstantiated claims about voting machines changing votes, fraudulent signature matching processes and other baseless claims promoted by the president."
Georgia Senate Republican Whip Steve Gooch had this to say for the efforts to "crack down" on such presumed horrors as ballot drop boxes and no-excuse absentee balloting (in use since 2005):
"We have totally lost confidence in our election system this year," said during a committee hearing about the election. "I'm here on behalf of those citizens. I have a duty to let you know that this issue isn't going to go away unless we make some changes."
You can read the full report here: https://abcn.ws/3hzt52C
ABC News is not alone in observing the efforts in Georgia. Last month, Savannah Morning News editorial page editor Adam Van Brimmer noted that Republicans are facing a crossroads with Democrats now threatening the stranglehold they've held on state politics for the past two decades. Here's part of his December 12 column:"The GOP (has) two options to stem the blue wave: Sell their ideas or make voting more difficult. Electioneering is always easier, at least when you have the power of the majority. And that's what the Legislature's Republicans intend to do in the 2021 session by pushing measures that would limit absentee balloting, complicate the voting process and perhaps even move toward making the state's top election official, the secretary of state, a post chosen by them instead of the voters. To borrow a silly slogan, 'stop the steal.'"