Welcome back my friends. In my article a few days ago, I dealt with some of the reasons for the GOP to be worried going into 2022. For brevity and clarity, I focused on the problems that the GOP in Georgia was running into trying to suppress voting in Georgia. But Georgia is not the only place that there is rampant voter suppression bills being presented. And the GOP has problems there too.
There are more than 250 bills working their way through state legislatures right now, and they’re all facing the same basic problem. Actually, there are two problems, and we’ll look at them here. For starters, in order to pass a state voting change law, the legislature has to be able to prove that the law isn’t intended to suppress voting for minority populations. And that’s a problem for the GOP, because this isn’t the GOP’s first bull ride at the rodeo.
The GOP has been a minority representation party for a while now, and the way that they have managed to maintain relevance is through voter suppression! In other words, the GOP has already picked off the majority of the low hanging fruit from the voter suppression tree that they could make stand up in court. If they’re going to try to dip back into that well again, then they are going to have to depend on tortuous logic and wording to try to pass a court challenge.
Here’s a perfect example. One of the newly coined voter suppression measures that the Georgia legislature tried putting forward was restricting early voting to one Sunday per cycle. This was insane, and doomed to defeat from the start. The only logical reason to restrict Sunday voting was to defeat the Souls to the Polls efforts of African American churches. This would never have survived a serious court challenge.
The same thing goes for another Georgia bill that ended up being pulled back. For more than a decade now, Georgia has had no excuse mail in balloting, and as a rule, the Democrats go into election day at a disadvantage because so many older GOP voters voted by mail, which African Americans distrusted. But have one cycle where black voters turned out en masse with mail in ballots, and it’s time for it to go. See my point? The GOP has already suppressed what they can suppress in local laws, anything more now will be by nature convoluted and harder to defend in court.
Here’s another major stumbling block for the GOP. The We The People Act passed out of the House. Worth the admission of California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein that she was open to modifying the Cloture Rule to end Senate debate and bring a bill to a simple up or down vote on the floor, the passage of the bill is pretty much assured. The Democrats will bring the bill to the floor for a vote, force the entire GOP writ large to oppose it, go into conference, some back out and amend the Senate rules to require a simple 51 vote majority to bring about cloture, do it, and then pass the bill.
This will be a nail in the coffin of GOP voter suppression attempts. Because while states can come up with whatever rules they want for their own local elections, federal elections are covered by federal law. And there aren’t that many states out there with off year elections where their local laws can hold sway.
The We The People act will provide for automatic voter registration, set minimum date ranges for early voting, and absentee voting, and set a national standard for the types of information required for voting. It won’t just negate the majority of the current voter suppression bills moving their ways through the states, it will invalidate decades of voter suppression laws already on the state books. This balancing of the books is going to put a major crimp in the GOP’s dreams of long term minority rule.
But we’re not done yet! Because I’m your go to guy, and I believe in giving you guys and gals the full seven course meal. There is one more thing that the GOP is trying to do this year which is not going to go well. And that is purging the voter rolls in states! It was then Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp purging Georgia rolls of some 65,000 minority voters in 2018m that gave him his 42,000 winning vote margin over Stacey Abrams.
But here’s the McGuffin. Exactly how do you purge the voter rolls in a state? Do you just say, We’re purging the rolls of anybody with names ending in SKY? Do you decide to empty the rolls of any voters from a particular zip code? Of course not! In order to purge the voting rolls, you have to have a logical reason.
Up until now, the time honored tradition for purging voter rolls has been voter inactivity. The state that wants to suppress voters before what figures to be a high intensity election simply picks a limit of 2-3 consecutive election cycles in which the voter does not vote. The logic is that this catches voters who have died, or moved from their address and are no longer eligible to vote there. The scam is that it disproportionally affects lower income communities of color, who may not be motivated to show up for every cycle.
But here’s the problem for the GOP. Once again, let’s take Georgia for an example. Following the voter purge of 65,000 minority voters in 2018, Stacey Abrams spent the next two years registering just over 500,000 new voters. They can’t be purged, they haven’t even had a cycle to vote in yet. They’re bulletproof.
This is why Georgia is a template for what could happen to the GOP’s time honored gambits of voter suppression and gerrymandering in 2022. The Georgia GOP and the rest of the country learned the awful truth, yet one more time, in 2020, that when the people actually turn out in an election and vote, the Democrats win. Let’s see what the 500,000 new voters and even more registered between now and 2022 do. Georgia is the center of the political universe. Stay tuned.