Saturday, December 19, 2020

Republicans have a solution for the future: voter suppression

Some Republicans in America, smarting from their recent pressential election loss, have a plan for the future: make it more difficult to vote.

With the changing demographics in traditionally Republican states like Georgia and Texas leading to a worry that these states will become reliably blue states in the future, "no-excuse" mail-in voting is increasingly being seen as the problem (even though, in the past, it was largely Republicans that took advantage of mail-in ballots). 

A record 160 million people voted in the US during the last election and nearly half of them voted by mail, with another quarter voting in person but early. This was unprecedented, and largely a result of the raging pandemic, but some Republican strategists see both the absolute number of votes and the proportion of mailed votes as a direct threat to the hegemony the Republican Party has enjoyed in the southern states for decades 

Their solution? You guessed it: make mail-in voting more difficult, by throwing more and more obstacles in its way, by requiring an excuse and/or increasing the ID requirements, for example. So, rather than tailoring their political message to the new demographics, these southern Republicans prefer to rely on a tried and trusted strategy, good old voter suppression. 

In a move worthy of Margaret Atwood's Gilead, they are looking to go in the diametrically opposite direction to most of the civilized world, which sees ease of voting and increased enfranchisement as a social good to be encouraged.

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