After high turnout in last year’s midterm elections propelled Democrats to a new House majority and big gains in the states, several Republican-controlled state legislatures are attempting to change voting-related rules in ways that might reduce future voter turnout.
In Texas, state lawmakers are considering adding criminal penalties for people who improperly fill out voter registration forms. Arizona Republicans are proposing new voting rules that could make it more complicated to cast an early ballot. In Tennessee, GOP lawmakers are considering a bill that would fine groups involved in voter registration drives that submit incomplete forms.
Republican lawmakers in those states say new laws are needed to maintain the integrity of voter rolls and prevent fraud. Voting rights advocates and Democrats dismiss those claims and argue that the policies are designed to dampen turnout among younger, nonwhite and poorer voters, who are less likely to back Republicans.