“State Republicans push new voting restrictions after Trump’s loss”

Zach Montellaro for Politico:

Republican legislators across the country are preparing a slew of new voting restrictions in the wake of former President Donald Trump’s defeat.

Georgia will be the focal point of the GOP push to change state election laws, after Democrats narrowly took both Senate seats there and President Joe Biden carried the state by an even smaller margin. But state Republicans in deep-red states and battlegrounds alike are citing Trump’s meritless claims of voter fraud in 2020 — and the declining trust in election integrity Trump helped drive — as an excuse to tighten access to the polls.

Some Republican officials have been blunt about their motivations: They don’t believe they can win unless the rules change. “They don’t have to change all of them, but they’ve got to change the major parts of them so that we at least have a shot at winning,” Alice O’Lenick, a Republican on the Gwinnett County, Ga., board of elections in suburban Atlanta, told the Gwinnett Daily Post last week. She has since resisted calls to resign.

The chair of the Texas Republican Party has called on the legislature there to make “election integrity” the top legislative priority in 2021, calling, among other things, for a reduction in the number of days of early voting. Jason Miller, a top Trump adviser, told the conservative site Just The News that Trump plans to remain involved in “voting integrity” efforts, keeping the issue at the top of Republicans’ minds. And VoteRiders, a nonprofit group that helps prospective voters get an ID if they need one to cast a ballot, said it is expecting a serious push for new voter ID laws in at least five states, while North Carolina could potentially implement new voter ID policies that have been held up in court….

But Georgia is unique among the closest 2020 battleground states in that Republicans control the governorship and both houses of the state legislature. That boxes out Democrats, who are broadly opposed to voter ID laws or other proposed electoral changes, like limiting absentee voting. Democratic governors in states with Republican legislatures, like Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, could veto changes to election laws if there isn’t bipartisan agreement on what to alter….

In Arizona, another swing state that Biden narrowly carried, Republicans in the state Senate have advanced legislation that would result in more automatic recounts. Some Republicans also introduced legislation to abolish the state’s permanent early voting list — which a supermajority of voters are registered for — although a cosponsor of the legislation told the Arizona Republic, “It can’t pass and I don’t want to waste my time with it.”

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