Republican lawmakers in battleground states are rushing to enact stricter voting laws that Democrats worry could dampen Black and Hispanic turnout, but the moves could end up backfiring because of the changing face of the GOP coalition.
The flurry of legislation includes attempts to impose voter ID requirements and roll back pandemic-related expansion to mail-in access, steps that may inadvertently limit the participation of many of the older, rural and blue-collar voters that Republicans now depend on.
State legislatures across the country are considering more than a hundred bills that would increase voter ID requirements, tighten no-excuse vote-by-mail, and ban ballot drop boxes, among other changes.
That’s more than three times the number of bills to restrict voting that had been filed by this time last year, according to a report from the Brennan Center for Justice.
This flood of legislation comes despite research showing that voter ID laws passed over the last decade not only don’t hamper minority turnout, but may even boost it by motivating angry Democrats and spurring stronger get-out-the-vote efforts.
Nick Stephanopoulos, a Harvard professor who studies voting laws, said that the suburban, college-educated voters moving toward the Democratic Party are the least likely to be affected by new restrictions, since they have the resources to overcome them and tend to be regular voters already.