In Arizona, a Republican state senator worried aloud that his party’s proposed voter identification requirements might be too “cumbersome.” But he voted for the bill anyway.
In Iowa, the state’s Republican elections chief put out a carefully worded statement that didn’t say whether he backs his own party’s legislation making it more difficult to vote early.
And in Georgia, Republican Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan left the room as Senate Republicans approved a bill to block early voting for all but the GOP’s most reliable voting bloc. Duncan instead watched Monday’s proceedings from a television in his office to protest.
This is what amounts to dissent as Republican lawmakers push a wave of legislation through statehouses across the nation to make voting more difficult. The bills are fueled by former President Donald Trump’s false claims of widespread voter fraud and many are sponsored by his most loyal allies. But support for the effort is much broader than just Trump’s hard-right base, and objections from GOP policymakers are so quiet they can be easy to miss.
“It’s appalling what’s happening,” said former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele, who condemned the silence of the GOP’s elected officials. “There have been no provable, obvious, systemwide failures or fraud that would require the kind of ‘legislative remedies’ that Republican legislatures are embarking on. What the hell are you so afraid of? Black people voting?”