ATLANTA — Today, the nonpartisan organizations States United Democracy Center, Protect Democracy, and Law Forward released a new report exposing a Republican-led democracy crisis in the making with 148 bills filed in 36 states designed to alter basic principles about how elections should be administered by placing highly partisan elected officials in charge of basic decisions surrounding elections.
Following the GOP’s efforts to promote the Big Lie about so-called widespread voter fraud in the 2020 election, Republican-led state legislatures are quickly moving to implement legislation like Georgia’s Senate Bill 202 that would roll back the clock on voting rights in an effort to preserve their waning power in response to record turnout from Black and brown and young voters. But beyond limiting access to the ballot box, their anti-voter agenda, including SB 202, would also allow for a partisan power grab over who has control over election administration.
Competitive battleground states with diversifying electorates like Georgia, Arizona and Texas have witnessed the majority of these bills proposed with 14, 14, and 19 filed, respectively. Last month, the New York Times reported on measures buried in the notorious voter suppression bill SB 202 that would give Republican lawmakers “wide-ranging influence over the mechanics of voting and fundamentally alter the state’s governance of elections” and “would allow state lawmakers to seize control of county election boards and erode the power of the secretary of state’s office.”
“American democracy relies on fair administration of elections,” said Fair Fight Action Research & Policy Director Esosa Osa. “But this onslaught of anti-voting, power grabbing legislation places our democracy on a collision course towards crisis. It is critical federal action is taken by Congress to protect, strengthen, and embolden our democracy and counter state-level attacks on the right to vote.”
From the report:
- In the wake of the 2020 presidential election and a concerted effort to discredit both the process and the result of the vote, elected officials at the state and federal levels are moving to reform nearly every dimension of voting and election administration. The substance and aim of many of these proposals stand in sharp contrast to the broad desires of the American public for more accessible voting options.
- In 2021, state legislatures across the country are moving to assert their own power over elections—power that is currently, and has been traditionally, held by the executive branch and/or local officials. In a break with traditional bipartisanship in election administration, partisan majorities in individual statehouses are moving to consolidate command over elections in the political hands of the legislative branch.
- These proposals would do more than disproportionately and unprecedentedly shift power over elections to the political party that might dominate a legislature. They seek to implement serious changes that threaten to make elections unworkable, would render results impossible to finalize, and would undermine fundamental principles of democracy by opening the door to election manipulation by self-interested partisan actors.
Read the full report here.