ATLANTA — A new report from Democracy Docket outlines a study from the Election Law Journal finding that both Texas and Georgia — which have recently forced through draconian new anti-voter bills — topped a Cost of Voting Index which measures “how restrictive each state’s voting laws were in 2020.”
Even prior to Republicans efforts to further restrict access to the ballot box in both states following the Big Lie surrounding the 2020 election, Texas and Georgia already had significant barriers to voting. Both states passed legislation that will further increase their cost of voting, while several other states improved their ranking in the index from prior years.
Georgia’s Republican legislature and Brian Kemp forced through SB 202, which adds burdensome new ID requirements, criminalizes handing out food and water to voters, and puts unnecessary limits on ballot drop boxes while transferring “unprecedented” amounts of power over elections to partisan politicians in the state legislature. Meanwhile, the Texas House of Representatives just scrambled to pass HB 6, a bill that unnecessarily limits early and absentee voting in response to the Big Lie, even as the state’s economy “could take a massive hit if the state enacts new voting restrictions.”
Read more from Democracy Docket:
The Cost of Voting
- The process of voting varies widely across each of the 50 states. With voting laws changing every day, and Republicans in state legislatures introducing a barrage of new restrictions, it can be hard to get an overall picture of how relatively easy or difficult it is to cast a ballot where you live.
- The study, released at the end of last year, updates the “Cost of Voting Index” used by political scientists to determine how restrictive each state’s voting laws were in 2020.
- In it, the authors Scot Schraufnagel, Michael J. Pomante II, and Quan Li draw some important conclusions about how effectively and efficiently states can improve voting access.
- The Cost of Voting Index (COVI) assesses every stage of the voting process—from registration to casting a ballot—and assigns each state a numerical rank based on how many barriers voters are forced to overcome.
- They find that there are significant disparities between each of the 50 states, with some voters facing much higher hurdles at the ballot box than others.
- The shift in state rankings between 2016 and 2020 show how important improving even one of these policies can be for increasing access to the ballot in a state.