The US presidential election has had a dramatic aftermath. Several Republican-ruled states are tightening local electoral laws. In practice, the right to vote is restricted to many Americans. Democrats will lose out on such a tightening. What is happening now is very reminiscent of the racial segregation laws that applied in many states until 1965.
President Joe Biden has responded by submitting two national bills that are intended to prevent states’ attempts to make it more difficult to get a vote. But it is doubtful that Biden will get a sufficient majority in the Senate. There are hardly many Republicans who will give up the opportunity to win extra votes at new crossroads.
In practice, the right to vote is restricted to many Americans
The backdrop is the fact that Joe Biden was elected President of the United States last year. Donald Trump claimed that the election was stolen from him, and many Americans unfortunately live in the same delusion. Republicans are taking revenge by tightening state-by-state electoral laws.
Just before Easter, Georgia passed such a law. It entails shorter opening hours at the polling stations, restrictions on voting by post and other restrictions that make advance voting more difficult. It will no longer be open for advance voting on Sundays. In Georgia, it is even forbidden to distribute water bottles to voters who often have to stand in hour-long queues to get a vote.
Republicans will benefit from tightening the availability of ballot boxes. Blacks and the poor, who largely vote for the Democrats, often have jobs that make it difficult to vote on election day. They depend on it being easy to vote in advance. Democrats, on the other hand, have demographics on their side. There will be more colored and highly educated Americans. At the same time, there will be fewer classic Republican voters; white people without higher education.
[ Georgia har vedtatt omstridt valglov ]
But it is not just election laws that are being changed. This year, the United States will draw on the country’s constituencies, and this will take place under the auspices of the individual state. Here, Republicans have everything to gain. The map is simply redrawn so that “own” voters end up on the right side of the line. This will make it easier for Republicans to secure a majority in Congress in 2022 and get the president two years later.
Georgia’s Republican Gov. Brian Kemp claims his state’s new election laws will make the election “safer, more accessible and fairer.” Of course, security must be maintained, but the result will have to be less accessibility. And it certainly does not do more justice to those who in practice are prevented from voting. The historically large turnout at the 2020 election was, from a democratic point of view, a gratifying progress. Now the United States is taking two steps back.
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