Republican state lawmakers across the country have introduced hundreds of voter suppression bills — some of which have already passed.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Wednesday claimed a voting rights bill championed by Democrats in both the House and Senate is "a solution in search of a problem," adding that "States are not engaging in trying to suppress voters whatsoever" — a complete and provable lie.
In fact, Republicans in state legislatures across the country have introduced hundreds of voter suppression bills that do everything from cut back on early voting days, purge voters from the rolls if they miss even one general election, restrict who can vote by mail, and implement voter ID laws that target Black voters.
It's all part of a coordinated GOP effort to make it harder to vote in the wake of Donald Trump's 2020 loss, which voting rights advocates have slammed as the largest attack on voting rights since Jim Crow.
McConnell's comment came during a Senate Rules Committee hearing on S. 1, titled the "For the People Act." It's the Senate's version of the House-passed H.R. 1 — a pro-democracy bill that makes it easier to vote by requiring states to have automatic voter registration and early voting, allowing everyone access to absentee ballots, and banning states from passing restrictive voter ID laws on absentee ballots.
A study by the Brennan Center for Justice found that if signed into law, H.R. 1 would be a panacea to the massive voter suppression effort Republicans are currently undertaking.
Republicans have ramped up the introduction of voter suppression bills following the campaign by Trump and his GOP allies' to promote lies claiming that voter fraud led to his loss last November.
Those lies helped incite the deadly insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6, when a pro-Trump mob fed lies about voter fraud and a stolen election sought to block Congress from certifying President Joe Biden's victory.
In the name of "election security," Republicans are trying to do everything from making it a crime to hand out food and drink to voters waiting in long lines to cast ballots, to trying to prohibit college students — a key Democratic constituency — from voting in the state they go to school in. What's more, in Texas, Republicans are trying to force the disabled to submit written proof of their disability in order to vote by mail.
But even Trump's own political appointees admitted there was no fraud, with federal agencies further declaring that the 2020 election was the "most secure in American history."
McConnell's comments are part of the torrent of lies Republicans have spread as they seek to make it harder to vote, and try to sink H.R. 1, falsely claiming the bill would "destroy" the First Amendment without actually protecting your right to vote.
But it seems the real reason Republicans are so against the legislation is that they believe allowing all eligible voters to easily cast ballots will hamper the GOP's chances at winning in the future.
It's something Trump himself has admitted publicly, and that other Republican lawmakers have said privately.
The Associated Press reported over the weekend that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) encouraged a group of GOP state lawmakers to pass these restrictive voting laws, saying that if Democrats are successful in passing H.R. 1 into law, "Democrats can never again lose another election, that they will win and maintain control of the House of Representatives and the Senate and of the state legislatures for the next century."
Few Republican elected officials have called out their own party's voter suppression tactics.
However one — Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan — said Republicans should modify their message and lay out a policy agenda that can win over voters, rather than trying to limit who can vote.
"Republicans don't need election reform to win, we need leadership," Duncan said in an appearance on "Meet the Press" earlier this month. "I think there's millions of Republicans waking up around the country that are realizing that Donald Trump's divisive tone and strategy is unwinnable in forward-looking elections. We need real leadership, we need new — new focus, a GOP 2.0 that includes moderates in the middle, to get us to the next election cycle."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.