Trumpworld Is Finding New Ways to Suppress Voters

Trumpworld Is Finding New Ways to Suppress Voters
Donald Trump has spent the better part of a year attacking the legitimacy of mail-in voting from his Twitter feed—part of an ongoing strategy to shake people’s faith in the electoral system. More recently, according to Politico, Republican attorneys have employed another method to suppress votes: keep certain mail-in ballots from being counted at all. In states like Wisconsin, Georgia, and New Hampshire, Republicans have steadily been winning lawsuits that will limit when ballots can be counted, creating a powder keg scenario that could dramatically influence the election outcome both on November 3 and in the following days.

Federal judges in Wisconsin reportedly halted a plan to count ballots received up to six days after election day, and a Georgia appeals court dropped a three-day deadline extension for ballots. In New Hampshire, a lawsuit filed by the American Federation of Teachers requesting expanded absentee ballot access was also rejected by the Superior Court. “Our concern on some of this is that the rules are unclear and some of the relief the Democrats are asking for in court could realistically allow for ballots to be voted after Election Day,” Justin Riemer, chief counsel at the Republican National Committee, told Politico. 

Already, there have been bumps in the voting process. Recent reports have depicted disturbingly long lines that kept some Georgians waiting up to 11 hours just to cast their ballot. Technical failures in states like Florida and Virginia, where registration systems shut down for hours due to an unprecedented number of entries, have forced those states to extend their voter registration deadline amid calls for greater voter accessibility. With the USPS, led by Trump ally Louis DeJoy, in shambles, Democrats, according to Politico, “have been pushing to have state deadlines extended due to fears the beleaguered United States Postal Service will struggle to deliver the millions of extra expected ballots on time.” 

Voter ignorance around mail-in ballots could compound the problem. As my colleague Ken Stern reported back in May, mail-in ballots are rejected at a much higher rate than in-person ballots. Michael Hanmer, from the University of Maryland, predicted that as many as a million votes could go uncounted due to errors. Moreover, “if the errors are concentrated in places where elections are close, the significance will be even greater,” he told Stern. 

The GOP hasn’t won all its cases; in states like Pennsylvania, Nevada, and North Carolina, judges have decided to keep extended ballot deadlines in place. In other states, Democrats are contesting the rulings. But conservatives told Politico they’ll continue the onslaught after election day. “Once you have a single rejected ballot or a ballot you say is invalid,” Jason Snead, executive director at the conservative Honest Elections Project, told the outlet, “then that harm is real and concrete and you can bring some additional litigation.”

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