GOP voter suppression efforts are backfiring bigly

McConnell at a podium with senators behind him

Screenshot / YouTube

The Republican party’s greedy, undemocratic, cheating ways may have finally caught up to them. But it took the convergence of four years of despotic rule, an impeachment trial without witnesses, unprecedented unemployment, a deadly pandemic, and unmitigated hypocrisy ramming through a Supreme Court Justice — not eight days BEFORE AN ELECTION but actually DURING AN ELECTION — to possibly serve as the tipping point.

Now we may be looking at a record turnout. Obstacles and lines be damned.

Suppression comes in 29 different flavors

Shadow people waiting in line to vote

Canva

The record turnout doesn’t mean voter suppression isn’t having an impact.

Mother Jones documented 29 ways the GOP is making it tougher to vote.

Here is but a handful:

  • Rejecting mail-in ballots for signature violations or other minor infractions
  • Rejecting mail-in ballots for black voters at four times the rate of white voters
  • Sabotaging the post office
  • Undermining mail voting
  • Encouraging “Trump Army” of poll watchers to challenge and harass Dems at the polls
  • Trump refusing to commit to accepting the results of the election (or a peaceful transfer of power)

Lauren Groh-Wargo, CEO of Fair Fight Action, says:

Some people may be fired up to overcome it, but how many others are scared and confused and don’t show up?

Right now, more people seem to be fired up.

Over 60 million of us have already voted!

People standing in line to vote wearing face masks

Screenshot / YouTube

Well over sixty million Americans have already voted, exceeding the total number of early votes cast in 2016. Democrats have returned nearly twice as many ballots as Republicans in the 19 states that release voting data by party.

And, the icing on the cake: 25% of ballots have been cast by people who didn’t vote in 2016, and these voters lean Democratic by 16 points.

Texas is suppressing the suppression

A group of young people holding vote buttons

Screenshot / Time

Texas Governor Greg Abbott likely knows if he lets everyone in Texas vote, he’d just be Uber driver Greg Abbott. So on October 1st, he issued an emergency declaration limiting mail ballot drop-off boxes to ONE PER COUNTY regardless of population!

That’s right. You live in a tiny rural Texas town with 137 people, you get one drop-off box. You live in Harris County with 2.4 million registered voters and a larger landmass than Rhode Island, you also get ONE DROP-OFF BOX. Are you f%#*@% kidding me?

Texas also bans online registration and voting with a student ID. Plus, if you’re under 65 and fear getting COVID-19, you can’t get a mail-in ballot and have to show up in person. Because, y’ know… democracy?

Fighting back

A girl with "our future in your hands" written on her palms

Screenshot / YouTube

Now the good news: The backlash has been swift. On the first day of early voting, 128,000 people voted in Harris County – nearly double the number from 2016. Harris County has already passed a million early votes, nearly equaling the number of people who voted OVERALL in the last presidential election, and there’s still a week left to vote, plus election day. People want their voices heard, and if you’re telling them they might have to drive over 100 miles in each direction just to DROP THEIR BALLOT OFF, it appears their voices will get louder.

Governor Abbott’s blatant suppression is what Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo calls “the straw that broke the camel’s back.”

Harris County was prepared for the 2020 shenanigans. In 2016 their election budget was just $4 million. This year it’s $33 million. They invested the money into tripling the number of early voting locations, implementing drive-in voting for the first time in Texas history, and converting sports arenas into polling sites.

Not since 1908 have more than 65% of eligible US voters cast a ballot. We may be about to shatter that record. And if that happens, the GOP will also be shattered.

But we can’t let these turnout numbers make us complacent. Don’t forget to vote!

And if you’ve already voted, you can remind your friends and family, volunteer to make phone calls, or sign up to be a poll worker. It will take all of us to save our democracy this time.

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