Georgia moved a step closer to making it harder to vote Monday when Republican lawmakers in the House approved a bill that would significantly curtail early and absentee voting options in the state. Why is the state of Georgia—and Republicans in particular—suddenly interested in making it harder to vote? The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s characterization of the bill says it all: “The House voted along party lines, 97–72, on the sweeping elections bill supported by Republicans who want to impose new voting requirements after losing presidential and U.S. Senate races in Georgia.” Republicans lost the state of Georgia, and they don’t want to lose it again. Instead of devising a way to attract more voters, they’ve decided on the opposite track: making it harder for the opposition to vote.
“The far-reaching bill would require a photo ID for absentee voting, limit the amount of time voters have to request an absentee ballot, restrict where ballot drop boxes could be located and when they could be accessed, and limit early voting hours on weekends, among many other changes,” the Associated Press reports. “Later Monday, the state Senate Ethics Committee approved a Republican-backed bill that would limit who can vote absentee in Georgia to those 65 and older, people with a disability and people who will be away from their precinct on Election Day.”
This is where Trump’s outlandish election claims have come in handy for Republicans, many of whom have adopted his concocted grievances as their own belief system about the election. The push in Georgia to limit voting access, as the AP notes, is “one of a flood of election bills being pushed by GOP lawmakers across the country this year that would add new barriers to voting.” The national Republican fiction that they were robbed in 2020 has been repeated ad nauseam, thereby eroding their own trust in the election—that they set the rules for!
This, despite the fact that Georgia election officials, including Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, have said there’s literally no evidence of widespread fraud, much less one that affected the results that were already subject to heightened scrutiny—from recounts and audits. The fraud may not have been real, but the erosion of (Republican) trust is. And, of course, the only way to restore that (Republican) trust is by enacting real-world policies based on the very fiction that spawned this whole mess. It’s cynical and cyclical, it’s corrosive—and it’s happening nationwide.
In Georgia, the bill now heads to the overwhelmingly Republican state Senate, where it will be debated before it is ultimately advanced to the desk of Republican Gov. Brian Kemp.