Court Delivers Blow To Republicans In Blatant Voter Suppression Attempt

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An Arkansas court has rejected an effort by state authorities to dismiss a lawsuit challenging suppressive new election restrictions in the state. Arkansas is one of a slew of locales where Republican leaders have recently pushed restrictive changes to election procedures that don’t actually connect to systematic election integrity concerns, since such problems do not exist in the United States. Instead, the restrictions merely make voting more difficult, impeding the ability of voters to participate in the democracy that — on paper, at least — is supposed to hinge on their involvement.

Especially recently, Republicans have often seemed more interested in restricting the electoral process than in reaching out to other voters in hopes of expanding their support. When was the last time that a Republican leader at the federal level proposed and really ran with a policy plan anywhere close to as sweeping as the social spending package currently under development by Democrats? Where is the Republican focus on issues like expanding access to elections, or lifting Americans out of poverty, or providing health coverage to those who need it?

As for the Arkansas court challenge that’s been newly allowed to continue moving forward, the voting rights organization known as Democracy Docket explains that it targets four particular bills. As they put it:

‘The bills go after every aspect of the election process:  House Bill 1715 establishes a new absentee ballot application signature match; Senate Bill 643 limits the absentee ballot return period; House Bill 1112 requires voters who lack proper ID when casting their ballots to bring a form of identification to the county clerk’s office within six days; and Senate Bill 486 bans anyone except voters from coming within 100 feet of a polling place, including volunteers who are distributing food and water to voters in long lines. The lawsuit claims that all four laws violate the Arkansas Constitution.’

Many of the restrictions that Republicans have put forward for the supposed sake of election integrity simply impede the process. Elsewhere in the country, GOP-backed election restrictions have gotten especially draconian — for instance, Georgia authorities have enacted new voter ID requirements for mail-in voting, a ban on mobile polling places (which were used around Atlanta last year), and more, while in Texas, authorities have outlawed the mailing of un-requested mail-in ballot applications to voters, in addition to the usage of 24-hour voting and drive-thru polling places. In Texas, all three of those set-ups were used last year in Harris County, which includes Houston and leans towards the Democrats — making Republican intentions to target Democrats troublingly obvious. It’s not about security.