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Analysis: Republicans still pushing false fraud claims to restrict voting

January 12, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 24.6%. 3 min read.

TOPSHOT - Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as they push barricades to storm the US Capitol in Washington D.C on January 6, 2021. - Demonstrators breeched security and entered the Capitol as Congress debated the a 2020 presidential election Electoral Vote Certification. (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP) (Photo by ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP via Getty Images)

Even after President Donald Trump's disproven allegations of voter fraud fueled last week's deadly assault on the US Capitol, Republicans across an array of swing states are still touting his baseless allegations to advance measures that would make it tougher to vote.

While a majority of House Republicans voted to reject the results, an overwhelming majority of Senate Republicans as well as all Democrats in both chambers voted to accept them -- and in the process more Republicans than at any point since Election Day acknowledged that Trump and his team had not provided evidence to validate their claims of massive fraud.

Yet none of that has prevented Republicans across key swing states from offering measures that would create new obstacles to voting on the grounds of fighting fraud or restoring "faith" in the election system.

In a parallel move, Republican Sen. Rick Scott of Florida plans to shortly reintroduce legislation that would mandate national voter-ID laws, require all absentee ballots to be requested at least 21 days before Election Day and bar states from accepting mail-in ballots received after that date.

In the state legislative session that convened Monday, the state Senate Republican majority pledged to repeal the state's law allowing voters to request absentee ballots for any reason, to impose new photo-identification requirements on any absentee voting that remains and to eliminate drop boxes for returning such ballots.

The Republican speaker of the state House has expressed reluctance to revoke no-excuse absentee balloting, but Georgia's GOP secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, who drew national attention for resisting Trump's demands to subvert the election, has endorsed the repeal.

Other state legislative Republicans, hesitant about completely repealing no-excuse absentee balloting, want to ban drop boxes, bar voters from signing up to automatically receive absentee ballots during each election and impose tighter signature-verification requirements.

Texas is already one of the states that make it toughest to register or vote (it allows absentee voting for only a limited number of causes), but Republican legislators there are looking at adding new hurdles, including a ban on local governments mailing out absentee ballot requests, as some Democratic-leaning large counties tried to do last year.

Specific proposals to roll back absentee balloting haven't yet surfaced in Michigan, but appear likely in the upcoming session after the GOP-controlled state House and Senate each held extensive hearings in December that allowed Trump allies to air wild claims of fraud.

In the 2013 Shelby County decision, five Republican-appointed Supreme Court justices outvoted four Democratic-appointed justices to effectively repeal the federal government's authority under the Voting Rights Act to require that states with a history of discrimination receive preclearance for changes in election laws.

Such resistance could emerge: Efforts to protect the vote against Trump's calls to overthrow the results drew intense public pushback in Michigan, Georgia and other states, and the expanded mail balloting and other measures taken to ensure access during the pandemic proved extremely popular with voters.

In the previous Congress, House Democrats passed both a new Voting Rights Act restoring the federal government's preclearance authority, and a sweeping election bill known as HR 1, which, among other things, requires states to permit online and same-day voter registration and provide at least 15 days of in-person early voting.

But ironically, a new push in Republican states to restrict voting access --even after Trump's fraud claims were both disproven and implicated in last week's unprecedented violence -- could increase pressure on Senate Democrats to act, even if that means confronting the filibuster.

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