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Republicans Now Fear Voter Suppression Could Also Hurt Them

Most voter suppression tactics tend to hit certain groups or demographics harder than others. Republicans are notorious for attacking voting rights in ways that hurt poor people and minority groups hardest. However, it could be coming back to bite them.

[Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]

North Carolina’s voter suppression legislation in 2016 (which closely resembled voter suppression measures introduced over and over in state after state) drew a criticism from the judge who struck it down that may echo for as long as these laws continue to be proposed: “The new provisions target African Americans with almost surgical precision…”

PBS reports that the judge went on to say that the proposed regulations “constitute inapt remedies for the problems assertedly justifying them and, in fact, impose cures for problems that did not exist.”

In 2020, much of the focus of voter suppression turned to stopping mail-in voting. Even as Republicans contacted their own voters to assure that mailed ballots were secure, leadership fought to limit access, and publicly declared that absentee voting was rife with fraud.

Now, according to Washington Post, Republicans in Florida are afraid they’ve hurt themselves by limiting access to mailed ballots.

In fact, in recent years, mailed ballots have approached 35% of the Republican vote in the state, and WaPo highlights the GOP’s reliance on the practice:

“Virtually every narrow Republican victor of the past generation — and there have been many, including two of the state’s current top officeholders, Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Rick Scott — owes their victory, at least in part, to mail voting.”

However, new voter legislation passed by the Republican legislature Thursday would starkly limit absentee voting, and Republican operatives say they’re concerned that new measures — not only reducing mail-in voting, but cutting ballot drop boxes and, like Georgia’s new legislation, making it illegal to provide water to voters waiting in long lines — could hurt their own voter base, and damage them in elections.



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