democracy voter suppression
U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi D-California talks to reporters after passing a sweeping voting rights bill. / AP
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With both Georgia and Texas lawmakers proposing restrictive bills aimed at “voter integrity,” the rights of citizens seeking free and fair elections are being squeezed and shut down. Requiring identification to vote, challenges to voter registration, limits on absentee voting represent examples of modern-day racist voter suppression policies proposed by Republican legislators that threaten Democracy.

These efforts, of course, were spurred by infamous former White House occupant and twice-impeached Donald Trump. He lost the popular vote in two elections, claimed there were very fine people on both sides of a protest that resulted in the death of a BLM supporter, and told the Proud Boys to stand by. Mr. Trump also pushed the narrative that electoral votes from states that flipped democratic should not be counted. He made this point particularly when those states were comprised of cities with large Black populations. 

In fact, it took an insurrection at the Capitol for many legislators to awaken to the dangers of white supremacy. A riot in which a police officer was beaten and later died, and several civilians were shot. Now Trump’s sycophants who still remain in office want to continue doing his bidding. They appear eager to push racist policies that restrict voting rights into laws. While these laws are not specifically aimed at Black voters, they unfairly target Black voters more than any other population.

Texas and Georgia Republicans propose voter suppression laws

Texas’ Governor Greg Abbott recently lifted all personal restrictions for Texas citizens while the Coronavirus pandemic still lingers. Now, he’s pushing back against absentee ballots. In an announcement, the Republican Governor stated he is addressing mail-in voting in an effort to support “election integrity.” Governor Abbot is holding a planned press conference on Monday. 

Georgia is the home of democracy-supporters Stacey Abrams, LaTosha Brown, and Cliff Albright. The state faces a barrage of bills aimed at disenfranchising Black and Brown voters. One is requiring state identification at the polls. While this may seem benign, as only 8% of white people lack proper identification, the number of people of color who do not have a state-issued ID jumps to 25% nationwide. 

Meanwhile, dozens of states have pushed bills voter suppression bills, according to an analysis from the Brennan Center for Justice. On top of that, Wyoming, Nevada, Washington, and Missouri all have bills at the ready to require voter ID at the polls. Absentee voting restrictions are also a hot topic. Georgia’s Senate Bill 241 would require a “reason” for requesting a mail-in ballot. 

Noting that our right to free and fair elections are at risk, the U.S. House recently passed H.R.1, a sweeping voting rights bill. However, its chances of passing in the Senate remain unclear.

Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...

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