- Apr 29, 2020
- United States
"Democrats have a clear choice. They can get rid of the filibuster to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the For the People Act to stop GOP voter suppression, or they can allow the GOP to undermine democracy for the next decade."
Since former President Donald Trump failed to reverse the outcome of the 2020 presidential election, Republicans in more than two dozen states have introduced over 100 bills to restrict voting access, an alarming development that voting rights advocates have pointed to as yet another reason for Democrats to abolish the filibuster, an anti-democratic tool currently allowing the GOP minority to block the enactment of a suite of popular pro-democracy reforms.
Mother Jones journalist Ari Berman on Thursday reported on the GOP's ongoing nationwide push to make voting more difficult—particularly for communities of color and other Democratic-leaning constituencies—and in some cases to empower state legislatures to overturn election results. He called state-level Republicans' efforts "a huge scandal that should be getting as much attention as Trump's plot to overturn the election."
Republicans across the country, Berman said, are "weaponizing Trump's lies" about fraud in an attempt to roll back voting rights after last year's historic turnout and expansion of mail-in ballots.
Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers, a Republican, is a sponsor of Senate Bill 228, which was introduced in the state senate last week. The bill proposes amending existing legislation that requires a sitting governor to appoint a replacement for a departing U.S. senator to remain in office until the next election cycle.
Under Senate Bill 228, the sitting governor would be required to pick a replacement for that departing U.S. senator from a list of three candidates provided by that senator's political party. The sitting governor would be required to pick an appointee within 21 days of receiving the list of names for consideration, the bill says.
McConnell, who has represented Kentucky in the U.S. Senate since the mid-1980s as a member of the Republican Party, is supportive of the bill, according to reports by WFPL-FM and The Courier-Journal.
"Leader McConnell has discussed the legislation with President Stivers and is fully supportive of the measure," McConnell spokesperson Robert Steurer said in a statement provided to local outlets.
Pennsylvania would become an extreme outlier in how it elects appellate judges.
A proposal moving through the GOP-led Pennsylvania legislature could soon make the state an extreme outlier in the country by allowing lawmakers to exert more control over the state Supreme Court and other appellate courts.
The measure, which could be before voters as soon as May, calls for abolishing statewide elections for appellate court judges and replacing them with races in partisan districts determined by lawmakers and redrawn every 10 years.
A 50-state review by Spotlight PA and Votebeat, as well as interviews with judicial and academic experts, found only two other states — Illinois and Louisiana — employ such a system, which has increased partisan campaign fights and given special interests and dark money groups more of a foothold to affect the outcome of races.
Experts said the change in Pennsylvania could risk the public’s confidence in judges because they wouldn’t answer to a statewide constituency, but rather smaller, localized districts that are more politically homogeneous. That, in turn, could affect how they rule, eroding the judiciary’s independence and making it appear more political.
“The underlying assumption [of this proposal] is that judicial rulings, decisions, and the conduct of the judiciary should reflect some kind of partisan or ideological majority,” said Kent Redfield, a political science professor at the University of Illinois Springfield. “It’s antithetical to how judges should rule.”
The proposal — championed by Rep. Russ Diamond (R., Lebanon), a far-right member of the state legislature — most closely resembles the system in Illinois. With its partisan districts, the state has seen millions of dollars in dark money pumped into contentious — even fraudulent — elections as special interests vie for control of the highest court.
“All of those create circumstances under which one can introduce bias or create a situation where you have the appearance of bias,” Redfield said. “That’s not good for the health of the democratic institutions.”
GOP has bill to reallocate Wisconsin’s electoral votes by congressional district - Wisconsin Examiner
Wisconsin Republicans introduce a bill to count Wisconsin's 10 electoral college votes by congressional district vote instead of popular vote.
If Wisconsin had picked its Electoral College delegates using a congressional district method, President Donald Trump would have received the majority of Wisconsin’s 10 votes in 2020. Six, to be precise.
And that is what a new bill authored by Rep. Gary Tauchen (R-Bonduel) would do. It would make Wisconsin a state where the winner of the popular vote does not get all — or even necessarily the most — Electoral College votes. Tauchen’s bill (LRB 0513/1) would distribute the presidential electors by assigning one vote for each of Wisconsin’s eight congressional districts, then giving the remaining two electors to the statewide winner of the popular vote.
That would exacerbate partisanship and give added incentive to gerrymander the map of Wisconsin’s congressional districts to favor one party over the other, says UW-Madison Prof. Barry Burden, founder and director of the Elections Research Center.
“Doing it by congressional district is actually a terrible idea, because what it will do is amp up the partisan efforts to draw those districts to favor one side or the other,” says Burden. “It’s already an ugly process, but it will be on steroids if those districts affect not only control of Congress but also control the presidency.”
Georgia Republicans Are Trying to Change the Rules for Fani Willis’s Prosecution of Donald Trump for Election Crimes
Georgia D.A. Fani Willis is investigating Donald Trump. Republicans are already trying to change the rules that apply to prosecutions of election crimes.
It’s been less than a week since Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis publicly began an investigation into Donald Trump‘s phone call to Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, and Georgia Republicans are already trying in earnest to change the rules that apply to prosecutions of election crimes.
Georgia state Republicans introduced a resolution Thursday that seeks to change the Georgia State Constitution to mandate the use of state-wide grand juries in prosecutions involving election crimes. The move would force prosecutors to draw more grand jurors from predominantly Republican rural areas of the state.
Per the bill’s text:
The change, if adopted, could create a significant hurdle for any case brought by Willis, who would normally bring the results of a criminal investigation before a Fulton County grand jury. As Georgia State University College of Law Professor Anthony Michael Kreis commented on Twitter, using state-wide grand juries instead of county-wide ones would likely dilute the representation of Black residents on the panel.(d) The Attorney General or his or her designee shall act as legal adviser to any state-wide grand jury. The Attorney General, in his or her discretion, may designate any member of his or her staff or any district attorney to provide legal advice, counsel, or assistance to a state-wide grand jury.
(e) The subject matter jurisdiction of state-wide grand juries shall extend to the investigation and indictment of persons or legal entities for any crime involving voting, elections, or a violation of the election laws of this state and all related crimes.
These are just some of the ways Republicans have taken to consolidating power by stripping the power away from our fellow citizens. The outrage should be tangible.