In the United States, voter suppression is even higher on the Republican agenda

What most non-Americans do not appreciate is that, in the United States, entitlement to vote and the mechanisms for voting are matters for each of the 50 individual states with therefore substantial variation across the country and a constant tussle to change the rules to favour the political party in state control.

After an election filled with misinformation and lies about fraud, Republicans have doubled down with a surge of bills to further restrict voting access in recent months, according to a new analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice.

The 2021 legislative sessions have begun in all but six states, and state lawmakers have already introduced hundreds of bills aimed at election procedures and voter access – vastly exceeding the number of voting bills introduced by this time last year.

In a backlash to historic voter turnout in the 2020 general election, and grounded in a rash of baseless and racist allegations of voter fraud and election irregularities, legislators have introduced three times the number of bills to restrict voting access as compared to this time last year. Twenty-eight states have introduced, prefiled, or carried over 106 restrictive bills this year (as compared to 35 such bills in fifteen states in February 2020).

Of course, other state lawmakers are seizing on an energised electorate and persistent interest in democracy reform. To date, thirty-five states have introduced, prefiled, or carried over 406 bills to expand voting access (dwarfing the 188 expansive bills that were filed in twenty-nine states as of February 2020). Notably 93 such bills were introduced in New York and New Jersey.

With unprecedented numbers of voters casting their ballots by mail in 2020, legislators across the country have shown particular interest in absentee voting reform, with more than a quarter of voting and election bills addressing absentee voting procedures. Only seven of the forty-one states that have introduced election bills have not proposed policies to alter absentee voting procedures in some way.


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