Democratic state legislators form voting rights council amid GOP push for restrictions

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Democratic state legislators from across the country are forming a voting rights council as the party searches for ways to fight back against a wave of GOP-led states codifying restrictions to the ballot box. 

The council, which is being convened under the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC), will “convene legislators to strategize about fighting GOP voter suppression — legislatively or judicially — and access national resources in the fight to preserve Americans’ political freedoms.”

“Republicans’ embrace of voter suppression is an existential threat to the future of our democracy,” said DLCC President Jessica Post. “As we’ve seen before, Republicans are so terrified of being held accountable by the voters that they’ll stop at nothing to strengthen their grip on power. Our country was founded on the principle that Americans should have a say in how they’re governed, and state Democrats are ready to stand up and fight for the right to vote.”

Nevada Assembly Speaker Jason Frierson and Michigan Senate Democratic Leader Jim Ananich will serve as co-chairs on the council. Members include North Carolina Senate Democratic Leader Dan Blue, Georgia House Democratic Leader James Beverly and Arizona House Democratic Leader Reginald Bolding, among others. 

The council’s creation comes as Democrats flounder in minorities in state legislatures across the country while Republicans with governing majorities advance voting restrictions. 

Republicans have introduced hundreds of bills that would include an array of restrictions to voting, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, including limiting automatic voter registration, imposing new voter ID requirements, curtailing the use of ballot drop-off boxes and more.

Georgia first sparked the trend earlier this year when Gov. Brian Kemp (R) singed into law legislation that would limit ballot drop-off boxes, impose shorter periods in which state residents can apply for mail-in ballots and mandate new photo ID requirements for absentee voting.

Legislation including similar restrictions is being mulled in dozens of other states, including Texas and Arizona.

Republicans have said that such measures are needed to ensure voters’ faith in election integrity, while Democrats have panned the bills as GOP efforts to restrict voting access after Republicans lost control of the White House and Senate. 

No widespread fraud was found in the 2020 elections.

However, Democrats have been unable to muster up vociferous opposition to the bills in some states where Republicans hold the governor’s mansion and the state legislature, leaving the private sector to take up the mantle. 

Several companies have already criticized the Texas legislation, while the MLB moved its All Star Game out of Atlanta following Kemp’s signature on the state’s voting restrictions.

Tags Absentee ballot Brian Kemp democratic legislative campaign committee Postal voting voter rights Voter suppression voting restrictions

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