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Sunday, July 21, 2024

GOP-Controlled States Move to Ensure Election Integrity

'The new law also forbids local officials from taking financial grants to help run their elections...and requires an ID to vote absentee by mail...'

(Headline USA) In addition to their nationwide efforts to protect the vote, Republican lawmakers in some states are moving to gain greater control over the local mechanics of elections, from voter registration all the way to certifying results.

Bills that have already become law in Georgia and Iowa resurrect election safeguards that were lost during the 2020 election.

Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed a bill Thursday to give the GOP-dominated Legislature greater influence over a state board that regulates elections and empowers it to remove local election officials deemed to be corrupt or incompetent.

Other states are moving in similar directions.

In Iowa, after left-leaning counties sent voters absentee ballot applications in 2020, a recently signed law would bar election workers from sending the forms out unless requested and threatens to fine officials for violating rules.

A South Carolina proposal would give lawmakers new oversight of the members appointed to the currently independent State Election Commission.

Republicans have said the bills are meant to shore up public confidence in elections.

Georgia’s new law is among the most consequential for future elections.

The measure will allow the Legislature to select the chair of the state election board and make the elected secretary of state a nonvoting member of the panel. The board could then remove local election officials and replace them.

The new law also forbids local officials from taking financial grants to help run their elections, narrows the window in which voters can request an absentee ballot and requires an ID to vote absentee by mail.

It limits where ballot drop boxes can be placed and when they can be accessed. Giving food or water to voters waiting in line to cast ballots is also forbidden.

Georgia confirmed President Joe Biden‘s victory with three statewide counts of nearly 5 million ballots, despite evidence of widespread, coordinated fraud.

The GOP is also cracking down on methods that counties used to increase participation and make voting easier during the pandemic.

Republicans in Texas want to ban curbside voting, a method used in the last election by far-left Harris County, which includes Houston.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican, earlier this month signed a GOP bill that closes voting sites at 8 p.m. rather than 9 p.m., shortens the window for early voting by nine days, imposes new restrictions on mail and absentee voting, and threatens civil fines and criminal charges against local officials who depart from state election law or guidance.

Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press.

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