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Snippet of The Daily: A National Campaign to Restrict Voting

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The Daily
Duration: 05:09
Georgia, a once reliably red state, has been turning more and more purple in recent years. In response, the Republican state legislature has passed a package of laws aimed at restricting voting. Today, we look at those measures and how Democrats are bracing for similar laws to be passed elsewhere.
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Georgia, a once reliably red state, has been turning more and more purple in recent years. In response, the Republican state legislature has passed a package of laws aimed at restricting voting. Today, we look at those measures and how Democrats are bracing for similar laws to be passed elsewhere.
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from The New York Times. I'm Michael borrow. This is the daily mhm today. In the weeks after the 2020 election, Georgia's Republican leaders were seen as defenders of election integrity, repeatedly rebuffing demands by President Trump to overturn Joe Biden's victory. Now, after adopting a sweeping election law, they've emerged as a threat to voting rights. My colleague Nick Carson et on what happened in between. It's Tuesday, March 30th. So, Nick, what is the story of how Georgia came to pass this sweeping new election law? Well, I think you have to look at these hearings that were held in the Georgia Legislature back in mid to late December as the president was going around looking for people to support his claims and falsehoods about the election and was constantly getting rebuffed by statewide election officials like the secretary of state, he found a lot of allies in the state Legislature. The state of Georgia is one of the Republican trifecta states where both houses of the state Legislature as well as the governorship is held by Republicans. And so what they did is they held these hearings where they invited people like Rudy Giuliani to testify to kind of prove his points, that there was lots of fraud, lots of issues with the election. And in those hearings, Giuliani in particular said some pretty inflammatory things. Casting about a bunch of conspiracy theories, falsehoods about the elections, falsehood about the company that provided the elections machines to Georgia. And it was in those meetings that I think you started to see a Legislature see an opportunity to seize on this moment. And this doubt that had been cast among the Republican base about the results of the election to possibly do something with the state's election laws. And why, exactly is that, given just how little fraud was ever documented in Georgia in the 2020 election? Why would these Republican lawmakers seize on this mostly false message from President Trump and people like Rudy Giuliani and start to run with it and try to come up with a plan to remedy it? Well, publicly, what the lawmakers were saying was that there was now a crisis of confidence within the electorate. There were a lot of people, particularly their supporters, who have bought into a lot of the lives and the falsehoods that were told about the 2020 election, some in which they might have helped spread by holding some of these hearings and that therefore something needed to be done. But I think you also need to look at the political reality that is on the ground in Georgia right now. It had been a reliably Republican state at the statewide level for years, and then in 2018, Stacey Abrams, the Democratic candidate for governor, only lost by about 50,000 votes, and it was a really close election. Fast forward to 2020. Biden carries the state as a presidential candidate for Democrats for the first time in decades. And then you have the two United States Senators, both Republican incumbents who are now facing runoff elections by two Democratic challengers and both of those elections. At this point in December, you are way too close to call their basically dead. Even so, you have a Republican Legislature that is looking at this state that had once been reliably red, just turning more and more purple. And so they view this political reality and they see maybe an opportunity to change some of these voting laws. So, Nick, it sounds like President Trump and those around him are giving voice in this moment and perhaps cover to pre existing electoral anxieties among Georgia Republican lawmakers, who are starting to fear that they're losing total control of power in Georgia. Exactly. The Republican legislators in Georgia know very well just how changing voting laws and restricting access to voting can impact their ability to hold onto power. It's a state that has a history of restrictive voting laws that date back to the reconstruction era, and even most recently after the Voting Rights Act was gutted by the Supreme Court in 2013 had enacted numerous different laws that severely restricted voting. You had purges of voter rolls for inactive voters. There was at one point 500,000. There were just knocked off in one single day in July of 2017. And there have been over 200 voting precincts that have been shuttered since 2012, majority of those impacting communities of color. So there is a history of changes to voting laws, creating new barriers to the ballot box in Georgia that have often been used by Republican legislators to kind of help hold on to power amid shifting away
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