Democratic activists, politicians and staffers are highly concerned about their ability to turn out voters in 2022 given recent changes Republicans have made to election laws.
Republicans have introduced election laws in a number of states across the country since the 2020 election, many of which are primarily aimed at undoing pandemic-related provisions within election procedures. Laws in Georgia and Texas have drawn particular scrutiny for allegedly being tools for voter suppression.
Interviews with more than three dozen Democratic elected officials, party operatives and voting rights activists across the country reveal growing concern — bordering on alarm — about the potential impact in 2022 of the raft of new voting restrictions. https://t.co/eTwR8euIwq
— POLITICO (@politico) July 26, 2021
“If there isn’t a way for us to repeat what happened in November 2020, we’re f*cked,” CEO of the New Georgia Project Nsé Ufot told Politico. “We are doing what we do to make sure that not only our constituents, our base, the people, the communities that we organize with, get it. We’re trying to make sure that our elected officials get it as well.”
Democrats have taken a varying, state-by-state approach to combatting the Republican laws. In Georgia, the state Democratic Party is training hundreds of volunteers on how to acquire voter ID and hiring new staff members to conduct voter outreach and education. Some states are pursuing litigation as a primary strategy, while others are hoping for a divine intervention of sorts from national lawmakers or the courts, according to Politico.
Texas Democrats chose to flee to Washington, D.C., in an attempt to deny quorum to the Texas legislature as Republicans tried to pass their new election law. (RELATED: Here’s How The Establishment Media Are Distorting The New Texas Voter Bill)
“I don’t think the Democratic Party as a whole is prioritizing this issue and its potential damage in the way that they should,” lead mail strategist for former President Barack Obama’s two presidential campaigns Doug Herman told Politico. “We just went through an insurrection that was stoked by voter fraud lies, and the reaction to that from the Republican Party is to restrict the voting process so severely that only their voters can participate. And I don’t understand the lack of fierce resistance to that from Americans and Democrats.”
The Republican laws contain provisions that would both expand and restrict voting access in certain ways. Some pandemic-induced features of elections, such as drive-in voting, 24-hour voting or expanded use of mail-in ballots, are being scaled back or entirely eliminated. However, Georgia’s law expanded early voting hours, as does Texas’.
Democrats can’t agree on exactly which parts of the laws they’re most opposed to, Politico reported. Some activists are also growing frustrated that elected officials aren’t doing enough to counter the new Republican laws. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: GOP Reps Call On AG Garland To Drop Georgia Voting Lawsuit)
“Hope is quickly turning into frustration,” the co-founder of Georgia-based Black Voters Matter, Latosha Brown, told Politico. “Constantly, we are showing up to protect democracy. When in the hell are those who claim that they are committed to democracy going to show up to protect those that protect democracy?”
“I’m pretty well convinced that it’s going to hurt Democrats significantly in the long run,” co-founder and executive director of Demand Justice Brian Fallon told the outlet. “There’s definitely no combination of lawsuits or Biden remaining popular or voter registration that’s going to overcome that, so I think it’s pretty bleak.”
The evidence is mixed, at best, on whether higher voter turnout benefits either party electorally, and there’s little support for the claims that Republicans’ election changes will negatively impact turnout in a statistically significant way.