As former President Donald Trump’s allies continue to cast doubt on his loss, new conflicts have arisen over who should hold elections – arguing that election officials and the courts have flouted state laws while easing voting rules to address the challenges posed by the epidemic. They represent the latest front in the ongoing political battle over voting rules.
As of this month, state legislatures in 43 states have introduced 253 bills to restrict voting access, according to an update from New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice.
Jonathan Dias, a legal adviser on voting rights at the Center for Non-Partisan Campaign Law, said plans to reduce the powers of the authorities were “consistent with the way it is going on across the country in Republican-dominated legislatures.” “They are trying to cover up the market in holding elections and it is very difficult to expand the right to vote.”
Supporters say their actions are needed to restore voter confidence in the organization – even though it has been plagued by Trump’s false allegations that widespread fraud contributed to his loss.
In Montana, where Trump won by double digits last November, a bill written by Republican State Representative Lev Jones would require legislative approval before the governor could “suspend any provisions of the law that recommend election procedures.”
He said the bill was his response to the decision of the then government. Steve Bullock of the Democrats, last year for delivering postal voting to districts.
“I do not believe there was any fraud in Montana,” Jones told CNN. “That being said, opinion in this world is real.”
“The process is more likely to be confident that it is valid and consistent,” he said.
New operations in war states
In Georgia, Republicans have funded bills in the state legislature to control voting after Biden’s victory, a move introduced this week that would remove the secretary of state’s voting powers on the five – member state election board.
Current Secretary of State Brad Rafensberger has faced Trump’s anger over his failure to follow unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about widespread election fraud.
A by-law in the Georgia legislature would give the state election board the right to impose temporary control over the administration of local elections and voter registration.
“The purpose here is to help when there is a problem and, after a thorough investigation, to go in and help the district,” said Georgia State Rep. Shaw Blackmon, a Republican, who helped finance both bills. Blackman said the bill, which would allow the Electoral Board to temporarily restrict local elections, would add “checks and balances” to the state’s voting process to boost confidence in the system.
Through a spokesman, Rafenzberger declined to comment on the actions. On Wednesday afternoon, he tweeted that his office was “reviewing” the bills now running through the Georgia Legislature.
“Once we see something that prioritizes security and access to elections, we will throw out support,” Rafenspreger wrote. “At the end of the day, many of these bills are reactionary to a three-month misinformation campaign that could be blocked.”
In Arizona, another wartime state that switched to Python last fall, a bill pending would “make it a bad thing for any state official to change any deadline, filing date, submission date or other dates related to the election.”
Supporters of the bill say it will be necessary after the voter registration deadline is extended in 2020. Two groups of lawyers had gone to court to move the deadline, arguing that the epidemic restrictions had led to a dramatic drop in the number of people registering to vote. After several legal battles, Katy Hobbs, the Democratic Secretary of State, struck a deal with lawyers on a record-breaking date – some Republicans claimed to have broken state law.
At a hearing this month, Republican State Rep. Jack Hoffman, who funded the move, argued that “moving that deadline with a will is not good policy.”
Considering the criminal penalties for officials who change the deadline, the legislature says: ” Only in the world can we trust elections, ” said Alex Klotta, CNN’s director of all voting in Arizona. Can’t believe it. ‘ “
Conflicts over control
Conflicts over controlling elections are often in the broader context of Republican state legislatures moving to control the power governors used during epidemics to limit the number of meetings and shutter schools and businesses to prevent the spread of the virus.
The National Assembly of National Assemblies (NCSL) says legislators in at least 40 states and two territories have introduced more than 200 bills or resolutions this year that restrict or impose governing powers or emergency spending decisions.
“There is always a tension between the branches of government, and when an emergency comes, those tensions come to the surface,” said Wendy Underhill, who redistributes NCSL programs overseeing elections.
In one of the biggest wars in Kentucky, Democrat Andy Bessier has gone to court to challenge the set of laws governing his emergency powers from the Republican-controlled legislature. An action reduces the ability of the governor and secretary of state to change electoral procedures.
Last year, as the epidemic escalated, Michael Adams, Republican Secretary of State for Republic of Peshawar and Kentucky, drafted a deal that would expand postal and early voting in the state.
Over the weekend, House minority whip Steve Scholes refused to acknowledge that the presidential election had not been rigged, insisting that the controversy still persisted because “a few states … did not follow their state laws” in managing the elections. “Once the voters are counted, yes, he is the legitimate president,” Louisiana Republican Pitan told ABC’s “This Week”
“But if you are going to ignore the fact that there were states that did not follow their own state legislative laws,” Scholis added. “That’s the problem at heart. Millions of people are not happy yet.”
The U.S. Constitution empowers state legislatures to set “times, places, and manner” for congressional elections, subject to congressional authority to make its own changes.
But election law expert Rick Hassan, who teaches at the University of California, Irwin, argues that some Republicans are pushing for a “muscle version” of a theory that state legislators have broad powers to oversee even the minute details of managing elections.
“If you can’t make a fraud argument because you can’t point to widespread fraud cases in the 2020 election, you need another argument,” Hassan said.
The obvious question is whether the so-called “independent state legislative principle” is upheld by the courts.