We continue to hear media (and Democrats!) frame the Georgia voter suppression bill in a manner that plays into Republican hands. The number one focus of attention has been the prohibition of water and food for people in line to vote, with changes in absentee voting and other restrictions also highlighted. These are important elements of the Georgia law that certainly suppress voting by making it more difficult and onerous, and should be eliminated.
But, as we've said before, even if you fix all of the voter suppression elements, the Republicans have a fail-safe provision allowing them to overturn the results of an election (just as the former guy pressured the Georgia Secretary of State, among others, to do). It's the element most missing in discussions of the bill -- a "somewhat overlooked provision," to say the least:
Thanks to a somewhat overlooked provision in Georgia’s new restrictive voting law and similar measures being pushed in more than a half-dozen other GOP-controlled legislatures, the skids are becoming better greased for Trump-style election tampering in the future. These attempts to subvert the will of voters must be stopped. [snip]
The law doesn’t just change who picks the chair. Now, the majority of the board’s members will be legislative appointees, and the board gains ominous new power: the ability to remove and replace election officials administering the vote at the level where the real elections work happens — the county level. [snip]
“Republicans are brazenly trying to seize local and state election authority in an unprecedented power grab,” says voting rights leader Stacey Abrams, former Democratic leader in the Georgia State House. The new law, she says, is “intended to alter election outcomes and remove state and county election officials who refuse to put party above the people … Had their grand plan been law in 2020, the numerous attempts by state legislatures to overturn the will of the voters would have succeeded.”
To repeat, lest anyone think this isn't a critical part of Republican election strategy, similar measures to strip power from local officials and overturn elections are underway or under consideration in seven other states (including swing states like Arizona and North Carolina). Expect the list to grow.
Republicans in state legislatures across the country are trying to achieve what they can't at the ballot box: "rigging" and "stealing" national and state elections whose outcomes they don't like. This is not only an existential threat to the only pro- democracy major party we have, but to our survival as a democratic republic. We need to make sure the For the People Act (H.R. 1/ S.1) passes, regardless of Republican obstruction. We also need to fight these anti- democracy bills as they arise in every state legislature, and marshal every legal and political resource and ally we can to defeat these fascists now, because otherwise we won't get a second chance.