Bad News For Blacks And Other Minorities   —  (CNN)Former President Donald Trump’s campaign of lies about a stolen election just delivered a huge victory with a new Georgia law that could suppress the votes of many of the citizens who helped eject him from the White House.

Republican state lawmakers rushed through a broad law Thursday making it harder to vote that disproportionately targets Democratic and Black voters in a battleground vital to the 2020 election and future presidential and congressional contests.

The move confirms the Peach State as the epicenter of the fight for American democracy that raged through Trump's presidency and during the insurrection he incited against the US Capitol -- and now threatens to taint future elections as Republicans in multiple states pursue new laws to limit voting.

"What I'm worried about is how un-American this whole initiative is. It's sick. It's sick," President Joe Biden said at the first news conference of his presidency that afternoon. 

The Georgia law raises the question of whether election safeguards that prevented Trump's energetic efforts to rig the 2020 White House race after the fact in the state will stand firm in future elections amid false claims of electoral fraud by a president.

After leaving office, T-RUMP demanded that Republican state legislatures pass laws to ban mail-in voting and to prevent courts from weighing in on electoral disputes. 

Using his massive popularity in the GOP, the former President has made the acceptance of his false conspiracy theories about voter fraud in 2020 a litmus test for Republican candidates seeking his support in upcoming primary elections.

The Georgia bill is only one example of GOP efforts in multiple states -- including many crucial electoral battlegrounds -- to hold back a diverse demographic tide in cities that favor Democrats, which critics see as an attempt to cement minority rule in the United States.

Iowa has already passed a measure to limit absentee balloting and voting hours. Texas is taking steps to cut voting hours and absentee balloting in big Democratic cities like Houston. New voting laws are being pushed by Republicans in another swing state T-RUMP lost, Arizona.

Georgia Law Ignites New Debate Over Sweeping Federal Voting Rights Bill  —
GOP leaders justify the voter suppression measures by arguing that they are needed to crack down on fraud and to restore the public's faith that US elections are fair. But multiple courts and Trump's own Justice Department found there was no widespread electoral fraud in 2020. And voter mistrust was largely fueled by Trump's blatantly false claims that he had been cheated out of office in a corrupt election, which were incessantly broadcast by conservative media outlets.

Georgia's action threw a political grenade into the debate over a Washington campaign by many Democrats to abolish Senate supermajority rules that Republicans could use to block their sweeping election bill, known as the For the People Act. The measure would establish national standards and reverse restrictions like those that are now the law of Georgia. Republicans brand the Democratic bill as an unconstitutional power grab.

The drama in the Georgia Legislature unfolded as Biden condemned restrictive state legislation as a remnant of the Jim Crow era that institutionalized racism and hinted that he could ultimately back abolishing the Senate filibuster to get the Democrats' House-passed bill through the chamber. 

But Biden declined to reveal his strategy for getting the voting rights bill into law.

The new law in Georgia requires more stringent voter verification requirements for absentee ballots, allows state officials to take over election boards and limits ballot drop boxes that make it easier for people to vote. The law allows any Georgian to make unlimited challenges to voter registrations, and, incredibly, makes it a misdemeanor crime for anyone to offer food and water to voters stuck in long lines to cast ballots.

Black voters hampered by the restrictions of voting in urban areas have often found themselves lining up for hours to vote in inclement weather. The clear targeting of African American voters in Georgia and elsewhere recalls some of the ugliest racial episodes of America’s past, and is fueling claims of open Republican racism.

Governor Criticized By T-RUMP Signs New Law  —  The Georgia law was quickly signed by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who incurred the wrath of Trump last year for refusing to play along with his attempt to override Biden's victory by 12,000 votes in the state, which was confirmed by several audits.

Kemp claimed that the law “makes it easier to vote and harder to cheat.”  ( Latest Georgian Lying Bastard with a Record of flipping sides when it serves him) )

In a statement to CNN, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican who defied Trump's pleas in a telephone call to find votes to overturn Biden's victory, said he would still stand up for voter freedoms but did not criticize the law.

"In implementing this law, I will ensure that no eligible Georgia voter is hindered in exercising their right to vote, and I will continue to further secure our elections so that every Georgian can have confidence in the results of our elections," Raffensperger said. Earlier this week, Trump announced that he was backing Rep. Jody Hice in his effort to beat Raffensperger in a primary contest.

Kemp's swift signature on the law was another sign of the fierce pressure that Republican politicians who hope to have a political future face from Trump and his acolytes in their states. Kemp is up for reelection in 2022 and could face Democrat Stacey Abrams, a former state lawmaker and prominent voting rights advocate who played a crucial role in Biden's victory in Georgia.

"As the FBI continue to round up seditionists who spilled blood to defend a lie about our elections, Republican state leaders willfully undermine democracy by giving themselves authority to overturn results they do not like," Abrams said in a statement. "Now, more than ever, Americans must demand federal action to protect voting rights as we continue to fight against these blatantly unconstitutional efforts that are nothing less than Jim Crow 2.0."

The Georgia law, which critics fear could allow state officials to deny counties the right to certify their own election results, and other measures suppressing the vote are likely to face rigorous challenges in court. Indeed, by Thursday evening, a suit challenging the Georgia law had already been filed by three voting rights groups.

Damon Hewitt, acting president and executive director of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan organization, said the measure directly targeted voters of color who took part in record numbers in the 2020 election.

"This should be marked as Exhibit A in making the case that discriminatory voter suppression is alive and well, and makes clear why we need federal voting rights legislation to stop these laws in their tracks," Hewitt said. "We stand ready to take action and protect the fundamental right to vote through the courts."

The For the People Act awaiting action in the Senate would create automatic voter registration nationwide and restore portions of the Voting Rights Act that were gutted by the Supreme Court. It would also strengthen mail-in voting and permit early voting across the country, while taking steps to cut wait times at the polls.

Voting Rights Being Destroyed By GOP access Bills  —  Republicans at the state level have moved swiftly to either roll back some easy access to voting or put new obstacles in the way of voters following losses in the 2020 presidential and US Senate elections.  More than 250 bills to curb or complicate access to polls had been introduced in 43 state legislatures as of February 19, according to the Brennan Center for Justice, which is tracking the bills — and bills have since were all battleground states in 2020 and host US Senate races in 2022. Republican legislative majorities and GOP governors are moving to make it more difficult to vote in these states, with Georgia becoming the first of them to enact new restrictions this year.   More have been introduced in at least two more states, North Carolina and Wisconsin, according to CNN reporting

  • In Florida, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is pushing a proposal to cut down on the mailing of mail-in ballots to voters and cut access to ballot drop boxes.
  • In Arizona, one bill would repeal the state's permanent early voting list, by which voters can automatically be sent an absentee ballot. The state, where Republicans lost both Senate seats in recent years, but retain the state government, has the most suggested changes. The list is long, indeed -- see it here.
  • In Georgia, the GOP-led legislature sped a bill to Republican Gov. Brian Kemp on March 25. It imposes new voter identification requirements for absentee ballots, empowers state officials to take over local elections boards, limits the use of ballot drop boxes and makes it a crime to approach voters in line to give them food and water. 
  • In Texas, there are more than a dozen suggested bills and Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said they’re needed because Harris County, recently a Democratic stronghold, made changes at the local level to increase turnout during the pandemic.  “We must pass laws to prevent election officials from jeopardizing the election process," Abbott said, somehow arguing that more people voting jeopardizes the process. 
    Texas does not have a 2022 Senate race, but it will feature a race for governor in 2022. Republicans currently control all levers of the state government there. 
  • There are proposals to make it more difficult to vote in other key states — Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — featuring 2022 Senate races, but divided government in those places will make restrictions more difficult to enact.
  • There is no Senate race in Michigan and there is also divided government there. (See a breakdown of state government control here.)

What exactly are the curbs on voting rights and access we’re talking about?   

  • Many states are considering changing from signature verification to require voters to include a copy of their driver’s license or other paperwork with a mail-in ballot.
  • Others are considering proposals to remove a voter's registration if they don't vote in four consecutive years.

Could these changes alter the outcome of future elections, if passed?

  • Absolutely. In 2020, at the national level, President Joe Biden got many millions more votes than former President Donald Trump, and he decisively won the Electoral College. But he won multiple states by slim margins. Changes that marginally affect turnout in Georgia, Arizona plus any one other state could be decisive in 2024.

Why Are Reptilians Pushing Changes Now, Instead Of Before The 2020 Election? 

  • The pandemic hit —  States made last-minute changes to ease rules about how and when people could vote because of public health concerns. 
  • Turnout surge  Either because of those changes or because voters wanted to reject or protect T-RUMP (or both), turnout went through the roof, and Trump lost.
  • T-RUMP alleged voter fraud — Although there's no evidence that any widespread fraud occurred, his repeated allegations turned addressing the integrity of the voting system into the top GOP priority.
  • Republicans retained control of state governments  — Trump’s allies at the state level have moved quickly to address the voter fraud he alleged but did not occur. 

Why Not Just Have Everyone Vote At The Same Time And In The Same Way?

  • Election Day is the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. (It's been that way for a long time.) But the US is a country of 50 states and more than 330 million people of varying degrees of education and engagement. There's something to be said for flexibility. Many people work odd hours. They work multiple jobs. And the Constitution puts states in charge of their elections, although Congress can regulate them. 
  • The difficulty is making sure everyone has the same access to the polls while also maintaining the necessary amount of security. A complication is that when there are normal voting hours, it's often people in cramped urban areas that end up waiting for hours. Early voting and voting by mail are alternatives to remove that barrier.

Can't Everyone Over 18 In The Us Vote? How Can States Restrict Access?

  • It took a long time to get from white landowners voting in the first presidential election to the 24th Amendment, enacted in 1964, which says:   “The right of citizens of the United States to vote in any primary or other election for President or Vice President for electors for President or Vice President, or for Senator or Representative in Congress, shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State by reason of failure to pay any poll tax or other tax."
  • That did away with poll taxes and, paired with the Voting Rights Act, ended many of the Jim Crow-era tricks that kept many Black Americans from voting.
  • But not everyone over the age of 18 can vote — non-citizens and felons, in most places, although there are efforts to re-enfranchise felons. Notably, they can vote in Florida after voters there approved a ballot initiative in 2018.
  • States have the power to govern their own elections, but Congress has the power to place rules on them. And the courts often get involved.
  • Nearly every state requires some kind of voter registration and many require an ID to vote and there are many different versions of absentee voting and the hours during which people in different states can vote early or on Election Day.

What's The History Of Rules About Who Can Vote In Us Elections?

  • Voter registration is relatively unique to the US and has a long history of racism. It started in New England in the 1800s, was a key element of Jim Crow in the South, and then saw a huge uptick in the early 1900s as states tried to make it more difficult for immigrants and Jewish and Black Americans from voting.
  • What do other countries do?  
    • Rather than put up roadblocks to voting, some countries, such as Australia, require it. People who don’t vote face a small fine.  
    • Most countries in the world either automatically register voters or require voters to register, according to a Pew analysis. 
    • The government makes people pay taxes, why can’t it just register them to vote?
    • The US has been slowly moving toward easier and, in some states, automatic registration, but the rules still vary by state. In the 1990s, under President Bill Clinton, Congress approved a reform that tied voter registration to the DMV. Most now have some form of online registration. Many states allow same-day voter registration, but in others there are deadlines. North Dakota doesn’t have any voter registration at all.

Is There An Effort In Congress To Change Things At The National Level?

  • House Democrats have passed a sweeping bill that includes a number of voting reforms, including automatic national voter registration. Currently, 18 states and Washington, DC, have automatic registration. Expanding that requirement nationwide could enfranchise 50 million Americans, according to the Brennan Center.
  • The bill would do a lot more, including putting an end to partisan gerrymandering, by which parties draw congressional lines to protect their incumbents, mandating a two-week early voting period and more.
  • But it would require a supermajority -- 60 votes -- to overcome a promised GOP filibuster in the Senate. Democrats have suggested changing Senate rules specifically for this bill, but it’s not clear all Democrats would support the rule change.
  • Would universal vote by mail or universal voter registration automatically help Democrats?  Clearly, Democrats are trying to make it easier for people to vote and Republicans are generally trying to make it harder. That tells you a lot about the political calculus here. But it’s also true that Republicans did not lose every Senate race or any state legislatures in 2020 when turnout was through the roof. 
  • A 538 analysis suggests expanding access does not necessarily help one party or the other. But most of that comes from before Trump spewed election fraud fantasies and questioned vote by mail for the entire 2020 election, turning Republicans off to the practice -- though he himself requested an absentee ballot in Florida again this year.