Like coronavirus, “Faux Election Integrity Fever” (hereafter “FEIF 2021”) moves quickly across state lines and attacks Republicans with a vengeance. In this case the evidence indicates that Georgia’s sudden post-election awakening to the realities of demographic change and resistance to racism (see https://bit.ly/3njQqbC and https://bit.ly/3aGt0rQ) has morphed into a collection of proposed voter suppression legislation in Texas and Florida.
The odd thing is that Trump won 2020 Texas handily and the state’s two Republican senators, Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, are among Trump’s most devoted sycophants. Cruz in particular is an avid member of the Sedition Caucus that voted to overturn the 2020 election and hand it to Donald Trump as, in effect, Dictator of the United States. So what is going on with the Texas variant to FEIF 2021?
Trump also won Florida — by more than 370,000 votes, split largeyn,ly by urban (Biden) and non-urban (Trump) preferences. Florida also sports two Trump shills in Senators Rubio and Rick Scott.
Disclosure: I am relying on published reports regarding the content of the legislation that, based on past experience, are highly reliable sources for such information. Texas GOP Targets Access for City Voters [print headline 4/25/21] https://nyti.ms/3gls1vc and Florida Legislature OKs Bill That Limits Voting By Mail, Ballot Drop Boxes, https://n.pr/2RgSnte
The NY Times online report regarding Texas notes:
Republicans Target Voter Access in Texas Cities, but Not Rural Areas
In Houston, election officials found creative ways to help a struggling and diverse work force vote in a pandemic. Record turnout resulted. Now the G.O.P. is targeting those very measures.
The NPR report indicates many of the Florida provisions are similar to those recently adopted in Georgia.
Defenders of these bills argue that they include some provisions that make voting easier and more secure. The problem is that there are other provisions that either make voting harder or create the danger that Republicans, motivated as they have shown regarding the 2020 election to overturn important election losses, will use the tools contained in the legislation to simply override the voters’ choices in the future. This is not fantasy.
Given that (1) there is no credible evidence of voter fraud in any of the states where Trump challenges were mounted, (2) these states all had highly detailed vote regulatory laws in place before the new legislation, (3) these are states where 2020 turnout set records, creating (4) reasonable doubts that the Republican-controlled legislatures’ real goal is to enable even great turnout in the future. No, the most reasonable inference is that the huge turnouts in 2020 that resulted in Trump’s defeat have led not to sudden enthusiasm to increase Democratic opportunities going forward but have inspired renewed efforts to suppress Democratic voting in future elections.
These areas of focus are more than a little curious, considering certain other facts about Texas and Florida that one might think would be the real subjects of interest by the governing bodies of those states.
For example, Texas ranks 36th nationally in per-student education spending. While some conflicts exist about the exact amounts spent, https://bit.ly/2S8gyuz, the real losers in the squabbling over the state’s stinginess are the students. As for the mothers of those students,
While maternal mortality is decreasing in most countries, maternal death rates in the U.S. have been increasing and Texas is recognized as having the highest maternal death rate in the country. Texas’ own study on maternal deaths indicates that Texas’ rates have nearly doubled in recent years.
U.S. News https://bit.ly/3noOXRc ranks Texas in these categories among the states:
Health Care – No. 31
Education – No.34
Opportunity – No. 39
Economic Opportunity – No. 40
Equality – No. 45
Crime & Corrections – 37
Natural Environment — 40
Population without Health Insurance
Texas 24.5 %
National Average 12.9 %
And that’s despite having the nation’s 9th largest economy and net inbound population growth, due, it is reported, to little regulation, low taxes and low labor costs.
The Florida story is similar. Despite its famously aged population, Florida ranks:
Health Care 25
Crime & Corrections 26
Florida ranks 3rd in Education, driven, however, by the large higher education establishments. It’s only 16th in PreK-12.
You would think that with those standings, the governing parties would be focused on more than just voter suppression but apparently not.
Much of the Republican hullabaloo about voting has no factual or logical foundation. Putting aside the absence of meaningful evidence of voter fraud (all this legislation is directed at a non-existent problem), if you can file taxes online, then why not voting online? Maybe we need to reconsider leaving all this to the states. Maybe, just maybe, the federal government could do a better job of securing voting systems under a well-crafted legislative plan. Surely there is a way to do this safely. And, if not, then why not establish through federal legislation a uniform system of manual voting that affects everyone the same way across the country?
Beyond actual voting, why is there a concern that sending out absentee ballot applications, or real ballots, to everyone is a problem, given that voting is highly regulated with detailed checking and matching of ballots to registrations before votes are counted? Why are drive-through voting sites a problem? In many places you can get a COVID vaccination at a drive-through. And millions routinely do bank transactions at drive-through windows. What is the problem, other than the fact that these practices make it easier for more people to vote?