More laws that expand access to the ballot box were adopted in the nation’s statehouses in 2021 than those that restrict it, even as establishment media handwringing over Republicans in state legislatures menacing democracy with an onslaught of “voter suppression” laws.
That pattern continues in 2022 as the 46 legislatures that convene this year—41 are in session right now—have more proposals identified as expansive than those defined as restrictive on tap.
Lawmakers in 17 states are now considering bills to broaden ballot access while counterparts in nine states are pondering restrictive measures, according to Voting Rights Lab, a left-leaning nonprofit that lobbies for voter rights at the state level. If adopted, most of the new laws would be in place for November’s midterm elections.
These determinations reflect definitions established by the left-leaning Brennan Center for Justice at New York University. In a December analysis, the institute said that last year, 440 bills “with provisions that restrict voting” were introduced in 49 states; 34 of the proposals were adopted in 19 states.
Meanwhile, more than 1,000 proposals with “expansive provisions” were introduced last year in 49 states, according to the Brennan Center, with at least 62 bills adopted in 25 states.
Republican lawmakers sponsoring election-related legislation in 2022 say they are frustrated over the proposals being labeled as restrictive by the Brennan Center and echoed by mainstream media. The partisan fear-mongering, they maintain, is obscuring goodwill reviews of data gleaned from post-2020 analyses that identified flaws in state election laws.
“‘Voter suppression’ is a really dangerous catch-all claim that is code for ‘A bill I don’t like,’” Nebraska Republican state Sen. Julie Slama told The Epoch Times. “I do believe that it is an awful narrative that will drive down turnout and confidence in elections” and is distracting lawmakers in many states from a sober review of state election laws.
By John Haughey