GOP Lawmakers in Key Battlegrounds to Tighten Vote-by-Mail Rules

Absentee ballot election workers stuff ballot applications at the Mecklenburg County Board
LOGAN CYRUS/AFP via Getty Images

GOP state lawmakers in three battleground states where President Joe Biden narrowly defeated former President Donald Trump in November are looking to tighten their states’ vote-by-mail rules.

The moves come after Trump spent the lead-up to the general election by going after vote-by-mail, which was implemented in many states to stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump repeatedly claimed that vote-by-mail would lead to “fraud” and would “destroy this country.”

There was a surge in early and mail-in voting during the 2020 election, with most votes cast by Democrats.

Now, with legislative sessions in the statehouses in session, GOP lawmakers are coming up with a flurry of laws aimed at restricting vote-by-mail.

In Georgia, Republican state Sen. Jason Anavitarte introduced SB 29 this week. The bill, if implemented, would require voters to provide a form of identification when requesting and dropping off their absentee ballot.

Biden won Georgia by less than 12,000 votes out of the nearly 5 million ballots cast.

In Arizona, lawmakers introduced several bills aimed at limiting or getting rid of vote-by-mail. SB 1503, introduced by state Sen. Kelly Townsend (R-Mesa), would make voters return their ballots received in the mail in person.

Her House colleague, state Rep. John Fillmore (R-Apache Junction), called for limiting vote-by-mail to people who cannot physically get to a polling place, according to the Arizona Republic.

But one bill that had passed the Senate Government Committee along party lines would take voters off the early voting list if they do not vote-by-mail in two consecutive election cycles, the Arizona Republic reported.

Biden won Arizona by slightly over 10,000 votes.

In Pennsylvania, Republican state Sen. Doug Mastriano introduced legislation to repeal the “no-excuse” absentee voting law passed in 2019, WHP reported.

Biden won Pennsylvania by just over 80,000 votes out of nearly 7 million ballots cast.


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