GOP legislators are pushing for adjustments to the electoral regulation in Georgia, Democrats name adjustments repression

The guard

The threat to US voting rights has increased – what’s different at this moment?

There has been more awareness of voter suppression in recent years, but there has been no attempt to fake it in the past few months, Stacey Abrams says on December 15, 2020 in Atlanta, Georgia “, she said. Photo: Alyssa Pointer / ATLANTA JOURNAL CONSTITUTION / EPA Sign up for the Guardian’s Fight to Vote newsletter. Happy Thursday, since I joined the Guardian in 2019 to focus on the right to vote, the issue has exploded and taken center stage in American politics. After focusing on these threats in the context of the 2020 race, this week we launched the next phase of covering these threats that have only grown since November. Yesterday we published a story explaining why American democracy is facing a uniquely dangerous moment. This story describes what I believe are the most pressing threats: aggressive measures to restrict suffrage in state legislatures, a supreme court not interested in defending suffrage, and extreme party-political wandering due to take place later this year. These will be the pillars of Guardian US’s coverage for the next year. For this piece I asked a lot of people the same question: What is the specific difference between this moment and what we have seen in the past? In recent years there has been an increased awareness of voter suppression, but something has changed in the past few months. I put this question to Stacey Abrams, the former Georgia gubernatorial candidate who helped make voter suppression a national talk. She said there has been a “slow boil” of voter repression over the past 15 years that is difficult to see if not followed closely. What happens now, she said, is different. “What is so remarkable and disturbing about this moment is that they are not hiding. There is no attempt to pretend that the intent is not to curtail the voices, ”she said. (You can read our full conversation here). I also spoke with LaTosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter who has organized voters in the South for decades, about what it is like to see such aggressive restrictions after an election that saw record turnouts. She pointed out that America has a long history of suppressing black voters when they increase their political participation. “We’re in that hamster wheel doing the work to get us to vote. People exercise their vote, especially black voters, and then they are punished for exercising that vote, ”she told me. As alarming as things are now, they could get a lot worse. Later this year, lawmakers across the country will begin the process of redesigning constituencies, something that constitutional mandates will have to provide once every 10 years. While both parties have manipulated this process for political gain, it has gotten out of control in recent years. Advances in technology and sophisticated data allow lawmakers to carefully subdivide districts so that they can virtually guarantee re-election. A decade ago, Republicans used this process to their utmost advantage and are well positioned to come back in control this year. They will have even fewer guard rails preventing them from maximizing their partisan advantage when drawing districts – the Supreme Court said in 2019 that there is nothing federal courts can do to stop the process. Legislators in places with a history of electoral discrimination no longer need to have their cards checked for racial discrimination before they go into effect. “For the past decade, Republicans have tried to grab black voters in counties in the south and claim that they are because of the [Voting Rights Act]. Now there is an open route for [Republicans] to say, “Well, we’re bringing black voters into districts because they’re Democrats.” And the Supreme Court said that’s okay, ”Michael Li, a redistricting expert at the Brennan Center, told me. The Democrats have gone to great lengths to address these issues in a comprehensive voting rights bill under scrutiny in Washington. The move would require independent commissions to draw districts and would require early voting and same-day auto-registration, among other things. The Senate held its first hearing on the bill on Wednesday, and Republicans are digging hard on their heels. Passing the bill will likely depend on whether or not Democrats can get rid of the filibuster, a procedural rule that requires 60 votes to move the legislation forward. Also worth seeing The USA once again slipped into a global ranking of political freedoms and put Panama, Romania, Croatia and Mongolia on an equal footing. In the past decade, the US has fallen 11 points from 94 to 83 on the 100-point scale with the Freedom House, a Democratic watchdog that rates political freedoms. “Dropping 11 points is unusual, especially for an established democracy, as they tend to be more stable in our results,” said Sarah Repucci, vice president of research and analysis at Freedom House. “Americans should see it as a wake-up call.”