It has now been over two months since President Biden took office. While many Republicans begin to live with the recent election results, others are now turning their attention to rewriting election laws.
Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin have joined over 40 states in what some are calling a ‘coordinated attack’ on voting rights. Recent measures include bills aimed to limit ballot dropboxes, prevent mail-in voting and increase voter identification laws.
In Wisconsin, new claims attempt to revive a previously dismissed court case accusing private groups funded largely by Mark Zuckerberg with election tampering.
An investigation posted by right-wing media outlet Wisconsin Spotlight accuses Democrats and leaders of Wisconsin’s five largest cities — Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay, Kenosha and Racine — of accepting $6.3 million dollars in grants from a Zuckerberg backed organization called the Center for Tech and Civic Life (CTCL) in exchange for access to ballot boxes.
You can’t blame people for being suspicious of a billionaire like Mark Zuckerberg spending large amounts of money on an election. But in the five months since November, little to no legitimate evidence has been found of coordinated voter fraud on the grand scale suggested here.
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In fact, a statement from the Election Infrastructure Government Coordinating Council (GCC) called this past election was the “most secure in American history.”
Rather than hard evidence, what has instead been promoted is a series of fringe conspiracy theories like those from the Wisconsin Spotlight which fail to hold up in court.
Even those who worked with Trump and once peddled similar conspiracies are starting to distance themselves from these claims. Former Trump lawyer — Sidney Powell — is currently among those trying to clear their name.
In an attempt to dismiss a $1.3 billion dollar defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems, her attorneys claimed “no reasonable person would conclude that the statements were true statements of fact”, she was just expressing her “opinion” about a public “controversy.”
But not everyone is ready to move on. Rather than explore ways to expand voting rights, Republican legislators like Ron Johnson have been using their platforms to validate incoherent conspiracies in attempts to convince voters there is a serious problem.
After the recent election, Johnson began a cycle of using his platform to promote completely fabricated claims about the election and the Jan. 6 insurrection, then doubling down on his comments until he says something even more provoking.
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Politicians telling lies is one thing, but refusing to condemn and even going so far as to push conspiracy theories is dangerous — especially when they’re intentionally vague. The only thing these accusations of widespread fraud have in common is there’s no one to blame other than “them.”
“Them” or “They” serving as a placeholder for an invisible yet ubiquitous boogeyman who is the root of all corruption. Whether “they” refers to the Democratic Party, Antifa or Mark Zuckerberg and his fellow deep-state operatives, it does not matter, so long as blame can be placed somewhere.
Once you start saying “they” are at fault for something, you start blaming them for anything. For example, can’t find evidence on voter fraud, that’s because “they” are covering it up. The fact “they” are unverifiable makes them the perfect tool for undermining any conflicting information.
Why are so many lawmakers still relying on falsehoods despite the fact we saw just what this can lead to during the deadly insurrection at our Capitol?
The reason is Republicans across the country have noticed a vulnerability in our nation’s voting laws and the opportunity to take advantage of people with a lot of undirected frustration following the last election.
The current lapse in voting laws is in large part due to a 2013 Supreme Court vote on the John Lewis Voting Rights Act of 1965. This vote removed key parts of the Act which protected voters from racial discrimination and intimidation.
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Aware of this, Republicans across the country have been moving quickly to impose as many measures as possible to prevent minorities from voting.
Recent attacks from the Republican Party undermine the democratic process by suppressing votes and pedaling any fringe conspiracy put in front of them shows signs of an insecure party attempting to maintain power by any means necessary.
“The only way they can hold onto control is if they make it harder for people to vote so they can get an unfair and potentially unconstitutional competitive advantage,” State Rep. Athena Salman from Arizona said.
The most disturbing part is how little they are trying to hide this. These attempts to make it harder to vote disproportionally impact minorities which is not a byproduct but the intention.
When asked about making it easier to vote, Trump said, “You’d never have a Republican elected in this country again.”
Rather than combat election integrity by preventing recurring foreign influence in our elections, something has hard evidence — Republicans are using this period of high tensions to prevent people from voting because they know voter suppression and carefully drawn maps are the weapons of influence which have kept their party alive.
Jack H. Hansen ([email protected]) is a sophomore studying business, philosophy and sustainability.