US states have enacted 22 restrictive voting laws so far this year: report
© WikiMedia (Phil Roeder)
US states have enacted 22 restrictive voting laws so far this year: report

The Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law released a report on Friday stating that in 2021, 14 states have enacted 22 laws that restrict voting access, making it more difficult for Americans to vote. According to the report, “the United States is on track to far exceed its most recent period of significant voter suppression,” which was in 2011 when 14 states enacted 19 restrictive voting laws.

The restrictive voting laws have been enacted after former president Donald Trump’s election loss. Trump alleges that there was election fraud, although there is no evidence to support these allegations of fraud. Republican lawmakers assert that voting restrictions are necessary to prevent election fraud. Moreover, voting restrictions would provide confidence in election integrity.

As the COVID-19 pandemic caused an increase in mail-in voting, some of the new laws make it more difficult to vote by mail. Other laws limit early voting and drop boxes, reduce poll locations, and provide more power to partisan poll watchers. Arizona, Florida, Georgia and Texas are among the 14 states that have passed restrictive voting laws.

Democrats and civil rights activists express concern over the new laws, explaining that the laws aim to disenfranchise voters, specifically minority voters. The Brennan Center’s report asserted that “Americans’ access to the vote is in unprecedented peril.”

In addition to the 22 enacted laws, the Brennan Center’s report stated that 61 bills are advancing through 18 state legislatures. More than half of these bills would restrict mail-in voting. At least 15 moving bills would create new or heightened voter ID requirements. At least 14 moving bills include provisions that would expand voter purges. Overall, at least 389 restrictive bills have been introduced by lawmakers in 48 states during the 2021 legislative sessions. The report also informed that in 2021, 14 states have enacted 28 bills that expand voting access.