As Republicans continue their campaign to toughen voting laws in contested states, some within the party itself are concerned the restrictions will backfire and make it difficult for Republican voters to cast their ballots.

Republican-pushed restrictions in Georgia, Florida, Iowa, Texas and Arizona are directed at voting by mail, a medium used by the electorate of both parties but particularly popular with older voters.

The new rules may be described as pro-security or confident in elections, but ultimately they could be a roadblock for crucial segments of the Republican coalition, concerned Republicans say.

“The suppression tactics included in this initiative would hurt the Republican Party as much or more than its opposition,” said Texas Republican State Representative Lyle Larson in an opinion column this week. “One can only wonder: are the initiative’s authors trying to make it harder for Republican voters to vote?”

On Thursday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a law that toughens his electoral rules, while in Texas, Republican lawmakers debate new voting limits.

The crusade for new restrictions takes place even as former President Donald Trump won both states last year and even though Republican authorities declared the elections to have been transparent and effective. Critics of the measures say they are intended to make it difficult for Democratic voters to vote.

But part of the impact could be for both parties. The Texas proposals place restrictions on early voting and prohibit county authorities from sending ballot request forms to all registered voters.

Until last year, Republican voters were more likely than Democrats to vote by mail. In 2016, 40% of mail-in votes were cast by voters who participated in the Republican Party primaries, compared with 27% by participants in Democratic primaries.

In Arizona, thousands of Republican voters could automatically stop receiving ballots by mail under a proposal that would remove infrequent voters from the permanent register.

New Florida law requires voters to request their ballots to vote by mail every two years instead of every four. Critics say this measure could further reduce the influx of voters during elections that are not for president or for midterm elections.

Any changes to voting by mail in Florida will certainly affect older voters.

He spoke about the project that would benefit more than 11 million undocumented people in the US.

“Anything that makes it difficult for people to cast their vote will have huge repercussions on older adults,” said Florida Republican State Senator Jeff Brandes, who voted against the initiative.

He noted that many older adults live in the Pinellas County district that he represents. “I don’t think many of them understand the broad implications of this initiative. I don’t think many legislators understood it when it was in process. ”

Republicans in other states are pushing in the same way. In Ohio, another Republican-dominated state, a bill was introduced Thursday to restrict the installation of early voting mailboxes, eliminate an early voting day and tighten identity requirements for voters.

Overall, Republicans who agree say the changes will have minimal impact on voters and increase public confidence.

Here are the details of what is so far a legislative proposal.

“It will continue to be easy to vote after this initiative is enacted,” Iowa State Representative Bobby Kauffman told his colleagues when he urged them to support his proposal enacted in March. “This initiative protects the right of Iowans to vote, and increases the certainty and security to do so.”

Republican lawmakers have focused on mail-in voting rules this year after a notable shift in voting patterns in the November election, which resulted in Democrats casting more mail-in votes in a handful of states. crucial.

That came after a year in which Republican voters repeatedly heard from Trump that voting by mail was unsafe and riddled with fraud, although he did not present evidence. The pandemic also encouraged the Democratic electorate to vote by mail to avoid crowds at voting centers.

It remains to be seen if this trend continues as pandemic restrictions ease and people resume their pre-pandemic voting habits. Before, especially in places like Florida, that translated into an increase in the number of Republicans voting by mail.

“When you restrict access by reducing opportunities for voters, you are suppressing the vote for all voters,” said Adrian Fontes, a former Democratic elections director in Maricopa County, Arizona. “Many of the restrictions proposed by Republicans are the product of their ignorance of the voting habits of their own constituents.”

In Iowa, 76% of voters voted in November, one of the highest rates in the nation, and Republicans overwhelmingly won multiple races. Trump easily won the state although a close contest was expected; Republican Joni Ernst was reelected to the federal Senate, and Republicans added another two seats in the federal House of Representatives without major problems or complaints of fraud.

And yet state lawmakers approved several changes to election laws, including a new deadline for votes by mail that could increase the number of rejected ballots if they arrive late. Previously, mail-in ballots were counted in Iowa as long as they were postmarked the day before the election and were received by noon the following Monday.

Had the new election day deadline been in effect last November, it would have resulted in the elimination of 689 ballots from registered Republican voters, 649 from Democrats and 616 from no affiliation, according to a review of state data.

Biden’s announcement was greeted with sharp falls in the shares of the pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and BioNTech, as well as Moderna and Novavax on the Wall Street stock market.

That, combined with the new period of just 20 days for clerks to send ballots, means rural dwellers who prefer to vote by mail will have less time to receive their ballots, fill them out and send them. In 2020, this period spanned 29 days, and in 2016 it was 40 days.

All of this will no doubt affect rural areas of the state, where the postal service is generally slower.

“Smaller rural counties have a larger population of older adults who typically vote early for weather or health reasons. Why are we making it difficult for them to vote? ”Republican Rebecca Bissell, Adams County Elections Commissioner, asked lawmakers in February.

In Florida, Republicans have long held the edge in vote-by-mail. In 2016, 940,000 more Republicans voted by mail. But last November, Democrats outnumbered Republicans 680,000 amid a record total of 4.8 million votes cast by mail. Trump ended up winning the state by about 3 percentage points.

DeSantis, signing the bill during a live broadcast of “Fox & Friends,” described the initiative as “the strongest measure for the integrity of elections in the country” and stated that stricter restrictions are needed on mailboxes. where the ballots are deposited in order to protect the security of the votes.

Voting rights groups say Republicans have the motivation and privileges of their own constituents to overcome any obstacles they may face, leaving poor and minority voters the hardest hit by these restrictions.

Mac Stipanovich, a former Republican operative, said there is a risk that the new electoral rules in Florida could end up having unintended consequences.

“There is also the possibility that by giving the impression that you are intentionally trying to stop poor non-white people from voting, you will incite them and cause exactly the reaction you did not want,” Stipanovich said.

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