Republican officials in Pennsylvania and Georgia are responding to Democratic victories in 2020 with new efforts to make voting more difficult, and they’re being cheered on by the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, who called it “some of the best news” of the year so far in his “Washington Watch” newsletter Friday.
Voting by mail has been embraced and carried out successfully by blue states like Oregon and red states like Utah. But after massive voter turnout in 2020 doomed Trump’s reelection efforts, some Republicans and right-wing activists have pinned their hopes for future victories on restricting mail-in ballots.
So-called “no-excuse” mail-in voting was adopted in Pennsylvania in 2019 as part of a bipartisan compromise on election reform and was passed with overwhelming Republican support. (“No excuse” simply means that a voter does not have to list a reason why they can’t get to the polls in person in order to vote by mail.) But that was before Trump lost the state due to progressive organizers’ success at mobilizing a massive turnout, especially among voters in predominantly Black Democratic strongholds.
Perkins is delighted that “Republicans from the Keystone State are vowing to completely overhaul the mail-in ballot system that may have wrongly handed Joe Biden the presidency.” Perkins’s language indicates that he plans to continue perpetuating the big lie that Trump won the election and had it stolen from him.
And Perkins seems to hope that will give cover to Republican efforts to restrict voting. Perkins quoted a memo from two state senators who claimed, “By removing the provisions of law that allow for no-excuse mail-in ballots, we can regain some trust in our elections’ integrity.” Perkins continued:
For tens of millions of voters still frustrated by November’s result, this move by Republican leaders should come as a huge shot in the arm. There’s hope on the horizon. Despite all the ways the Left is trying to frustrate and silence conservatives, they still have the spine to stand up and fight for election integrity. We may not be able to change the outcome from 2020, but we can at least change how the system is safeguarded moving forward. And that ought to be the rallying cry in every statehouse across this great country.
Perkins even had positive words for Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who was reviled by many Trump supporters after he refused Trump’s demands that he manipulate the vote count to allow Trump to claim victory in the state. But, Perkins wrote, Raffesnperger is now “calling for an end to no-excuse mail-in voting.”
Perkins ended his article with a call to arms:
We have two years until the next nationwide election. Every Republican in every state legislature should be demanding an audit of the processes, voter rolls, mail-in provisions, and any other irregularities that contributed to the disaster we witnessed in 2020. If a state like Pennsylvania has the guts to stand up to the liberal establishment and demand change, every state should. Contact your state leaders and ask them to restore faith in the democratic process by introducing legislation to end the universal mail-in ballot.