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Republicans on Capitol Hill aren’t bluntly saying the 2020 election was stolen. They are just saying that maybe he lacked “integrity” and that the people who think he was stolen are right.

At a hearing Tuesday on restrictive new election laws passed by state legislatures, Republican senators denounced a Democratic bill that would set minimum standards for access to ballots – and they championed a new law on ballot. the vote in Georgia inspired by former President Donald Trump’s lies about voter fraud.

Republicans have called on Jan Jones, the interim speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, to defend the law before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“We’re making voting easier, harder to cheat, and making sure every legal vote counts,” Jones, a Republican, said.

Republicans in state legislatures and in Congress have adopted “easier to vote, harder to cheat” as the main slogan on voting policies – a phrase that implies cheating has taken place, even though the Trump campaign could not substantiate any of his fraud allegations in the last election.

When the chairman of the committee, Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) Asked Jones if there had been electoral fraud in Georgia as Trump alleged, Jones did not say.

“I am here to discuss what is in Senate Bill 202,” she said, referring to the new state law.

“I’m trying to understand the logic behind the new election laws,” Durbin said, again asking why the state would change the law if the election was sound. Jones refused to explain the logic.

This logic is clear. Trump lied about the 2020 election results. He claimed there was massive voter fraud – especially in cities and suburbs with large black populations – when there was none. The former president lied in the run-up to election day and the day after the election. He first demanded that votes cast in predominantly black constituencies be overturned by the courts, and then he pressured elected Republicans to simply change election results. His lies ultimately led to a violent insurgency on the United States Capitol, an attempt to stop the peaceful transfer of power.

Photo by Bill Clark-Pool / Getty Images

Senator Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) Listens Jan Jones, interim speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives, speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. Committee hears testimony on voting rights in the United States

Trump’s lies failed to overturn the 2020 election, but many Republican-led states have responded by pushing forward and enacting laws to reduce access to the vote or make it more difficult for some communities to vote. .

Georgia’s new law expands access to early voting in rural communities, but it reduces access to early and postal voting in the densely populated towns and suburbs where the majority of black Georgians reside. It also adds new voter identification requirements for voting by mail, allows a single person to oppose an unlimited number of ballots, and allows the partisan legislature to bypass local election officials, including by voting them. removing and installing preferred replacements.

Georgia isn’t the only state where new restrictions follow Trump’s lies. In Montana, GOP Governor Greg Gianforte signed legislation ending same-day registration and removing student IDs from a list of acceptable IDs, clearly aimed at reducing access to voting to a group that votes more strongly for Democrats. Republicans in Florida, Michigan and Texas, among other states, are also advancing legislation to restrict voter access and hand election administration powers to partisan legislatures.

This all follows an election that passed with minimal fuss and a record turnout, despite the fall during a pandemic that only happened once in a century. The only problems that could justify these restrictive new laws were those fabricated by the former president.

It has become very clear and disturbing that this country has been brought to the brink of disaster by pampering and nurturing the very forces that nearly destroyed this country over a century ago.
Sherrilyn Ifill, NAACP Legal Defense Fund

The Republicans on the Committee did not want to talk about the origin of these laws or Trump’s lies. Instead, they focused on the admittedly provocative headline of the committee hearing: “Jim Crow 2021: The Latest Attack on Voting Rights.”

It wasn’t the laws restricting voter access that shocked Republicans, but rather the fact that Democrats would dare compare them to the race-based electoral restrictions of the Jim Crow era in states of the former Confederation. Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) said he was “disappointed … and frankly shocked” by the reference.

The hearing comes after weeks of Republican complaints against President Joe Biden calling Georgia’s election law worse than Jim Crow. Biden echoed criticisms leveled by black politicians in the state, including Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock, who called the law “Jim Crow in new clothes.”

“Let me admit, up front, that Jim Crow, at his worst, was more violent than the situation we are facing today,” Durbin said earlier in the hearing.

“The bottom line, and the question we are addressing in this hearing, is whether there is any conception or intention in the legislation that is being considered and enacted in many states, including the state of Georgia, to limit or restrict the right to vote of minority populations with the intention of influencing the outcome of the election, ”added Durbin. “I think it goes without saying.”

But Lee intended to assert Republican innocence on suffrage and race issues, asserting the historically correct fact that Republican politicians passed the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments and which Southern Democrats enacted. the Jim Crow Laws.

Durbin did not disagree with Lee, but added that the parties had each changed their positions on race, civil rights and voting rights over the course of the 20th century. Lee replied that “it is not fair” say that the Republican Party has abandoned its historic positions on civil and voting rights. (An example of the party’s realignment with race: former Republican Senator Trent Lott declaring in 1984 “that many fundamental principles in which Jefferson Davis believed are very important to people all over the country and that they apply to the Party. republican. “)

Expert witnesses for the Democrats said it was fair to view the new voting restrictions through a historical lens. Sherrilyn Ifill of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund drew a line from Civil War to voter fraud lies that resulted in a pro-Trump mob marauding on Capitol Hill in January.

“It has become very clear and disturbing that this country has been brought to the brink of disaster by pampering and nurturing the very forces that almost destroyed this country over a century ago,” said Ifill.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, the leading Republican on the committee, said in his opening speech that Jones, the Georgian lawmaker, would set the record straight on the new state law. “Not the headlines made for CNN on Jim Crow 2021, but the sensible, fair and common sense efforts they have made to increase confidence in their election,” Grassley said.

After the hearing, HuffPost asked Grassley what he thought of Jones’ refusal to say whether the 2020 election was tainted with fraud. “I have nothing to say about it,” he said.

Committee member Lindsey Graham (RS.C.) told HuffPost he didn’t catch Jones refusing to say the election was clean. When asked whether the Republican Party pressure for “electoral integrity” itself casts doubt on the last election, Graham would speak only for himself.

“I voted to certify the elections in Georgia,” he said. “I think there is real concern about verifying the signature, but I have accepted the certification.”


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