Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger drew fulsome media praise at the end of last year after revealing Donald Trump’s illegal attempts to meddle in Georgia’s 2020 election certification process. Former Obama adviser David Axelrod celebrated Raffensperger’s “courage,” highlighting him as an exception to the GOP’s moral decline. There was even a brief media boomlet about awarding Raffensperger the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
But Raffensperger is no hero today. Like other Republicans around the country, he’s focusing his energies on passing severe voter suppression proposals that undermine election integrity without the public visibility of an unhinged Trumpian call. In December, Raffensperger endorsed ending no-excuse absentee ballot requests in Georgia, arguing that it “opens the door to illegal voting.” In reality, the plan is aimed at making it harder for the over 1 million largely Democratic Georgians who cast absentee ballots to ever do so again.
He’s not alone. Republican legislatures across the country are engaged in a full-steam effort to emulate Georgia’s restrictive new proposals. Unlike Trump’s threats to the Georgia secretary of state or his supporters’ half-baked insurrection, Republican voter suppression efforts moving through dozens of state legislatures could actually succeed. We should make no distinction between the failed Capitol insurrection and the GOP doubling down on antidemocratic voter repression schemes, except the latter could be even more far-reaching.