How Are Republicans F*cking Voters Today? Holy Jesus, Katie!
Let's check in with a couple of our poster children for Why Democracy Is Screwed, and see how the project of enhancing "election integrity" is going! The main goal of "election integrity" in Republican-governed states is to make sure Republicans win, and, barring that, to make sure not too many people get to vote at all, on the theory, stated by the great rightwing activist Paul Weyrich, that Republicans' influence in elections always improves when fewer people vote.
Everything's Bigger In Texas Except Voter Participation
Had he not died in 2008, Weyrich would certainly be pleased with the outstanding results of Texas's new restrictions on absentee ballots. Mail-in voting in Texas is already restricted to folks who are 65 or older, or are sick or disabled, or who will be unable to vote in person on Election Day and during early voting, or who are set to give birth within three weeks of Election Day. But to eliminate nonexistent fraud in mail-in voting, Texas's 2021 voter suppression law, SB 1, included new "Voter ID" requirements for those requesting or submitting absentee ballots. It's really easy: All voters need to do is include either their driver's license number (or a state ID card number if they don't drive), or the last four digits of their Social Security number. That doesn't sound too hard!
But there's just one catch, and it's the best there is! For those ballots to count, the voter ID number on the ballot envelope has to match whatever form of ID the voter used when they registered to vote, possibly decades ago. If you don't recall which it was, or if you fail to notice the box for the number, which for security purposes isn't visible once the envelope is sealed, then your ballot doesn't count. You have a week to "cure" it, but that can be time-consuming in itself.
That has already led to thousands of otherwise-eligible voters being disenfranchised, just during the primary balloting, as Talking Points Memo reports:
The rejection rates are staggering. In booming Collin County, for example, nearly 14% of mail-in votes were ultimately rejected, the election administrator there told TPM.
In Harris County, Texas’ largest and home to Houston, a whopping 6,888 ballots were ultimately rejected “as a direct result of Senate Bill 1,” according to a statement from the county to TPM — nearly 19% of mail-in ballots. By comparison only, 135 of the 48,473 votes cast in the 2018 primary were rejected, the statement said — three tenths of a percent.
“That is apocalyptic. It calls into question whether this is even a free and fair election,” said James Slattery, senior staff attorney at the Texas Civil Rights Project’s voting rights program. “The sheer, catastrophically high rate of rejections has been very bad.”
Even after the six-day period to "cure" rejected ballots, about half of the ballots were never accepted. But that's probably just because people didn't love America to jump through all the hoops and fix errors that wouldn't have barred them from voting in previous years — that, or maybe every single one of those thousands of would-be voters was a criminal vote frauder, does TPM even think of that?
Collin County Elections Administrator Bruce Sherbet attributed virtually all the rejected ballots in his county to SB 1, noting that prior to this year, rejected mail-in ballots were in "the single digits."
Sherbet said that nearly all of the rejections stemmed from missing ID numbers on the original voter file, ballot application or ballot itself. In some cases, older voters who’d aged out of driving tried to vote with their new state ID number, which didn’t match the old driver’s license number on their registration.
See, and we bet hardly any of those voters — many of whom were Republican, as "roughly 1,600 more of them voted by mail in Collin County" — knew they were voter frauding. Bet they've learned better than to try to vote legally in Texas anymore!
Georgia County Finally Cleanses Elections Office Of People Who Know Anything
The Washington Post brings us this detailed profile of how Georgia's 2021 election law has allowed partisan takeovers of local elections offices (paywall-free link), through the eyes of Vanessa Waddell, the interim elections supervisor for Floyd County, a mostly-Republican county that's part of Marjorie Taylor Greene's congressional district. The county has long had a Republican majority, but its county seat, Rome, is a bit less red than the surrounding areas. Floyd County was the only part of Greene's district that didn't vote for her in 2020, although in the same election, the county went to Donald Trump with 70 percent of the vote.
Despite that overwhelming result for the Great Man, Republicans in the Georgia Legislature targeted Floyd County's nonpartisan elections board for replacement with a board that would have a clearly Republican majority. That's been happening all over the state, as we've mentioned previously, to make sure counties run their elections more efficiently and cleanly by being under Republican control. Floyd County was in the crosshairs because in 2020, an error in updating a memory card in a county machine led to 2,600 votes not being tallied at first, although the error was quickly corrected. But Trump tweeted about the mistake, insinuating the fix was in (in the county he won with 70 percent of the vote), and the election supervisor was fired, leaving Waddell to be appointed as interim director so she could get constant threats, including one nice message informing her that "We’ll make the Boston bombings look like child’s play at the poll sites in this county. … You’ve been warned. We will end you all."
Oh, and even worse, in the January 5, 2001, Senate runoff election, both of the Republicans won Floyd County, but the Democrats, Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, won statewide, which clearly proves some sort of fraud must have been at work, since Ms. Waddell and her staff tallied the vote and said it was accurate, even though she is clearly a Black woman, so how could she even be fair to the Republicans? As the Post points out, Waddell's staff
had to field roughly 200 voter-eligibility challenges — none of which turned out to be valid — part of more than 364,000 filed across the state by an organization seeking to disqualify voters. There were harassing phone calls to the staff. The low point was the email Waddell received referring to the Boston bombings.
“This country was founded on righteous war, and if this is what is required of us to defend our very democracy, we will step forward,” it had continued. “… ANYONE at these poll sites is worthy of our wrath. Detonations will occur at every polling site set up in this county.”
Since then, her job has included endless public records requests asking for every conceivable scrap of information about Floyd County's elections in 2020 and 2021, which wingnuts are absolutely certain should have shown far higher GOP margins of victory. That includes bogus accusations that Ms. Waddell didn't really graduate high school or college, and one dude's accusation that Waddell herself had personally committed over 150 election law violations in the Senate runoff alone.
A man said that he was “disgusted” by her handling of the election. A woman complained that she had been “staring” at her during meetings. “I began to be concerned about her intent,” the woman told the commissioners. “I asked two individuals to keep an eye on the situation.”
Yes, she saw Goody Waddell with the Devil, in the closet making babies.
Three Concerned Citizens attempted to break into the elections office so they could personally inspect the voting machines, because that's how America is these days.
Ultimately, the three-person nonpartisan, volunteer elections board was replaced, by a new, five-person board as specified by the Lege, with two Democrats and three Republicans — two of whom explicitly support Trump's Big Lie.
Waddell and all the elections office workers had to reapply for their jobs. She interviewed, but although she'd been working on elections for the county since 1994, the new board chose a different elections supervisor: a white guy from another county who had served as a city manager, but who had no experience at all with election administration. Ms. Waddell went back to her regular job in the elections office, although there are rumors that the new board will eventually gut the staff and bring in people more to its liking.
That's just one red county in one very red state. Yay, Democracy!
Yr Wonkette is funded entirely by reader donations. If you can, please give $5 or $10 a month so we can help you track how terrified you should find all this.
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.