Attempts to restrict the franchise are normatively bad, regardless of their effects. Coverage should reflect that.
This is excellent -- I read Cohn and thought, "but he doesn't get it."
Why do I think that? Because I spent the latter part of November 2020 and December 2020 calling Georgia voters for the runoff. I probably had genuine conversations with about 200 of them. So what I learned is anecdata -- but it's not nothing.
Almost all were Warnock/Ossoff supporters: whoever pulled the list got the right demographic set. And, as time went on, quite a few of them had already voted early. We talked to them as much as they were willing to engage anyway, because our object was to get them to scour their family circles and friends for others who might need a nudge to vote -- to enlist them.
And so, whenever they were willing, we talked with them about the means they had used to vote. (This alsoo helped us know if they were just brushing us off by saying they had voted ...) I definitely learned that those drop boxes that were open 24/7 mattered a lot. These mostly older, Black voters didn't trust the post office. Many wanted to put their absentee vote in the box. And they didn't live lives which made them able to do it during business hours.
The ban on water in lines is bad -- and will inspire some visually delightful civil disobedience. Great! But some of the other restrictions will present actual obstacles.
And the whole thrust of the GOP legislation is a moral insult to a democratic society.
I fundamentally believe we should be making it easier for people to vote, not harder to vote. It does not matter whether it has a small chance of succeeding. If everyone can't agree that we should be making it easier for people to vote, are we truly the "greatest democracy in the world"?
A few points.
1. Republicans have been successful on framing the voting rights/access debate.
I was surprised when I read the Checks and Balance newsletter last week and saw people are against expanding voting access. The numbers on Voter ID laws and voting by mail are depressing. I wonder what people think of early voting.
2. Congress won't pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. I find it extremely distasteful that a southern Democratic Senator (Joe Manchin) refuses to get rid of the filibuster and the bill is DOA in the Senate. Manchin wants a compromise bill with Republican support (that will never happen because Republicans will not act in good faith).
3. I'm seeing some takes from conservatives that the John Lewis Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional because it infringes on states' rights.
Article 1, Section 4 of the Constitution states:
"The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators."
According to the Constitution, Congress should set federal election laws, not the states.
4. This is setting the stage for Republican state legislatures to attempt to overturn Electoral College state result in key states where Democrats win.
5. Ultimately democracy is becoming a partisan issue, where one party is willing to behave according to previous norms and one party values winning and power above all else. Hillary Clinton did not try to overturn the 2016 election that she lost. Donald Trump tried to overturn the results of the 2020 election.
I'm quite pessimistic on the future of democracy and voting rights.