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New York Times

Why Kentucky has become the only red state to expand voting rights

Jennifer Decker has a solid conservative qualification. As the first Republican in Kentucky to serve as Senator Rand Paul, she represents a county that voted nearly 30 percent of Donald Trump last year. But, partly supported by Trump’s falsehood about the 2020 elections, Decker’s first when many of her Republican counterparts across the country are competing to pass strict new restrictions on voting. The number of major bills has skyrocketed. It was intended to make it easier for people to vote in the state. Signing up for the morning newsletter from the New York Times Kentucky on Wednesday to test the country’s democratic institutions and increase voting rights after a tough presidential election that increased access to voting as an animation issue Became the only state in the country with a Republican-controlled parliament for both parties. At the signing ceremony on Wednesday, Democratic Governor Andy Beshear welcomed the bill as a bipartisan effort to counter the promotion of other Republican parliaments to create barriers to voting. “When many of the countries enacted more restrictive legislation, Kentucky legislators and Kentucky leaders could come together to support democracy and increase the opportunities for people to vote.” Said Bescher. Republicans in Kentucky have diverged their voting rights for a variety of reasons, from political to logistic. For one thing, they could sell more easily. By clearing out new rules that allow elections to be safe during a coronavirus pandemic, Kentucky Republicans have won numbers easily for both Senators Mitch McConnell and Trump in the state. I had one of the best cycles of the year. And the expansion of voting access in Kentucky was a low standard to clear. Before 2020, the state had some of the strictest voting laws in the country, with less than a day of early voting. There were also strict restrictions on absentee ballots. Promotions in Kentucky and other states, including Democratic-controlled Virginia, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, and Massachusetts, reflect the strange consequences of a pandemic. Ballot box. “Thanks to COVID we did it a little differently, and I just thought some of it might help us move forward,” Decker said in an interview. “And electoral reform must not be partisan. The majority of the partisan can change at any time.” Republicans and Democrats in Kentucky likewise overwhelmingly support, celebrate, and celebrate the bill. He announced it as a welcome bipartisan achievement. However, electoral advocates have become more modest, with a relatively limited scope of the bill, a combination of measures such as the introduction of an early voting period, and foretelling under the banner of election security. Point out the new restrictions that have been made. They warn that the proposal represents a modest improvement in the state, which has long been hostile to election rights. This is a fact that even conservatives admit. “Kentucky probably had the most restrictive law in the country on voting up to this point,” said Republican Secretary of State Michael Adams, who was the driving force behind the bill. “And that’s what we’re trying to change.” In fact, even with the new expansion of voting access, Kentucky’s voting rules have recently reviewed the electoral system and added new restrictions to voting in Georgia. It remains relatively stricter than the state voting rules. For example, even under the new Georgia law, the state has an absentee ballot with no excuses and a much faster voting period than Kentucky. Kentucky law requires three days of early voting in the state. Introduce a voting center that allows for more face-to-face voting options. Create an online portal for registering and requesting votes. Allows voters to fix absentee ballot issues. This is a process called healing. Voting experts note that three-day early voting is still short compared to other states that offer the process, and the law does not provide for absentee voting without excuses. .. It also includes restrictions such as the practice of one person collecting and dropping ballots from multiple voters, and prohibiting the collection of ballots. Almost all of the country’s current efforts to increase access to voting are being deployed in states with Democratic-led legislatures, providing greater access to voting than Kentucky law. Connecticut is trying to permanently vote for absentee ballots without excuses after this method worked well in last year’s elections. Delaware is working on a constitutional amendment that adds an absentee ballot without excuses. Hawaii is moving towards the introduction of automatic voter registration. Massachusetts is also calling for many changes, including the addition of same-day voter registration and an extension of early voting. “The 2020 elections will help give them the confidence that they can act quickly to increase access and don’t have to go slowly,” said Sylvia Albert, director of the voting group Common Cause, in these states. Said about. She said Kentucky did not fall into the realm of expansion because the new Kentucky law has fewer options than the 2020 emergency order. In further curbing voting like in other states, “she said. “But as an election, voter access bill, it hasn’t been successful.” Kentucky’s compromise (expanding voting access while enacting some more restrictive policies in the name of election security That) can serve as a model for other Republican-controlled states, but limits that are likely to be momentary in a year of GOP-led voting promotion. Indeed, it was the unique situation and unlikely coalition of Kentucky that led to the first step of the generation to expand voting access. With the success of free, fair and secure elections undertaken in a number of temporary policies during the pandemic, Adams has begun a loyal mission to investigate county election managers for new rules. He expected complaints, but instead found strong support for some measures, especially the days of early voting. So Adams went to Congressional Republican leadership to measure his interest in adopting some policies. Kentucky GOP leaders saw the state turn blue for the first time in a generation after the 2020 election, when the Republican won a seat in the state legislature and McConnell easily won. Made a very different political calculation. .. They were open, they said, but they weren’t always keen on rocking things. “At first it was hard to find a sponsor because no one wanted to be a sponsor,” Adams said. Please enter the pole. A Kentucky senator, who is scheduled to be reelected next year and has repeatedly made false statements about the 2020 elections, contacted Adams with his own concerns about Kentucky’s election law. However, he soon came up with the idea of ​​a compromise effort and expanded some access points while limiting other access points. And he had the idea of ​​a sponsor. Decker was interested in reviewing the elections after the high turnout last year. “I was a Republican for a lifetime and chaired the Republican Party in my county for a long time. I didn’t think the turnout was good,” Decker said. The bill soon began to gain momentum in Congress. And Democrats who have carefully looked at the effort will join soon. “We’ve seen the bill come up this year. We have to be aware of some of Kentucky’s political realities,” said Morgan McGarvey, a Democratic minority leader in the state legislature. It was. “This bill doesn’t do everything I want in the Electoral Reform Act, but it’s definitely a step in the right direction.” Democrats in the Legislature have been in Kentucky for years. We have been working hard to expand our voting. This was both the submission of large, transformative bills that could not be passed, and the reduction of efforts such as simply keeping votes open until 8 pm (Kentucky). Currently closed). Vote at 6 pm on election day. This is the earliest closing time in the country, along with Indiana. The party has been consistently rejected by the state legislature, which has been governed by the Republican Party since 1999. “Kentucky,” said McGarvey. “Every Kentucky citizen has more choices about when and how to vote than before this law. So that’s what we’ve been fighting for years and I’m I’m not going to slow it down. “Republicans have quickly praised the bill. Paul said in a statement that he was “proud” of the effort and guaranteed that “our elections were accurate and accessible.” The Honest Election Project, a conservative group that participated in legal efforts to roll back voting access, said the bill found a “balance” in “the need for both access and security.” Joshua Douglas, a professor of election law at the University of Kentucky, a member of a small team of county election officials and other experts, consulted Adams about his first efforts, said: .. “But it has a lot of things I like and a lot of things I don’t like,” he added. This article was originally published in The New York Times. © 2021 The New York Times Company

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