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By Kira Lerner| Arizona Mirror
Republican state lawmakers across the country are ramping up their drive to enact voting and election-related laws in time for crucial 2022 midterm elections.
As federal legislation that would limit state-level voting restrictions appears stymied in Washington, Republicans in the states are moving forward with new proposals and revisiting old ones that Democrats and voting rights advocates say are designed to both suppress voters and subvert the election process.
“I expect we will see additional restrictive voting legislation in 2022,” said election expert Rick Hasen, co-director of the Fair Elections and Free Speech Center at the University of California, Irvine. “Trump is demanding it based on his false claims of a stolen 2020 election, and it plays to the Republican base that believes Trump’s false claims.”
In 2021, at least 19 states enacted 34 laws restricting access to voting, according to an analysis by the left-leaning Brennan Center for Justice. The analysis from early December found that before the 2022 session even started, state legislators were pre-filing bills to make it harder to cast a ballot and to allow “audits” of election results.
There are 88 voter restriction bills in nine states from the 2021 legislative session that will roll over to the 2022 session, according to the Brennan Center. Without federal legislation to block Republican lawmakers’ efforts, experts warn the United States is likely to see a similar “tidal wave” of restrictive voting laws this year.
Most of the states where restrictive laws are likely this year also passed or attempted to pass similarly restrictive laws last year.
“All indications are that the tidal wave of efforts to restrict and undermine the vote that we saw last year will continue through 2022,” said Sean Morales-Doyle, acting director of the voting rights and elections program at the Brennan Center. “We’re already seeing it, in bills to make it harder to vote and to enable partisans to sabotage elections.”
Here’s a look at states to watch, the voting restrictions that emerged last year, and what could be coming in 2022: