Suppression Session

You know those stories about volunteer firefighters who start blazes so they can be the heroes who put them out? That’s what the current legislative efforts to “reform” our election laws feel like to me. Following the lead of Donald Trump, the one-term president who lost the 2020 election to Democrat Joe Biden, way too many Republicans are claiming fraud and cheating with zero evidence to back those allegations up. Those who claim the election was stolen lost their cases in the courts across the country, including Arizona. So instead they invent narratives about Sharpies and truckloads of secret ballots and Italian vote-switching satellites and blah blah blah.

It’s honestly disturbing to see how many of our fellow citizens believe in the lies peddled by pillow salesmen, horned loons and other cheapjack hustlers. And it’s even more disturbing that these falsehoods are being used to justify dozens and dozens of bills here in Arizona that would make it harder for people to cast ballots. GOP lawmakers want to do away with everything from early voting—used by more than eight out of every 10 voters in Arizona—to tabulation machines that count the votes. (And that bit of legislation, sponsored by wackadoodle state Sen. Wendy Rogers, also calls for all ballots to be tallied within 24 hours—as if such a thing was even remotely possible.)

This week’s cover package digs into the voter-suppression efforts at the Capitol. Gloria Gomez, the UA School of Journalism Don Bolles fellow, looks at Rogers’ nutty legislation, while contributor Jake Dean surveys the absurdity of some of the bills that are being proposed. At the end of the day, GOP lawmakers are trying to make it harder to vote because they fear losing power because—let’s face it—their assaults on public education, abortion rights and voting procedures put them out of step with the majority of Arizonans, as does their pathetic supplication to Trump. And while most of the bills aren’t going anywhere, they may well succeed with some of them—and even if they don’t, they have definitely succeeded in sowing distrust with democracy itself. It’s the modern GOP way: If they can’t control an aspect of government, they will burn it all down. There’s plenty more in the book, but I’ve run out of space, so you’re gonna have to find out all about the old-fashioned way: By reading through our pages. Enjoy!

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