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Republicans Challenge Mail-in Voting Proliferation in 2024 Elections

2024 Elections: GOP’s Decisive Quest for Transparent Voting Protocols

The stage is set for a gripping showdown in the 2024 presidential election, mirroring the 2020 contest between Donald Trump and Joe Biden. The earlier encounter was decided by a slim margin of less than 45,000 voters that left many Republicans questioning the integrity of election proceedings.

The crux of the issue rested on the fact that election rules fall under state jurisdiction, leading to a great deal of variation. A number of states, predominantly governed by Democrats, responded to the Covid-19 crisis in 2020 by adjusting voting protocols. To Republicans, this raised alarming concerns about election integrity.

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There still exist opposing perspectives on the issue, with Democrats contending there was little to no evidence of interference in the 2020 election. Meanwhile, Republicans counter that there’s an inherent lack of enthusiasm by Democrats to probe these allegations, given the perceived benefits they accrued from the situation.

The onus to substantiate claims of any unfair practices rests on the affected party. Moreover, having appropriate standing is necessary to file a lawsuit. This has led to many cases being sidelined, including those where Republican advocates were unable to reverse the amended rules about voting in 2020.

These changes were perceived by some to give Democrats an edge, overperforming in certain areas. To illustrate, statistical data from FiveThirtyEight indicated a significant rise in mail-in ballot voting during the 2020 election compared to previous years.

In the 2020 election, the percentage of voters casting mail-in ballots far outweighed the figures from recent national elections. Based on preliminary results from the 2020 Survey on the Performance of American Elections, mail-in and absentee voting accounted for about 46% of the total vote, marking a 21% increase from 2016.

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Before the revolutionary 2020 election, both Republicans and Democrats showed similar tendencies toward mail-in voting. However, the 2020 election broke this tradition considerably as 59% of Democrats vs. 30% of Republicans reportedly opted for mail-in votes

These changes have affected voter tendencies, raising doubts regarding the integrity of the 2024 elections. A Public Affairs Council/Morning Consult survey in October 2023 found that just 37% believed the coming elections would be transparent and inclusive to all eligible voters.

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Interestingly, the confidence level in the election process displayed a party-specific divide. Fifty percent of Democrats expressed faith in the system, believing the elections to be honest and open. This sentiment contrasted with 35% of Republicans and a mere 24% of Independents sharing the same optimism.

Fast forward to February 2024, and a Bipartisan Policy Center Morning Consult poll reported that 69% of the populace expressed confidence their votes would be accurately reflected in the 2024 election outcome. However, confidence in an accurate national vote count differed, with only 50% of Republicans compared to 66% at the local level.

As a proactive measure, the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee announced the launch of a 100,000-strong election integrity program on April 19, 2024. This move is aimed at curbing what is perceived as Democrat measures to circumvent election rules and ensure a fair outcome.

To date, the RNC has got involved in 82 election integrity lawsuits across 25 states in this election cycle. Further actions include the establishment of an Election Integrity Hotline in every battleground state, and legal representatives placed at target processing centers for mail ballots, with a focus on crucial battleground states.

The alterations in voting rules have sparked extensive analysis. For instance, Michigan Democrats called for extending early voting by nine days, availing prepaid postage for mail ballots, and providing at least one drop box in every community. In contrast, North Carolina Republicans advocated for voter ID requirement and revised absentee ballot deadlines.

In Georgia, a new legislation to stop distributing food or water to voters in queue was passed by Republicans, in addition to restricting location options for ballot drop boxes, while extending early-voting times in most counties. Pennsylvania, however, took a different route; endorsing the condition that mail votes should reach by Election Day for being counted and requiring voters to appropriately date their ballot return envelope.

The landscape kept changing as the court decisions influenced the voting directions. In Wisconsin, the approach toward the use of drop boxes evolved with court shifts. State election board restructuring was proposed that could impact early voting sites, whereas, in Arizona, the Democratic Governor strongly opposed Republican efforts to curtain mail voting. The enactment of such rules remains uncertain, given the popularity of mail-voting in the state. Notably, in Nevada, emergency provisions initiated during the pandemic were institutionalized by Democratic leaders, lasting well into the upcoming elections.


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