Republicans and their puppeteers in the right-wing media would like to talk about anything other than the 361 bills in 47 states designed to make it harder to vote after an election in which there was record turnout — and zero evidence of any significant fraud.

They would rather talk about Major League Baseball changing the venue for its All-Star Game or whether Coca-Cola should be speaking out against Republicans’ plans. They search for any aspect of Georgia’s voting rules that is more generous to voters than Colorado’s (where the All-Star Game is being relocated), even though Colorado’s voting environment is, on the whole, far more accessible. And they spend an inordinate amount of time pointing out that President Biden misstated one aspect of the Georgia law (he incorrectly said the law mandated that polling places close at 5 p.m.; he should correct the record).

But this is not about a single state, a single law or the MLB. It is about a coast-to-coast effort to tighten voting rules based on the Big Lie that the 2020 election was riven with fraud and “irregularities.” This lie is being used to justify a raft of restrictions that would fall disproportionately on minorities and the poor.

Consider the following hypothetical: Congress introduces a bill that simply says that each state’s voting rules in 2020 must stay in place, given that they helped Americans vote in record numbers in the middle of a pandemic — with no discernible fraud. This would include all the rules that Republican state legislatures put in place, including Florida’s, which the disgraced former president praised for being secure. In other words, Congress would be preventing Republicans from fixing what is not broken. Would there be 10 Republicans in the Senate to vote for such a measure?

There is plenty of Republican talk about overreach in H.R. 1 (e.g., public financing of campaigns), but not a single Republican has come forward with a narrower bill designed to make voting easier, or even to protect against the slew of restrictions proposed around the country. They are wedded to the Big Lie narrative, and seem determined to make it harder to vote for certain communities that tend to support Democrats. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who suggested last month that Democrats want “illegal aliens” and “child molesters” to vote, wants to scare people with a false narrative, not protect the right to vote.

Perhaps it is time to call Republicans’ bluff. Democrats should consider putting on the floor a simple two-part bill: 1) no fixing what is not broken (e.g., no rollback of access to the ballot); and 2) reactivating Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, as the Supreme Court in Shelby County v. Holder invited Congress to do if it saw fit. (The plethora of voting rights changes aimed at non-White voters is precisely what the pre-clearance provision in Section 5 was designed to prevent.) Let’s see if there are 10 Republicans willing to pass that. Sadly, I fear there is not even a handful.

The fight nationwide is not about Georgia, or whether limiting each county to a single drop box is justifiable. It is about a party determined to invalidate the last election and to suppress votes against them. One party believes in making it as easy as possible for everyone to vote despite hurdles such as physical disability, age, job requirements, no broadband Internet or lack of a driver’s license; the other party thinks disenfranchisement, often aimed at minorities, is a legitimate partisan weapon. Let’s focus on that and not get lost in the election weeds.

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