On Monday, former President Barack Obama said that action to protect voting is even more important in the wake of the 2020 election. The comment was made during a virtual fundraiser with the National Democratic Redistricting Committee with former Attorney General Eric Holder and House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi.
Obama believes that over the last several years, there have been strategies designed to reduce the impact of everyone having the right to vote, including gerrymandering and “straightforward efforts” by state legislatures to suppress and discourage voting.
During the 2020 election, in Georgia for example, thousands of voters waited hours just to cast their ballot during early voting due to a limited number of polls, understaffing, or computer glitches. Also in Pennsylvania, the state Supreme Court ruled that ballots mailed in without a secrecy envelope hiding the identity of the voter would be declared invalid. This decision was made right before the election, raising concern that naked ballots would be thrown away.
Obama claimed that former President Donald Trump had violated a “core tenant that we count the votes and then declare a winner,” adding that people saw him “fabricate and make up a whole bunch of hooey.”
“If we don’t stop these kinds of efforts now, what we are going to see is more and more contested elections, contested not in the sense of healthy competition but contested in terms of who wins, who loses,” he warned. “We are going to see a further delegitimizing of our democracy.”
The former president also noted how many Republicans sided with Trump and his unfounded claims.
“And rather than supporting the secretary of state of Georgia or the, you know, commission in, you know, Arizona that had done the counting and performed their duties properly, et cetera, what you saw was Republican elected officials all side with the President out of fear, I guess,” he observed. “Leav[ing] many of these folks who were Republicans themselves and were just doing their jobs hanging out to dry.”
According to Brennan Center For Justice at New York City, 14 states have already enacted more than 20 new laws restricting voting this year.