The New York Times has a writeup about a new legal defense network. This one’s for election workers. No, really. Our nation’s election workers, the people down at your local precincts making sure our democracy stays vaguely semi-functioning, are in dire enough danger from new Republican-backed laws and new Republican-provoked violence as to justify a new legal defense network solely dedicated to protecting them.
Given the way things have been going, we should have seen that one coming. Yes, of course poll workers are more likely now than in the past to face legal troubles. That’s been the whole point of the new Republican hoax-promotion campaign: It’s a vehicle for either intimidating the people who run our elections into abetting conservative election schemes—or for shoving them out of the way if they won’t.
The new committee, called the Election Official Legal Defense Network, was founded by Republican lawyer Benjamin Ginsberg and former Obama White House counsel Bob Bauer. It’s meant to pair volunteer legal services with any election official or volunteer who needs them, and the Times quotes the backing Center for Election Innovation and Research’s executive director David Becker as saying the first inquiries they have received were “harassment and intimidation”-related.
Which is, again, going to be par for the course during the current Republican battle to bend the nation toward one-party fascist rule. But it’s this paragraph of the Times piece that stood out as even more troubling:
In Iowa, a new law subjects election officials who fail to follow new voting rules to criminal prosecution. A new Texas law leaves election workers liable for prosecution if they are judged to knowingly obstruct the view of partisan poll monitors. In Florida, a new rule fines local election officials up to $25,000 if they leave ballot drop boxes unsupervised or allow voters to deposit ballots after official hours.
On one hand, you’ve got the Trump cronies and goons goading the Republican base into issuing violent threats against the people who dare count up the votes in your local elections. On the other, Republican lawmakers are crafting new laws meant to increase the legal jeopardy of would-be election volunteers in order to solve mostly fictional problems.
What do Republicans stand to gain from making it more dangerous or more legally perilous to volunteer at local election precincts? What happens if there are fewer Americans willing to do those jobs? Understaffed precincts, longer lines, or precincts unable to open at all would all be likely possibilities, and all of them would help the party’s goal of limiting the act of voting itself—as proven yet again now with convenient new evidence that Florida’s anti-vote-by-mail laws were specifically crafted as means of depressing turnout.
If the worst that happens from the Republican turn to fascism is that election volunteers need to get legal help to send potentially violent stalkers packing, that … is actually still very bad, to be honest, and if the Republican Party had a single remaining member who wasn’t a gutless suck-up to an autocratic bag of rotting clams they’d probably be feeling pretty ashamed of their party right now. But those people would all have left the party the moment it began pushing an insurrection-provoking hoax intended to undermine democracy to begin with, and wouldn’t have stuck around to see what the actual fallout might look like.
Ugh. Well, there you go. If you’re a lawyer who can provide a bit of free legal assistance to election workers being intimidated, threatened with violence, harassed by Republican officials, or under threat from new laws meant to allow Republican-minded “observers” and similar gadflies better chances to disrupt the voting and the counting, then sign on here. And if you’re a volunteer who might need such services, sigh, save the link.
From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.