Donald Trump’s false claims that ‘millions’ of votes were cast illegally has voting rights activists worried that the Trump administration may introduce nationwide voter suppression laws. Following news of recounts in three swing states, Trump tweeted that there was ‘serious voter fraud’ in several states.
Republican efforts to suppress the vote are nothing new. Restrictive voter ID laws have been introduced in several states that critics say unfairly target racial minorities. African-Americans in particular have found it more difficult to cast votes in certain states because they lack forms of photo ID required by state laws.
Though there is little evidence that voter suppression played a significant role in the presidential election, the demographic shifts in America’s population may give the GOP reasons to consider more restrictive voting laws. The Republican Party depends heavily on white votes. With whites set to become a minority by the 2040s, Republicans will either need to expand their voter base or find a way to minimize the impact from minority voters.
Civil rights activist Rev. Jesse Jackson has already expressed concerns about the effect of voter suppression. Though some courts have struck down voter ID laws on the grounds that they unfairly discriminate, if Trump appoints new justices to the US Supreme Court voting restrictions could become much harder to resist.
During the campaign, Trump spoke repeatedly about the ‘rigged’ system and the need to monitor the polls for people voting ’10 times’. As president-elect, he now seems determined to continue his unfounded claims about mass voter fraud. Trump’s recent storm of tweets may be just the first astroturfing for national voter ID laws.