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One bill would prevent ballot-collection events any time before the final two weeks leading up to an election; that would have prevented Democracy in the Park, a September 2020 event organized by election officials in Dane County, the state’s Democratic stronghold, where 10,813 ballots were collected. One would prohibit election officials from filling in missing (but known) voter information on absentee ballots, which was used to complete more than 5,000 mail-in ballots from Dane and Milwaukee County. We know the total from those counties for a simple reason: The Trump campaign sued to get them disqualified, as it sued to get the Democracy in the Park ballots tossed.
Michigan. For a few days in November, Trump and other Republicans pressured members of the state Board of Canvassers to reject the certified vote, potentially sending the election into court. Aaron Van Langevelde, a GOP member of the board, voted to certify the election; two months later, the state GOP opted not to nominate him for a new term. Although Van Langevelde’s replacement praised his “integrity,” the conditions for a deadlock if one party doesn’t want to certify election results remain, and are not being altered by the various election bills the state’s GOP wants to get passed as ballot language if it can’t survive a gubernatorial veto. (Michigan’s unique ballot measure system allows a state legislature to pass ballot measure language into law without an election if enough voters have signed on to get the language onto the ballot.)
Some of these post-election changes have been specific and tailored to each state, and to the questions Trump and Republican voters raised after November, when they tried to prove that Democrats had stolen the election. Other changes come from the theory that Republican voters could have done more last year to stop the Democrats, such as Texas’s proposal to empower poll watchers — partisan volunteers with the power to challenge a voter’s validity. If today’s proposals had been in place last year, poll watchers could have videotaped voters they deemed suspicious, and local officials wouldn’t have had the ability to stop them. “We would not have been able to eject poll watchers for bad behavior,” said Harris County’s Hollins.
Florida, Texas, and the rest of the states re-fighting 2020 would also have prevented an election tactic that its proponents were proud of last year: philanthropic grants for local election officials. As the pandemic bit down, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg poured $350 million into the Center for Tech and Civic Life, which offered grants to election officials who said they were not ready to open the polls under lockdown conditions.