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In the six and a half years since Shelby County v. Holder gutted the Voting Rights Act, attacks on the ballot have flourished. More than 1000 polling stations in the South have closed, use-it-or-lose-it laws have purged voter rolls, and more states have enacted restrictive voter ID laws. Most of the time, Republicans—the party that tends to benefit when voter turnout is depressed among the poor, racial minorities, and young people—say that they’re trying to guard against the mythical threat of voter fraud. But according to the Associated Press, in a discussion with Wisconsin Republicans, one of President Trump’s senior reelection advisors admitted that the GOP has engaged in a campaign of voter suppression.
Justin Clark spoke to the Wisconsin Chapter of the Republican National Lawyers Association in November, and in a recording acquired by AP, he seemed to make the quiet part pretty loud and clear. "Traditionally it’s always been Republicans suppressing votes in places," said Clark. "Let’s start protecting our voters. We know where they are. ... Let’s start playing offense a little bit. That’s what you’re going to see in 2020. It’s going to be a much bigger program, a much more aggressive program, a much better-funded program."
When AP asked the Trump advisor about his comments, he insisted that he meant that "Republicans historically have been falsely accused of voter suppression."
"Neither I nor anyone I know or work with would condone anyone’s vote being threatened or diluted and our efforts will be focused on preventing just that," Clark continued.
Earlier this month, the House voted to restore federal oversight of state election laws in a bill that took aim at the Supreme Court’s Shelby County decision. But the bill has almost no chance in the Republican-held Senate.
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