From Alabama Republicans' blatantly discriminatory congressional map, to the Wisconsin GOP's ousting of a the states' top election official and attempt to impeach a liberal Supreme Court justice, to North Carolina's decision to allow the majority-Republican legislature to appoint state and local election board members, News from the States reports these anti-democratic moves have all recently "generated national headlines" and stoked fears ahead of the 2024 presidential election.
"If they can impeach someone successfully to stop them from ruling in a way they don't like, what will they do after the 2024 election?" Ben Wikler, the chair of the Wisconsin Democratic Party told the news outlet, referring to state Republicans' "threat to impeach" state Supreme Court Justice Janet Protasiewicz. "It was one vote in our state Supreme Court that prevented the 2020 election from being overturned in Wisconsin. And they know who the justices were, so they could just suspend them. This would open the door to monsters that I don't think they'd be able to control."
News from the States points out other states like Ohio and Florida, which are also pushing anti-democratic legislation, have "flown further under the radar."
According to the report, "In Ohio, the Supreme Court has ruled five times that the state's current legislative maps are unconstitutional gerrymanders favoring Republicans. But the bipartisan commission that's supposed to draw fair maps hasn't met since May 2022."
Furthermore, "Lawmakers' goal appears to be to run out the clock and ram through skewed maps with little public scrutiny. Because the Supreme Court now has a conservative majority, it's expected to green-light whatever lawmakers come up with."
In the Sunshine State, "Acting on a request from the speaker of the House, the state Supreme Court last month created a commission to study changing the way prosecutors and judges are elected," the news outlet notes, which one advocate warned "would almost certainly be a near-fatal blow against the reform prosecutor movement in the state."
The report notes while these types of "power grabs" within state legislatures are not new, "advocates say, these efforts are even more dangerous for democracy. That's because, by giving lawmakers more power over elections or over their state's judicial system, many of these schemes strengthen and reinforce the ultimate threat of outright election subversion."
Joanna Lydgate, Chief Executive Officer of pro-democracy group States United Action emphasized, "We should call this what it is: an effort to lay the groundwork to subvert the will of the voters in future elections. While the focus is often on the national picture, our elections are run by the states. That means we need to keep shining a light on state-level efforts that undermine our democracy. It's the only way to shut it down."
Reprinted with permission from Alternet.