One of the most pervasive narratives being pushed about our elections is that voting has become more difficult and voter suppression is rampant. However, Michigan's Democrat Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson and Georgia's Republican Secretary of State Brand Raffensperger teamed up earlier this week to bust this myth in an op-ed published by USA Today:
Voters in recent years have been inundated with disinformation telling them they can’t trust their fellow citizens and neighbors who administer elections. That voting is getting harder, and powerful forces are trying to prevent them from expressing their voice. That in a nation as closely divided as ours, the only secure election is one where the candidate they voted for wins.
These harmful and divisive messages fly in the face of reality. Our nation’s elections are as accessible to eligible voters, as professionally administered and as secure as they’ve ever been.
According to a report released recently by the nonpartisan Center for Election Innovation & Research, Georgia and Michigan – where each of us serves as the secretary of state – are leaders in making voting accessible, with robust options for early in-person voting, mail voting and Election Day voting. . .
Despite what some are hearing, voters in nearly every state will find that voting this fall is familiar and convenient, regardless of what method they choose to use.
Even big proponents of the voter suppression myth like Democrat Senator Raphael Warnock can't deny that there's record voter turnout.
Raphael Warnock, today: "I thank God for this record voter turnout!"— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) November 1, 2022
Raphael Warnock, last year: Georgia's voting laws are "Jim Crow in new clothes." pic.twitter.com/tZvpGI0D5E
Raphael Warnock smeared his state as “Jim Crow in new clothes” but now brags about record turnout.— RNC Research (@RNCResearch) October 29, 2022
Vote him out! pic.twitter.com/u9g6AWsGJy
According to Pew Research Center, this year's increase in voter turnout is part of a broader trend seen during the last few election cycles:
Voter turnout in the 2020 U.S. general election soared to levels not seen in decades, fueled by the bitter campaign between Joe Biden and Donald Trump and facilitated by pandemic-related changes to state election rules. More than 158.4 million people voted in that election, according to a Pew Research Center tabulation of official state returns, amounting to 62.8% of people of voting age, using Census Bureau estimates of the 2020 voting-age population.
The 2020 voting surge followed unusually high turnout in the 2018 midterm elections, when about 47.5% of the voting-age population – and 51.8% of voting-age citizens – went to the polls.
This year, some political analysts are predicting another heavy turnout in this month’s midterms. According to a recent Center survey, 72% of registered voters say they’re “extremely” or “very” motivated to vote this year, and 65% say it “really matters” which party wins control of Congress – a level roughly on par with the run-up to the 2018 vote.
Election laws that make it easier to vote and harder to cheat give Americans the confidence they need to be an active participant in our democratic republic.