Danae Gaytan recently wrote an article discussing the agenda that the republican party has to increase impediments to voting. After a contentious 2020 election and an eventual Joe Biden victory, the Republican party felt that they had the presidency stolen from right under their noses. There were plenty of calls for recounts of votes and searches for evidence of voter fraud. Due to the apparent injustice, many republicans are calling for voting reform, such as controversial voter ID laws and even the requirement of notarized ballots, which would require voters to pay a small fee and make it far more difficult to vote in elections for everyone. Gaytan went on to discuss why this was a clear example of democratic erosion but also described possible solutions to this agenda without creating more erosion, due to the fact that political parties seeing one another as rivals and unfit to lead is very undemocratic and also a large issue for this country.
Instead of solutions, I wanted to delve into the actual issues with the voter laws and the negative impact they could have on the voting population. To begin with, the notarization of ballots is far too complex to be a requirement for every single voter. Not just the fee required to get a document notarized, but actually finding a notary is not easy as there has been a major decline in them in the US over the past few years. The fee is a completely different issue altogether. As many people know, the United States has a serious issue with voter participation being unfairly proportioned across different socioeconomic standards. This difference can be attributed to the fact that people of the lower economic standard simply don’t have the time or the means to get to a voting booth, due to multiple jobs or other aspects of work-life that can get in the way. With the addition of a fee, even more, people would feel disenfranchised by the electoral process and may stop voting in elections altogether.
As for Gaytan’s solutions to the issue, I find them sound, but slightly unrealistic. In an ideal world, political parties would behave as Gaytan suggests, with the utmost respect for one another and no real desire to tear others down. However, the democratic party would take the first opportunity they could to paint the republican party as undemocratic and as an anti-American party, in the same way, that the Republicans would do the same to the democrats. This commentary by Gaytan truly shows the failures of our parties in recent times to fight for America rather than against the opposite ideology. As Gaytan pointed out, as soon as political rivals start to view each other as threats to democracy, they are implicitly stating that the other group no longer has a right to govern, based on the ideology of Levitzky and Ziblatt, authors of “How Democracies Die”. These voter laws are not the solution that the country needs right now, nor is the backlash from the democratic party, due to the deep-rooted issues within party politics in this country. All I know for sure is that we have a long road back to civil respect between the GOP and the democratic party, and a lot of work to do to avoid the democratic backsliding that is slowly building within our homeland.