Published: April 26, 2021

Since Democrats gained control of the U.S. Senate and White House, Republican state legislators across the country have unleashed more than 300 bills that restrict voting rights. Limiting absentee voting has been a priority, but bills targeting voter ID, registration, and voting roll purges have been introduced in almost every state.

A concerted and rapid effort by conservative and right-wing groups has been underway in 2021 to spread disinformation about “voter fraud” and push these laws through. Dozens of groups around the country, many misleadingly calling for “election integrity,” are throwing money, lobbying power and other resources at these legislative efforts, which President Joe Biden has referred to as “Jim Crow in the 21st Century.”  

Documented is tracking these attacks on our democracy. On this page you will find the resources we have collected on the groups and individuals who are doing this.

According to the Brennan Center, which released an in-depth report on state voting proposals and tracks the legislation:

As of March 24, legislators have introduced 361 bills with restrictive provisions in 47 states. That’s 108 more than the 253 restrictive bills tallied as of February 19, 2021 — a 43 percent increase in little more than a month.

These measures have begun to be enacted. Five restrictive bills have already been signed into law. In addition, at least 55 restrictive bills in 24 states are moving through legislatures: 29 have passed at least one chamber, while another 26 have had some sort of committee action (e.g., a hearing, an amendment, or a committee vote).

Source: Brennan Center State Voting Bills Tracker 2021. Published February 24, 2021. Updated April 1, 2021 (Republished with permission.)

Conservative Groups are Mobilizing

While state Republican law makers are introducing restrictive voting legislation, a host of conservative groups around the country are mobilizing their lobbying and litigation efforts. The cohort includes stalwarts such as Heritage Action, new players like the Honest Elections Project, and organizations like the Susan B. Anthony List — which normally focus solely on restricting abortion access. These groups have found a common cause in their opposition of H.R. 1, the “For the People Act,” and a push toward more restrictive access to the ballot in the name of “election integrity.” These are just some of the groups and individuals that Documented has found which have launched or been involved with campaigns to limit access to the ballot.

Attacks on Voting Rights (2020 - 2021): A Timeline

2020
February 28

CNP Secretive Strategy Session on Elections

During a secretive Council for National Policy (CNP) strategy session, American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) CEO Lisa Nelson revealed she had been working with GOP attorneys on ways legislators could question the results of the 2020 election.

April 7

President Trump: Mail Ballots are “Fraudulent”

An election in Wisconsin spurred a national debate over in-person voting due to the concerns about the coronavirus. When asked about the use of mail-in ballots in elections, President Trump falsely claimed they were a “cheat.” “They go and collect them, they’re fraudulent in many cases. You’ve got to vote.…

July 16

ALEC Election Roundtable

OSCE Parliamentary Assembly from Copenhagen, Denmark, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

ALEC’s process working group held an Election Roundtable. According to email correspondence obtained by Documented, the discussion featured presentations from election attorneys Cleta Mitchell, Hans von Spakovsky, and J. Christian Adams, American Constitutional Rights Union President Ken Blackwell, Honest Elections Project Executive Director Jason Snead and others.

October 3

FreedomWorks Election Protection Summit

FreedomWorks Election Protection Summit

The tea party-aligned FreedomWorks hosted the “Election Protection Summit,“aimed at organizing state partners around claims of expected “widespread voter fraud.” Speakers, which ranged from Hans von Spakovsky, John Fund and Cleta Mitchell, criticized mail-in voting in the lead up to the 2020 Presidential Election.  

2021
January 2

Trump Phone Call to Georgia Secretary of State

Cleta Mitchell participated in President Donald Trump’s infamous phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, where he urged the Secretary of State to “find” thousands of votes for him.

January 8

SPN Conference Call on HR 1 Polling with Koch and McConnell

Charles Koch

The State Policy Network convened a conference call where participants lamented that they could not find a way to sell their opposition to H.R. 1 to public. Participants of the call included operatives from the Koch Network and Senator Mitch McConnell operatives.

January 29

Heritage Action Volunteers Meet with Georgia State Legislators

Connor.carey at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Volunteers from Heritage Action met with Republican Georgia state legislators and gave them a letter that contained several policy proposals on how to reform the state election system.

February 1

Heritage Released Report on “Election Integrity”

The Heritage Foundation released its report “The Facts About Election Integrity and the Need for States to Fix Their Election Systems,” which contains many restrictive voting proposals that Heritage Action would later advocate for on the state level.

February 17

RSLC Launches Election Integrity Commission

The Republican State Leadership Committee (RSLC) launched an “Election Integrity Commission,” co-chaired by Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill and Michigan state Senator Ruth Johnson. The committee is comprised of Republican secretaries of state and state legislators from around the country.

February 17

RNC Launches Election Integrity Committee

Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel announced the formation of an “Election Integrity Committee” comprised of 12 men and 12 women from 21 states. The committee is co-chaired by Florida GOP Chair and State Senator Joe Grueters and D.C. RNC National Committeewoman Ashley MacLeay.

February 23

Susan B. Anthony List, American Principles Project Launches “Election Transparency Initiative”

Susan B. Anthony List and American Principles Project announced a new “Election Transparency Initiative,” led by former Trump Department of Homeland Security official Ken Cuccinelli.

February 25

CPAC 2021

CPAC 2021

The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) hosted discussion around election-related issues, which promoted the baseless theory that there was widespread fraud in the 2020 election. Denise Cohen also announced the American Conservative Union’s new “Center to Protect Elections.”

March 3

HEP Publishes Report on “Safeguarding Future Elections”

Honest Elections Project released their “Safeguarding Future Elections” report which contains suggestions on how states could reform their election systems.

March 8

Iowa Governor Signs Bill Restricting Voter Access

Miles530, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signs a bill significantly restricting voter access in the state.

March 8

Heritage Action Announces $10 million Effort

Heritage Action announced its plan to invest $10 million into a state advocacy campaign to promote “election integrity” across the country.

March 14

FreedomWorks: Cleta Mitchell to chair “multi-million dollar National Election Protection Initiative.”

FreedomWorks announced Cleta Mitchell would chair their “multi-million dollar National Election Protection Initiative.”

March 16

Conservative Partnership Institute: Cleta Mitchell Will Head “Election Integrity Coalition”

Conservative Partnership Institute: Cleta Mitchell Will Head “Election Integrity Coalition”

Conservative Partnership Institute (CPI) announced Cleta Mitchell would be joining them as a senior legal fellow and would be heading their “Election Integrity Coalition.”

March 18

Heritage Action Million Dollar Support for Georgia Laws

Heritage Action announced it would put $1 million toward supporting Georgia’s election restrictions, specifically putting $600,000 toward a television ad buy.

March 20

West Virginia Rally Pressuring U.S. Sen Manchin

West Virginia Rally Pressuring U.S. Sen Manchin

Heritage Action, Tea Party Patriots Action, Freedom Works, and the local and national Family Research Council groups organized a rally dubbed “Take a Stand” aimed at pressuring U.S. Senator Joe Manchin to vote against H.R. 1.

March 23

Regent University “Election Integrity Conference”

Regent University sponsored an all day “election integrity conference” hosted by former Congresswoman and Dean Michelle Bachman. The event featured many speakers including Ben Carson, Hans von Spakovsky, John Fund, and Kris Kobach.

March 23

HEP Sends Memo to Congress on Restrictive Voting Policies Polling

Honest Elections project sent a memo, which included polling it conducted showing the popularity of restrictive voting policies, to members of Congress and state legislators.

March 25

Georgia Governor Signs Sweeping Voting Restrictions Bill

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signs a bill significantly reforming Georgia’s election system.

March 31

Campaign Legal Center Files Complaint Against True the Vote

Campaign Legal Center Files Complaint Against True the Vote

Campaign Legal Center Action and Common Cause Georgia filed a complaint accusing True the Vote and the Georgia Republican Party of violating the Federal Election Campaign Act.

April 6

Kris Kobach meets with Pennsylvania Republicans

Kris Kobach, Kansas’ former Secretary of State, met with Pennsylvania’s Republican state legislators and presented model legislation on election reform. Kobach was Vice-Chair of President Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity which was abruptly disbanded in 2018. The Commission was not able to find any wide spread election fraud.

April 9

Arizona governor signs bill restricting private donations

Arizona governor signs bill restricting private donations

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey signed into law HB 2569, banning private actors from funding election processes within the state. In 2020 grants made by the Center for Tech and Civic Life covered federal election funding shortfalls across the country. The Center received a $350 million grant from Mark Zuckerberg.

April 19

Montana Governor signs election reform bills

Montana Governor Greg Gianforte signed into law two election from bills that repealed same day voter registration and tightened the state’s voter ID law.

Analysis by Documented

Further Reporting

G.O.P. and Allies Draft ‘Best Practices’ for Restricting Voting

Former Trump adviser takes prominent role in voting battle

The States Where Efforts to Restrict Voting are Escalating

How GOP-backed Voting Measures Could Create Hurtles for Tens of Millions of Voters

Images:

Gage SkidmoreCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Hans von SpakovskyCC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
OSCE Parliamentary Assembly from Copenhagen, DenmarkCC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Connor.carey at English WikipediaCC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of AmericaCC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons