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► Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law new voting rules that significantly restrict voter access and prohibit allowing people to bring water to someone standing in line to vote. This is part of a broad effort around the country by Republicans to make it harder for non-Republican voters to cast a ballot. As The Washington Post reports:
The measure is one of the first major voting bills to pass as dozens of state legislatures consider restrictions on how ballots are cast and counted in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election, when President Donald Trump attacked without evidence the integrity of election results in six states he lost, including Georgia.
The new law imposes new identification requirements for those casting ballots by mail; curtails the use of drop boxes for absentee ballots; allows electors to challenge the eligibility of an unlimited number of voters and requires counties to hold hearings on such challenges within 10 days; makes it a crime for third-party groups to hand out food and water to voters standing in line; blocks the use of mobile voting vans, as Fulton County did last year after purchasing two vehicles at a cost of more than $700,000; and prevents local governments from directly accepting grants from the private sector.
The 95-page law also strips authority from the secretary of state, making him a nonvoting member of the State Election Board, and allows lawmakers to initiate takeovers of local election boards — measures that critics said could allow partisan appointees to slow down or block election certification or target heavily Democratic jurisdictions, many of which are in the Atlanta area and are home to the state’s highest concentrations of Black and Brown voters.
The measure, backed by Republicans, sailed out of the state House and Senate on party-line votes in a single afternoon.
As Greg Sargent writes for The Washington Post, Republicans seeking to roll back voting rights are relying on a false narrative that they created themselves:
Republicans are deeply concerned about voter fraud because their voters believe the 2020 election was stolen from them, we are told, and Republicans merely want to restore their confidence in future elections.
This claim is absolutely central to the massive new wave of GOP voter suppression efforts — and utterly, insultingly preposterous to its core. Yet because we hear it constantly, it regularly skates past without even being remarked upon.
But it’s nonsense, and it should be called out as such every single time.
The Republican assault on voting rights is getting even more absurd in Missouri, where state lawmakers are trying to pretend that a ballot measure approved in 2020 with 53% of the vote didn’t win by enough votes for them to proceed with funding the measure.
Elsewhere, Vox.com wonders if Republicans understand that they are cutting off their own nose to spite Democrats.
► The Denver Post has more on efforts led by Congressman Joe Neguse (D-Boulderish) to convince President Biden to sign an executive order banning the importation of assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Neguse’s efforts are spurred by Monday’s shooting at a King Soopers in Boulder.
Meanwhile, 9News reports that the suspected Boulder shooter did pass a background check when he purchased the weapon allegedly used to kill 10 people. The gun safety advocacy group Moms Demand Action held a vigil for victims on Thursday.
► As The New York Times reports, some far-right extremists who promoted the false “stop the steal” Presidential election narrative have found a new battle:
Although negative reactions have been relatively rare, the numbers are used by many extremist groups to try to bolster a rash of false and alarmist disinformation in articles and videos with titles like “Covid-19 Vaccines Are Weapons of Mass Destruction — and Could Wipe out the Human Race” or “Doctors and Nurses Giving the Covid-19 Vaccine Will be Tried as War Criminals.”
If the so-called Stop the Steal movement appeared to be chasing a lost cause once President Biden was inaugurated, its supporters among extremist organizations are now adopting a new agenda from the anti-vaccination campaign to try to undermine the government.
Bashing of the safety and efficacy of vaccines is occurring in chat rooms frequented by all manner of right-wing groups including the Proud Boys; the Boogaloo movement, a loose affiliation known for wanting to spark a second Civil War; and various paramilitary organizations.
More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…
And Now, More Words…
► The Jefferson County School Board has selected a “sole finalist” for its superintendent position. From a press release:
The Jefferson County Board of Education is pleased to announce the selection of Tracy Dorland as their preferred candidate and sole finalist for superintendent of Jeffco Public Schools (Jeffco). For the past three and half years, Dorland has been the Deputy Superintendent of Adams 12 Five Star Schools, which serves approximately 37,000 students. As Deputy Superintendent, Dorland is responsible for leading across multiple district divisions to support strategic planning, community engagement, and implementation of a $350 million bond program, strategic technology investments, and successful academic initiatives. Dorland joined Adams 12 in 2013 as the district’s Chief Academic Officer and served as a teacher, principal, principal supervisor and central office leader in Denver Public Schools for over twelve years prior to joining Adams 12.
Jeffco is working on contract negotiations with Dorland and will likely announce the hiring as official in mid-April. The Cherry Creek School District made a similar announcement this week regarding its vacant superintendent position.
► Denver7 reports on efforts in the U.S. Senate to move forward legislation that would expand voting rights.
► Colorado Newsline looks at the March revenue forecast in Colorado as lawmakers prepare to tackle the annual state budget approval process.
► The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel updates the status of legislation seeking to create minimum standards for animal shelters.
► Denver-based Dominion Voting Services has filed a $1.6 BILLION defamation lawsuit against Fox News. This is separate from the $2.7 BILLION lawsuit filed against Fox by voting technology company Smartmatic.
► The former head of the CDC under President Trump, Dr. Robert Redfield, tells CNN that he believes that the COVID-19 virus came from a lab in China. Redfield provided ZERO evidence to support this claim.
► Colorado Newsline looks at a review of oil and gas drilling permits on public lands:
Interior Department officials indicated Thursday the Biden administration would change some federal oil and gas policies in an effort to roll back the aggressive fossil fuel agenda of former President Donald Trump.
Interior leaders at an online forum said that rates the oil and gas industry pays for leasing, royalties and bonding could be due for increases, as the administration makes multiple moves to combat climate change.
► If detailed stories about policies affecting trains and railways is your thing, then you’ll love this story in The Colorado Sun.
► MAGA loons who insist that President Biden is senile, or something, are finding their claims debunked by Republican Senators.
► Is Pueblo County the “Napa Valley of weed”? We don’t know, but we love the name from this Westword story.
► A group of House Democrats have introduced the “DEJOY Act” to prohibit Postmaster General Louis DeJoy from implementing plans to slow down mail delivery.
► Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams is not a nice person.
► It was sadly inevitable: New Boulder shooting conspiracy theories are being spread by nutters.
► POLITICO looks at whether or not Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will ultimately move forward with killing the filibuster.
Though getting his caucus on board to invoke the “nuclear option” won’t be easy if he tries to, Schumer is refusing to disarm unilaterally. Announcing an aggressive agenda on Thursday, he declared that “everything is on the table” and “failure is not an option.”
► As Vox.com explains, the Republican Primary for an open Senate seat in Ohio is all about one man: Trump.
Say What, Now?
► Would you prefer that he eat them?
.@JoeBiden is literally reading notes…
— Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS (@RepGosar) March 25, 2021
Your Daily Dose Of ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
► Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is very cranky.
► Former President Trump called into Fox News on Wednesday and proceeded to try selling a heaping helping of horseshit. As CNN reports:
Calling into Fox News on Thursday night, Trump was asked if he was concerned about the US Capitol’s beefed up security, including razor-wire fencing, which he derided as “disgraceful” and a “political maneuver.”
“It was zero threat, right from the start, it was zero threat. Look, they went in, they shouldn’t have done it. Some of them went in, and they are hugging and kissing the police and the guards, you know, they had great relationships,” [Pols emphasis] Trump told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham. “A lot of the people were waved in, and then they walked in and they walked out.”
Pretty much anyone who has eyes knows that this is absolute nonsense.
► Don’t miss this bonus episode of The Get More Smarter Podcast, featuring an interview with Senator John Hickenlooper (D-Denver) in which he refers to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as a “schlub”: