Heritage Action says it wrote “8 key provisions” in Georgia voter suppression law, “19 provisions” in Texas House bill & “3 provisions” of Iowa law. Dark $ fueling voter suppression
— Aaron Wiener (@aaronwiener) May 13, 2021
In a private meeting last month with big-money donors, the head of a top conservative group boasted that her outfit had crafted the new voter suppression law in Georgia and was doing the same with similar bills for Republican state legislators across the country. “In some cases, we actually draft them for them,” she said, “or we have a sentinel on our behalf give them the model legislation so it has that grassroots, from-the-bottom-up type of vibe.”
The Georgia law had “eight key provisions that Heritage recommended,” Jessica Anderson, the executive director of Heritage Action for America, a sister organization of the Heritage Foundation, told the foundation’s donors at an April 22 gathering in Tucson, in a recording obtained by the watchdog group Documented and shared with Mother Jones. Those included policies severely restricting mail ballot drop boxes, preventing election officials from sending absentee ballot request forms to voters, making it easier for partisan workers to monitor the polls, preventing the collection of mail ballots, and restricting the ability of counties to accept donations from nonprofit groups seeking to aid in election administration.
All of these recommendations came straight from Heritage’s list of “best practices” drafted in February. With Heritage’s help, Anderson said, Georgia became “the example for the rest of the country.”
The leaked video reveals the extent to which Heritage is leading a massive campaign to draft and pass model legislation restricting voting access, which has been swiftly adopted this year in the battleground states of Georgia, Florida, Arizona, and Iowa. It’s no coincidence that so many GOP-controlled states are rushing to pass similar pieces of legislation in such a short period of time.
Republican legislators claim they’re tightening up election procedures to address (unfounded) concerns about fraud in the 2020 election. But what’s really behind this effort is a group of conservative Washington insiders who have been pushing these same kinds of voting restrictions for decades, with the explicit aim of helping Republicans win elections. The difference now is that Trump’s baseless claims about 2020 have given them the ammunition to get the bills passed, and the conservative movement, led by Heritage, is making an unprecedented investment to get them over the finish line.
“We’re working with these state legislators to make sure they have all of the information they need to draft the bills,” Anderson told the Heritage Foundation donors. In addition to drafting the bills in some cases, “we’ve also hired state lobbyists to make sure that in these targeted states we’re meeting with the right people.”
A 2013 Brookings Institution report found that ALEC model bills are introduced in our state legislatures word for word at a significant rate, have better odds of being enacted into law than most legislation, and are most often linked to controversial social and economic issues.
🚨ALERT: Arizona Senate Republicans PASS voter suppression bill #SB1485 to REMOVE over 140,000 mail voters from the state's Permanent Early Vote List. The bill now goes to the governor, who is expected to sign it into law. #azleghttps://t.co/2i3H1BVnoJ
— Democracy Docket (@DemocracyDocket) May 11, 2021
My newest: QAnon followers are working with Arizona senators and audit officials to overturn 2020 election results https://t.co/Nieb8qb9MB
— Olivia Little (@OliviaLittle) May 13, 2021
It’s past time the Senate passed the #ForThePeopleAct, a law that would guarantee basic voter protections and outlaw partisan voter suppression efforts at the federal level.
— Jonathan Frakes (@jonathansfrakes) May 8, 2021