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Trump's false fraud claims are laying groundwork for new voting restrictions, experts warn

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Loyola Law School
the Department of Justice
the Democracy Program
the Brennan Center for Justice
the NYU School of Law
Supreme Court
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the Harvard Kennedy School

Donald Trump
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Justin Levitt
Wendy Weiser
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Trump attacked cities with large shares of Black voters, who had come out in force for Biden, while his lawyers baselessly alleged a global conspiracy and filed dozens of suits in six states.The legal strategy failed in court after court — not a single incident of voter fraud has been proven in the lawsuits — but experts warn the narrative is laying the groundwork for disenfranchisement.“I don’t actually think that all of this leads to a different result in January, but I am really afraid about what Donald Trump is currently doing to the country for February and beyond,” said Justin Levitt, an election law expert and professor at Loyola Law School who worked at the Department of Justice during the Obama administration.Despite the large body of evidence that American elections are secure from both hacking and widespread voter fraud, federal and state politicians are already proposing new laws that will make it harder to vote.“We’re already seeing trial balloons of new measures to restrict access to voting, and I expect that this false narrative of voter fraud is going to be used as an excuse in many other places to try and drive an anti-voter agenda going forward,” Wendy Weiser, vice president of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law, said.In Georgia, a traditionally red state that Biden flipped blue this year by more than 12,000 votes, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, has proposed several major election changes, including adding a voter ID requirement to mail-in voting and making it easier to challenge a voter’s stated residency."Close elections sow distrust," Raffensperger said Nov. 20, announcing that a hand recount had shifted Biden’s margin of victory in the state but had not changed the outcome. Biden has vowed to sign it as president, something the Democrats could only do if they retake the Senate after January’s runoff races in Georgia.Trump’s baseless claims of a stolen election were unsurprising — when he won in 2016, he insisted he’d only lost the popular vote because of voter fraud no one, including his own presidential task force, could find — but experts fear he’s rallying a generation of supporters to fight against a threat that doesn’t exist.And coming from a president whose political career kicked off with the racist birther claims about President Barack Obama, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that restrictive voter laws often disproportionately disenfranchise the Black voters who came out in force for Biden.“Often, efforts to root out voter fraud are thinly-veiled dog whistles to try to undermine Black and brown voters,” Weiser said.

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