One day after falsely claiming to Congress that the presidential election had been “stolen” from Donald Trump, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is warning that higher voter turnout in the upcoming Georgia runoffs will hurt Republicans. Paul is the most recent of a number of GOP elected officials who have asserted that low voting rates are key to their electoral success.
“They’re mailing out a solicitation to vote by mail,” Paul said during a Thursday Fox Business segment that condemned Georgia’s voter outreach efforts amid the pandemic. “This is not in the state law.”
“I’m very, very concerned that if you solicit votes from typically non-voters, that you will affect and change the outcome,” he continued. “So I’m very worried that the Democrats will control all three branches of government.” (Here, Paul seems to be joining new Alabama senator Tommy Tuberville in thinking that the House—not the judiciary—is the third branch of government.)
Deeply ignorant and racist as the remarks are, none of this is exactly new anymore. Paul’s assertion is the latest entry in the canon of Republicans saying the “quiet part out loud” in order to suppress voting rates, especially among Black voters. As my colleague Ari Berman reported last week, it also comes amid a larger strategy by Georgia Republicans to build new voting restrictions far beyond January’s runoffs:
Establishment Georgia Republicans like Raffensperger have been widely lauded in the media for standing up to President Donald Trump’s baseless election claims. But with far less fanfare, they’ve continued to perpetuate a widely discredited narrative of voter fraud in order to build support for new restrictions on voting that will make it harder for Georgians—particularly in Democratic-leaning demographics—to cast ballots in future elections.
But perhaps Paul is simply laying the groundwork for an even more absurd stunt: the Kentucky senator is reportedly one of several Senate Republicans planning to join their House colleagues and formally reject the Electoral College vote next month.
Rand Paul rails on how Georgia was supposedly stolen — “but probably most importantly” absentee ballot applications being sent out for the Senate runoffs.
“I’m very, very concerned that if you solicit votes from typically non-voters, that you will affect and change the outcome.” pic.twitter.com/J1TPaN02Us
— Eric Kleefeld (@EricKleefeld) December 17, 2020