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Weekend Elections Briefing, April 3-4, 2021: Georgia Fallout, Bulgaria

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Elections Briefing 4-3-21 Georgia Elections Andrew Yang Bulgaria

A nation heads to the polls on Easter Sunday and the blowback from Georgia’s recent elections legislation is increasing in the Weekend Briefing.

US Election News

Georgia Under Pressure for New Elections Law

Just days ago, Georgia enacted a massive new piece of election-related legislation intended to support “voter integrity.” Passed by a Republican legislature and signed by Gov. Brian Kemp (R), the new bill, which we have brought up several times in prior Briefings, does such things as displace the Secretary of State in some of his official election capacity, puts a cap on the number of postal vote drop-boxes (but ensures that each county has at least one), and curtails the amount of time a voter has to request an absentee ballot.

Republicans have hailed the legislation as a necessary step. A number of them in Georgia, Kemp not included, would likely agree with Donald Trump’s characterization of the last state election as “stolen.” Democrats, however, have been fervent in their opposition to the new law.

Now, there is increased outside pressure on Georgia to undo what they just passed. Major League Baseball pulled the All-Star Game from Metro Atlanta in response to the legislation, and President Joe Biden supported it. There are also calls for boycotts of the state, and numerous business leaders have issued a joint statement calling for Georgia to change its mind.1 Opponents say this law will unfairly target minority communities and make it more difficult for them to vote, while supporters believe this will make Georgia’s elections more fair and honest.

Texas Passes Social Media Censorship Bill

At the same time as the Texas State Senate passed a bill focused on “election integrity,” they also passed legislation aimed at social media companies. Their new bill passed would make it illegal for a social media company to ban a user based on their political viewpoints.2 No doubt the Republican-led Senate had Donald Trump and the general conservative movement in mind as they voted up the legislation, as Trump and scores of others have been banned from social media in recent times.

NYC Mayoral Candidate Andrew Yang Hospitalized

Andrew Yang, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate and one of the frontrunners in the 2021 New York City mayoral race, was hospitalized this week with a kidney stone.3 We wish Mr. Yang well as he recovers.

Yang stayed in the Democratic race through New Hampshire and got into the mayoral election in January. He has led in a number of polls since getting into the race, but with a small plurality in a crowded field.

International Election News

Bulgaria to Vote in Sunday Election

On Sunday, the people of Bulgaria head to the polls, and it caps off months of unrest. The protests in Bulgaria began last year and cover a number of grievances against the government, including pandemic response and corruption.

There are 240 seats in the parliament, but no party commanded a majority in the previous legislature as it is elected by proportional representation. Despite the negativity, Boyko Borisov may see his party still claim the top spot in the election.4 There is a new populist party, “There Is Such A People” (ITN), that may cut into Borisov’s seat count. Polls suggest GERB, Borisov’s party, could lose over 20 seats.

Argentine Ex-President Macri Returns to Politics

Less than two years after being voted out of office, Mauricio Macri, the center-right former president of Argentina, is assuming the limelight again. He has released a new book detailing his time in office, with the aim of re-energizing his party and coalition for legislative elections later this year.5 Juntos por el Cambio (Together for Change), Macri’s alliance, is a strong opposition party in the Chamber of Deputies, and gaining a dozen seats would get them close to an outright majority. Just under half of the lower house and a third of the Senate will vote in October.

Macri has no love lost for President Alberto Fernández, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, and the Peronist Frente de Todos, and vice versa. His hope is to keep his coalition alive to foster a two-party state in Argentina.

Election Calendar from Saturday

Sunday is the Bulgarian general election.
3 days until the Greenland general election.
9 days until the Yukon territorial election.
21 days until the Louisiana-02 special runoff.
28 days until the Texas-06 special jungle primary and the Tasmania state election.

Editorial Note

The Elections Briefing returns on Tuesday, April 6.

Today’s Further Reading

  1. Susan Milligan, “Georgia Faces Mounting Corporate, Political Pressure to Undo Voting Law,” US News & World Report, 1 April 2021.
  2. Jordan Williams, “Texas Senate blocks social media platforms from banning users based on politics,” The Hill, 1 April 2021.
  3. David Giambusso, “Yang hospitalized with a kidney stone,” Politico, 2 April 2021.
  4. Veselin Toshkov, Associated Press, “Virus pandemic overshadows Bulgarian parliamentary election,” Star Tribune, 2 April 2021.
  5. Agustino Fontevecchia, “Macri’s Return Signals More Division Ahead Of Argentine Midterm Elections This Year,” Forbes, 2 April 2021.

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