Many on the American left have accused conservatives of using concerns about election integrity as a pretext for making it harder to cast a ballot.
The situation is different in Poland, however, where the liberal Civic Platform party is fighting a plan to make voting easier for the elderly and rural residents.
Bill increases voting locations, provides transportation for elderly
According to Reuters, Poland’s the conservative governing party known as Law and Justice have put forward a bill which would expand polling stations to villages with as few as 200 people.
What’s more, the legislation also contains provisions for buses to help those with disabilities as well as voters 60 years of age and up reach polling stations.
Donald Tusk is the leader of Civic Platform, and he insists the move is a naked attempt by Law and Justice to boost turnout among its base, much of which is rural and elderly.
“If (Law and Justice) are ready … to manipulate the electoral law in order to increase their electoral chances, it is easy to imagine that they will also be capable of other types of manipulation,” Tusk was quoted as saying. He added that Law and Justice’s plan “violates the basic principles of democracy.”
Critics say the legislation is unconstitutional
Tusk contends such a change would be illegal, pointing to a Constitutional Tribunal decision which found that alterations to the country’s voting can not take place during an election year. Poles are scheduled to vote in a national election this coming fall.
Another critic is Anna Materska-Sosnowska, who serves as a political scientist at Warsaw University. She told Reuters, “Our research shows that it will not increase turnout, the effect will be minimal … if it were an honest idea, they would mostly increase the number of voting stations in places with high population density, in cities.”
Meanwhile, columnist and former Italian member of parliament Luca Volontè used an op-ed piece for International Family News to link Civic Platform’s opposition with anti-democrat communist policies that “choked Poles for 50 years.”
Volontè argued that “not only do the opposition parties fear the citizen voters of the future, hence they favor the liberalization of abortion, but they have also said they oppose promoting voter participation for rural citizens, the elderly and the disabled.”
“In short, all those who do not vote for their socialist and libertarian coalition should not vote at all. Simple as that,” he wrote.
California AG tried to stop GOP from putting drop boxes in churches
Poland’s debate over poll access echoes a 2020 fight in California that saw the state’s then Attorney General Xavier Becerra issue a cease and desist order against Republicans who put ballot drop boxes in churches.
It instructed the GOP to stop “the coordination, use and/or false or misleading promotion of unauthorized and non-official vote by mail drop boxes.”
However, the Los Angeles Times reported that a state judge subsequently refused to order the California Republican Party to disclose information about its ballot drop box program to state officials.