Republicans Rewrite an Old Playbook on Disenfranchising Black Americans

Mr. Barber said the victory by Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris was all the more remarkable given that it came in the face of those changes in voting laws, showing that “when people have an opportunity to vote, they will clearly vote their interests.”

Mr. Trump’s campaign against the results has focused on moves by state and local officials to make voting easier during the coronavirus pandemic, particularly mail voting.

But the degree to which the president is now pinpointing voters of color for disenfranchisement is striking even by modern Republican standards, especially after he performed better with Black voters this year than he did four years ago.

Mayor Tom Barrett of Milwaukee noted in an interview that Mr. Trump was hyper-focused on his city, which is about 39 percent Black and 19 percent Latino, and not on the predominantly white and Republican-leaning suburbs outside it, which had the same regulations that the Trump campaign was challenging in Milwaukee.

“We are absolutely witnessing in real time an effort to disenfranchise people of color throughout Milwaukee County,” said Mr. Barrett, a Democrat. (The president is also pressing for a recount in Dane County, a predominantly white area of Wisconsin with a considerable college student population.)

In Pennsylvania, Mayor Jim Kenney of Philadelphia, also a Democrat, pointed to the Republican-led General Assembly’s refusal to allow election officials to begin processing absentee ballots early as a direct attack on the vote in his city, which would struggle under the sheer volume of votes while more rural and white counties would have a much easier time processing votes.

“There were efforts right from the very beginning,” Mr. Kenney said.

Perhaps nowhere was the targeting of Black votes more explicit than in Wayne County, Mich., home to Detroit. Though Republicans pressured the Wayne County board of canvassers not to certify the vote, the number of precincts with slightly mismatched data was lower than it was in 2016, when Mr. Trump won the states by a smaller vote margin that was certified unanimously.

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