Mississippi Secretary of State Michael Watson (R) is deeply troubled by the fascist notion that it should be easier for students to vote.
In a local TV interview resurfaced by the Mississippi Free Press on Tuesday, Watson falsely claimed that President Joe Biden’s executive order on bolstering voting access meant that federal agencies and universities were directed to “register as many folks as they can via this automatic voter registration.”
In reality, the order says nothing about automatic voter registration or college students. Yet Watson went on to characterize it as government tyranny burdening the beleaguered youths with, uh, easier access to the polls, particularly those who are “woke” (GOP curse word for left-wing).
“Think about all those woke college and university students now who will automatically be registered to vote whether they wanted to or not,” the elections official lamented. “Again, if they didn’t know to opt-out, they’re going to be automatically registered to vote and then they receive this mail-in ballot that they didn’t even probably know was coming because they didn’t know they were registered to vote.”
“You’ve got an uninformed citizen who may not be prepared and ready to vote,” he continued. “Automatically, it’s forced on them: ‘Hey, go make a choice.'”
“Our country’s going to pay for those choices,” Watson added, making more explicit the true cause for his paternalistic concern: People being allowed to vote for things he doesn’t like.
The official’s handwringing over students being empowered to vote underscores a less discussed dimension to the GOP’s voter suppression efforts. Apparently believing, as Watson does, that most college students vote liberal, state Republicans are pushing several means of blocking students’ access to the ballot.
Some measures include ID requirements that try to bar students from out of state to vote in their school’s state, restrictions on what kind of student IDs may be used when voting, and polling place requirements that disqualify universities as voting sites.