Republican-contolled legislatures across the country have increasingly passed restricitve voting laws, former Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea Cabral told Boston Public Radio on Thursday.
"There has been this incredible surge — I’m talking about hundreds of bills," she said. "And these bills passed really, essentially, are for the purpose of suppressing the vote."
Two Arizona laws went before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday. One disqualifies any ballot cast in the wrong precinct, while the other criminalizes the collection of absentee ballots by anyone other than a family member. Lawyers for the Arizona Republican Party seemed to openly embrace voter supression as they presented their case, Cabral said.
"What happened before the Supreme Court was very notable because it was a naked embrace of voter suppression," she said. "The attorneys were almost proud of it, the fact that they were advancing these laws."
The Republican Party can't win without voter suppresion, Cabral said.
"By and large, Republicans can't get elected unless they suppress the votes of people — independents, former Republicans and Democrats — who don't vote their way," she said. "They think because you can’t win a free and fair election based on what people traditionally win by, then you have to suppress the votes of the people who are not voting for your candidates."
Many Republicans have fled the party, Cabral added, diminishing their numbers, which has caused a surge in these voter restriciton laws.
"Every eligible voter has a right to vote. That should always be the driving principle behind any law that is passed that even casts a shadow on that right," she said.
Andrea Cabral is the former Suffolk County sheriff and Massachusetts secretary of public safety. She's also CEO of the cannabis company Ascend and a frequest Boston Public Radio contributor.