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After 2020 loss, GOP targets voting restrictions

First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter.
Voters cast their ballots on Nov. 3, 2020 in Gilbert, Ariz.
Voters cast their ballots on Nov. 3, 2020 in Gilbert, Ariz.Courtney Pedroza / Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — If at first you don’t succeed, try, try — to change how the contest is conducted.

That’s the backdrop for all of the legislation across the country that would restrict voting access in the wake of Donald Trump’s presidential loss back in November.

Republicans hold legislative majorities and governorships in 24 states — including battlegrounds like Arizona, Florida, Georgia, even Texas — and 22 of them are pursuing voting restrictions.

Eleven of these states are attempting to replace restrictions on mail-in voting, according to research from the Brennan Center compiled by NBC’s Caitlin Hartman (Arizona, Georgia, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Idaho, Florida, South Carolina, Iowa, Alaska and South Dakota).

Nine are trying to create barriers for casting mail ballots (Arizona, Oklahoma, Iowa, Alaska, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Idaho, Indiana).

Nine are seeking to expand voter-roll purges (Alabama, Arizona, Mississippi, New Hampshire, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Florida).

Eight are trying to limit voter-registration opportunities (Alaska, Arizona, Iowa, Mississippi, Texas, Montana, New Hampshire, Georgia).

And eight are attempting to implement stricter voting ID laws (Arkansas, Arizona, Missouri, New Hampshire, Nebraska, Wyoming, Georgia, Idaho).

NBC’s Jane Timm spotlights the legislative activity in one of these states: Texas.

“More than two dozen GOP-sponsored elections bills are under consideration in the Legislature as lawmakers seek to tighten ID requirements and voter rolls, limit early voting and up the penalties for errors,” Timm writes.

The disconnect here: Republicans, for the most part, bested Democrats in Texas, as well as places like Florida and Iowa.

The other disconnect: The one major person who’s currently being investigated for wrongdoing related to the 2020 election is ... Donald Trump.

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What to watch for in politics this week

There are three events we’ll be watching and covering this week in American politics.

One, President Biden hits the road to sell the Covid-19 relief bill he signed into law last week, traveling to Battleground Pennsylvania (on Tuesday) and Battleground Georgia (on Friday). And today, he delivers remarks at 1:45 p.m. ET on the implementation of the new law, while Vice President Kamala Harris heads to Nevada to visit a vaccination clinic.

Two, Wednesday, March 17 brings us the deadline for supporters of the recall effort against California Gov. Gavin Newsom to submit the nearly 1.5 million valid signatures needed to trigger the recall. (Organizers say they’ve already collected 2 million signatures.)

And three, on Saturday, March 20, the jungle congressional primaries in Louisiana take place to fill the seats vacated by former Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., (who’s now working in the Biden administration) and the late Rep.-elect Luke Letlow (who passed away from the coronavirus back in December). If no candidate gets more than 50 percent in Louisiana's second and fifth district jungle primaries, the top two finishers advance to a runoff on April 24.

Here are other events on our political calendar:

April 6: First Democratic Virginia governor's debate

April 29: Biden's 100th day in office (starting with Jan 20)

April 30: Biden’s first full 100 days in office

May 1: Special election in Texas’ 6th congressional district

May 8: Virginia GOP convention

June 8: Virginia GOV primary (D); N.J. primaries

June 22: Primaries in New York City mayoral race

Nov. 2: Election Day 2021

Data Download: The numbers you need to know today

29,559,651: The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, per the most recent data from NBC News and health officials. (That’s 158,125 more than Friday morning.)

537,517: The number of deaths in the United States from the virus so far, per the most recent data from NBC News. (That’s 4,141 more than Friday morning.)

107,060,274: Number of vaccine doses administered in the U.S.

10.9 percent: The share of Americans who are fully vaccinated.

45: The number of days left for Biden to reach his 100-day vaccination goal.

ICYMI: What else is happening in the world

Voting rights advocates say we’re at a “once in a generation” moment for progress.

Biden is tapping Gene Sperling to oversee implementation of the Covid relief bill.

Janet Yellen is working towards a global minimum tax on corporations.

Anthony Fauci says Trump should push his supporters to get the vaccine.

Stimulus checks are starting to hit Americans’ bank accounts.

Biden weighed in on the Andrew Cuomo controversy — and he’s not calling for the governor to resign (yet.)

Priorities USA is repositioning itself to sell Biden’s agenda.

Capitol Police will start to scale back the fencing put up after January 6.

It sure looks like Eric Greitens is mounting a comeback bid for Senate.