Now, after an election year in which Mr. Trump repeatedly and falsely disparaged mail voting as rife with fraud, state Republicans are arguing that mail-in voting needs more restrictions.

There is no new evidence supporting that assertion. But one thing did change in 2020: the increase in Black voters who availed themselves of absentee balloting, helping Democrats to dominate the mail-in ballot results during the presidential election.

“It’s just really a sad day,” Mr. Small, from the Greater Gaines church, said.

“It’s a very challenging time for all of us, just for the inalienable right to vote that we fought so hard for, and right now, they’re trying to turn back the clock to try to make sure it’s difficult,” he said.

Pastor Clarke of St. Philip Monumental said the Republican effort to impose more restrictions could backfire, energizing an already active electorate.

“Donald Trump woke us up,” he said. “There are more people in the congregation that are more aware and alert and have a heightened awareness to politics. So while we know that and we believe that his intentions were ill, we can honestly say that he has woken us up. That we will never be the same.”

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