President Biden blasted Georgia’s newly-passed voting legislation as an “un-American law to deny people the right to vote.”
“This is Jim Crow in the 21st Century. It must end,” Biden said in a statement.
The bill swiftly made its way through the Georgia legislature and was signed by Gov. Brian Kemp Thursday.
The president said the Peach State had seen the “most historic demonstration of the power of the vote” in 2020, which saw record turnout in Georgia and a Democratic sweep of two Senate seats and the vote for the presidency.
“Instead of celebrating the rights of all Georgians to vote or winning campaigns on the merits of their ideas, Republicans in the state instead rushed through an un-American law to deny people the right to vote. This law, like so many others being pursued by Republicans in statehouses across the country, is a blatant attack on the Constitution and good conscience,” Biden said.
“Among the outrageous parts of this new state law, it ends voting hours early so working people can’t cast their vote after their shift is over. It adds rigid restrictions on casting absentee ballots that will effectively deny the right to vote to countless voters. And it makes it a crime to provide water to voters while they wait in line – lines Republican officials themselves have created by reducing the number of polling sites across the state, disproportionately in Black neighborhoods,” he continued.
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The bill standardizes voting hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or as long as 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. It requires two Saturdays of early voting instead of one and makes two Sundays optional for early voting. It continues to allow absentee voting without offering a reason but requires a state-issued ID to request a ballot. The bill also bans handing out water and food to voters waiting in line at the polls and shortens runoff elections from 9 weeks to 4 weeks.
The bill also limits ballot drop boxes, requiring them to be placed at early voting locations and only available while the precinct is open. The law tilts some power over elections to state lawmakers and the Georgia State Elections Board.
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The bill would also wrest election authority from Georgia’s secretary of state, allowing the legislature instead to appoint a chair of the state election board.
“I once again urge Congress to pass the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to make it easier for all eligible Americans to access the ballot box and prevent attacks on the sacred right to vote,” Biden continued.
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The For the People Act, HR 1, bans states from requiring photo ID to vote; raises barriers for states to clear voter rolls; requires states to offer drop boxes for 45 days before an election; and reshapes the FEC, among other provisions. Republicans say the bill vastly expands federal power over state elections and is designed to solidify Democratic control of the government.