President Biden lashed out at a new Georgia measure signed into law Thursday that restricts voting in the state, likening it to racist Jim Crow-era measures designed to repress Black Americans.
“This is Jim Crow in the 21st Century,” Biden said in a statement released Friday afternoon. “It must end. We have a moral obligation to act.”
Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed the Republican-backed elections bill into law that limits the number of drop boxes for absentee and mail-in ballots, requires identification to be shown for absentee ballots and shortens voting hours. Experts say those three provisions will disproportionately affect Black and low-income Georgia residents.
“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 in his statement. “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 places across the state, disproportionately in Black neighborhoods.”
Thanks in part to strong African American turnout in the 2020 presidential election and in two Senate runoffs, Biden and Democratic senators Rafael Warnock and Jon Ossoff prevailed, dramatically shifting the balance of power in the U.S.
Georgia’s new law is one of dozens nationwide that Republicans in state legislatures have proposed under the premise that fraud is prevalent in U.S. elections, despite a lack of evidence to support that contention.
Biden and his party are hoping to pass legislation that would expand access to voting nationwide, effectively invalidating state restrictions like Georgia’s. In his statement, Biden vowed to “take my case to the American people” that voting rights needed to be bolstered.
“If you have the best ideas, you have nothing to hide,” Biden said. “Let the people vote.”
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