President Joe Biden intervened days after the sweeping new ballot restrictions in Georgia were enacted and said the Justice Department is investigating the new law.
‘We don’t know exactly what we can do at the moment. The Justice Department is also taking a look, ”Biden confirmed as he spoke to reporters outside the White House.
The new laws have been attacked and civil rights groups are taking them to court. But the strongest words are reserved for the president who called them an “atrocity” of a law and said the US Department of Justice was “taking a look.”
Among other things, the Republican-backed law imposes stricter identification requirements, limits dropboxes and gives lawmakers the power to take over local elections, and shortens the early voting period for all second elections.
President Joe Biden says Georgia’s new law on voting limits is “an atrocity.”
It also makes it a crime for people to offer food and water to voters in line, in a state where people sometimes wait hours in the heat to vote.
The legislation has alarmed Democrats, who just months ago celebrated historic victories in the presidential election and two senate campaigns in Georgia that helped give control of the White House and US Senate to their Washington party.
“It has nothing to do with honesty, nothing to do with decency. They passed the law saying you can’t give water to people standing in line while waiting to vote? You don’t need anything else to know that this is nothing but punitive, meant to keep people from voting. Can’t water people who are going to vote? Give me a break, ”he said.
Biden, narrowly won the state of Georgia in the 2020 election, becoming the first Democratic presidential candidate in three decades to win.
Protesters gathered on a busy street corner to voice their opposition and share details with local residents about a sweeping overhaul of Georgia state’s electoral laws.
On Friday, he accused Republicans there and in other states of a widespread attack on the right to vote.
“ It’s an atrocity, ” Biden told reporters, comparing the restrictions to racist ‘Jim Crow’ laws introduced in Southern states in the decades following the American Civil War of 1861-1865 to legalize racial segregation and black citizens from right.
The president has urged Congress to pass voting rights legislation that would contravene Georgian law and other bills proposed by Republican state legislatures across the country that appear to make voting more difficult.
“This law, like so many others pursued by Republicans in state houses across the country, is a blatant assault on the constitution and a good conscience,” Biden said.
A group of protesters held a rally outside Atlanta City Hall on Saturday to protest a new sweeping voting bill signed into law.
This is Jim Crow in the 21st century. It must end. We have a moral and constitutional obligation to act. I 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 added.
Biden noted how long queues at polls disproportionately affect black voters in metropolitan areas, as Republican officials have reduced polling stations in their neighborhoods.
Recently, the House passed the For the People Act, a bill that covers elections and campaign finance reform.
It is unlikely to pass into the Senate where Republicans oppose its contents.
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp in the photo says there is ‘nothing Jim Crow’ about Georgia’s new voting law and accuses Biden ‘and his attendants’ for not reading it
Democrats hold a majority of 50 seats in the Senate, but most legislation requires 60 votes.
A coalition of civil rights organizations sued the state in Atlanta federal court hours after Governor Kemp signed the legislation into law on Thursday, arguing that the measures are intended to make it more difficult for people – particularly black voters – to cast their vote.
Republicans have argued that such voter suppression does not appear in the Georgia bill.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said “cries of voter oppression from those on the left.” Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp said it made elections safer.
Democrats say the new voting law will restrict voter access and deny black voters the right to vote. The photo shows voters waiting in line to vote during the special election to the senate in Georgia
In a statement following Biden’s comments, Kemp said the law “ensures election integrity.”
“There’s nothing ‘Jim Crow’ about demanding a photo or state-issued ID to vote in absentia – every voter in Georgia should do this when they vote in person,” he said. “President Biden, the left and the national media are determined to destroy the sanctity and security of the ballot box.”
Other Republican-controlled state lawmakers are pushing for ballot restrictions in states on the election battlefield, including Florida and Arizona, after former President Donald Trump repeatedly blamed his loss to Biden over mass voter fraud without evidence.
Democrats and voters have said the restrictions, which the Georgian legislature has adopted with Republican backing only, will further harm voters in minority communities already plagued by long queues and inadequate electoral infrastructure.
While disputing his national loss to Biden, Trump focused much of his energy on Georgia. At one point, he personally called Republican State Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, urging him to “ find ” votes Trump claimed were missing.
That phone call is part of a criminal investigation by prosecutors into whether Trump violated election laws by pressuring officials to change the results.
In a statement on Friday, Trump applauded Georgia’s Republicans for their action.
“They learned from the travesty of the 2020 presidential election, which should never happen again,” he said.
Trump’s false claims about voter fraud have bolstered long-standing Republican warnings that tougher laws are needed, despite research showing that such cases are extremely rare.