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Biden assails Georgia voting law as an 'atrocity'

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Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp second from right leaves the Georgia State Capitol Building after he signed into law a sweeping Republican-sponsored overhaul of state elections that includes new restrictions on voting by mail and greater legislative control ove

"I've never once stood in line for even five minutes where I get to vote".

President Biden echoed that sentiment in a Friday statement condemning H.B.

"We have heard testimony from county election officials. that more time is needed to fully understand the fiscal and logistical impacts the provisions in these bills would have", she said. "Let the people vote".

Having seen what can happen when systemically marginalized groups of voters are engaged and mobilized and have access to voting resources, Georgia lawmakers are working hard to make sure that never happens again.

To apply to vote by mail, voters will have to provide an identification number from a state-issued ID, like a driver's license or state ID card.

It bans the practice of giving food or water to voters in line.

In his first formal news conference Thursday, Biden parried questions on a litany of topics, but he grew animated and incensed on the subject of state bills aimed at restricting voting.

Third-party absentee ballot applications must be more clearly labeled, state and local governments would not be allowed to send unsolicited applications.

Biden also voiced his strongest challenge to the legislative filibuster, signaling that he could be persuaded to endorse dramatic changes to the Senate procedure if it impedes the critical pieces of his agenda, potentially including voting rights. Republicans say it will more fairly reflect voters' beliefs at the time of the initial vote.

Voting rights advocates say the new rules discourage voters from sticking around in long voting lines. "And if we have to - if there's complete lockdown and chaos as a outcome of the filibuster - then we'll have to go beyond what I'm talking about".

"It's important to remember that Georgia was a leader in requiring a photo ID to vote", Belton wrote.

"Voting is sacred. If they have to change the process to do that, that's fine", Butler said.

Democrats opposed several pieces of the bill, including language that would remove the secretary of state as chair of the State Election Board, allowing the SEB and lawmakers a process to temporarily take over elections offices and limiting the number, location and access to secure absentee drop boxes.

Still, resistance from enough Democratic senators - some on policy, others on procedure - will nearly certainly prevent Senate passage of the House bill, absent changes.

Gov. Phil Murphy has urged the implementation of early voting, saying in his January State of the State address that "Regardless of your party affiliation, your vote is your voice and this country is better off when more of us are heard".

Among its numerous provisions, the bill sponsored by state Sen.

Newly elected U.S. Sen.

Kemp said he offered no apology for "taking another step to making our elections fair and secure" but opponents describe the law as among the country's most damaging attempts to limit access to the ballot box and created to reduce the influence of Black voters.

Biden won in Georgia, the first time a Democratic presidential candidate had done so since 1992, and two months later Democrats ousted the Republicans who'd held both of Georgia's U.S. Senate seats. "I respect rules. but no Senate rule should overrule the integrity of our democracy".

Biden commented after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law new restrictions on voting by mail and greater legislative control over how elections are run.

A Democratic state representative was arrested and removed by force after she knocked on Kemp's door to try to witness the signing, the Journal-Constitution reports.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said: "I think anyone who saw that video would have been deeply concerned by the actions that were taken by law enforcement to arrest her when she simply, by the video that was provided, seemed to be knocking on the door to see if she could watch a bill being signed into law".

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