President Joe Biden used both the airwaves and a press release to show his disdain for the major election changes that were signed into law by Governor Brian Kemp. The new law, labeled Jim Crow 2.0 by detractors, was blasted by the president as he left he White House Friday.
"It's an atrocity. The idea -- you want any indication that it has nothing to do with fairness, nothing to do with decency, they passed a law saying you can't provide water, for people standing in line, while they're waiting to vote," President Biden asked rhetorically. "You don't need anything else to know that this is nothing but punitive, designed to keep people from voting. You can't provide water for people about to vote. Give me a break."
Biden was even more blunt in a press release saying, "This is Jim Crow in the 21st Century. It must end. We have a moral and Constitutional obligation to act. 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 access the ballot box and prevent attacks on the sacred right to vote."
Georgia Republicans moved to change election laws in the state after Biden beat President Donald Trump for the state's 16 Electoral College votes last November. President Trump then began a campaign claiming unproven voter issues with the election and other conspiracy theories. Georgia Republicans then suffered a second straight loss when both Senate seats in the state went to the Democrats in a January 5 runoff election. The Democratic victories gave the party control of the Senate.
Georgia Republicans are not alone in seeking to alter voting laws in ways that detractors say would only benefit the GOP. Numerous other states with GOP-led legislatures have filed similar bills to limit or alter elections and voting access. For Democrats at the state level, there are few options to block the changes, which has them turning to the federal government for help.
Senate Democrats have promised to push forward with voting rights laws, but Republicans have vowed a filibuster, which would derail any possibility of Democrats enacting national laws looking to preserve the right to vote and the access to the vote. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Biden may be faced with the question in the coming weeks of keeping the filibuster and allowing the GOP-led states to continue to change election laws to the perceived detriment of Democrats, or get rid of the filibuster to try to push forward voting rights bills.
So far, many Democrats have rallied around the idea of doing away with the filibuster. However, Senator Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema of West Virginia and Arizona respectively have vowed to support the filibuster, which would derail any attempts to get rid of the Senate procedure.
Governor Kemp responded to Biden's criticism late Friday with a statement that read:
It is obvious that neither President Biden nor his handlers have actually read SB 202, which I signed into law yesterday. This bill expands voting access, streamlines vote-counting procedures, and ensures election integrity. There is nothing ‘Jim Crow’ about requiring a photo or state-issued ID to vote by absentee ballot – every Georgia voter must already do so when voting in-person. President Biden, the left, and the national media are determined to destroy the sanctity and security of the ballot box. As Secretary of State, I consistently led the fight to protect Georgia elections against power-hungry, partisan activists. As Governor, I won’t back down from keeping Georgia elections secure, accessible, and fair.