PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN ON Friday blasted a new Georgia voting law as a barely disguised effort to suppress Black voting power, lambasting in unusually harsh terms the state that helped deliver him the presidency and ensured him a working Democratic majority in the Senate.
The Peach State boasted historic turnout in November and again in January, when runoff elections delivered narrow, but critical victories in the Senate for Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, Biden noted.
“Yet 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,” the president said in a statement Friday afternoon.
The president’s remarks came after Georgia speedily enacted a new law drastically controlling the voting process in the state. It adds restrictions on absentee voting – an important tool for people whose job schedules or family obligations make it harder for them to vote in person, especially as happened in Black majority precincts. Lines were hours long. Voting hours were also limited, making voting harder for people who could not leave work during the day.
The measure also bans outside groups from handing out water and snacks to people standing in line and limits the use of mobile voting buses – a perk that helps the carless get to the polls. It adds voter ID requirements for absentee ballots and bans the use of provisional ballots for most out-of-precinct voting, among other provisions.
“It’s an atrocity,” Biden told reporters as he prepared to board Marine One en route to Joint base Andrews and then Delaware. “If 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 to people standing in line while they’re waiting to vote? 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.”