Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed an ‘election integrity’ bill into law on Thursday which gave the GOP-controlled state legislature greater influence over a board that regulates elections and empowers it to remove local election officials deemed to be underperforming.
Biden immediately condemned the bill, arguing that Kemp was directly hurting minority voters with a slew of roadblocks, including restrictions on mail voting and shorter voting hours.
‘What I’m worried about is how un-American this whole initiative is,’ Biden said of voter suppression in Republican states. ‘It’s sick. Sick.’
Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, attacked Biden’s rhetoric in an interview with Fox News on Sunday.
‘What’s sick is for the president of the United States to play the race card continuously in such a hypocritical way,’ Graham said.
Sen Lindsey Graham lashed out at President Joe Biden after he called Georgia’s new election law as an ‘atrocity’ and ‘Jim Crow in the 21st Century’
‘Any time a Republican does anything, you’re a racist,’ Graham continued. ‘If you’re a white conservative, you’re a racist. If you’re a black Republican, you are either pop or uncle Tom.
‘They use the racism card to advance the liberalism agenda.’
The senator went to criticize Democrats’ proposed legislation to overhaul elections, the ‘For The People’ Act, also known as House Resolution 1.
H.R. 1, which passed in the House earlier this month, includes several voting rights efforts that have largely been rejected by Republican politicians, including the expansion of mail-in balloting.
It would also make Election Day a federal holiday across the United States.
Mail-in voting was a central target of Donald Trump’s accusations of voting fraud during the 2020 presidential election, despite a lack of evidence tying fraud to mail-in voting, which was expanded due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In his Fox News interview on Sunday, Graham called H.R. 1 ‘the biggest power grab in the history of the country’.
Host Chris Wallace then directed the conversation back to the Georgia bill, noting that it would ban people from being given water while they wait in line at the polls.
‘Well, all I can say is that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. I agree with you there,’ Graham replied.
‘But in Georgia, you had an explosion of mail-in balloting. The Carter Baker Commission in 2005 looked at our election system and they had two warnings for us: Absentee mail voting is rife for fraud and ballot harvesting where an individual can collect ballots on behalf of other people is a threat to democracy as we know it.
‘Both of those provisions are in H.R. 1, so if you don’t like what they’re doing in Georgia, you can go to court and stop them.
‘But what they’re doing with it H.R. 1 is destroying the ability of any state to run elections, doing away with voter ID, changing the federal election commission to make it part of and institutionalizing national ballot harvesting, which would be a disaster to our elections.’
Protesters gather to voice their opposition to a far-reaching overhaul of the Georgia’s election laws. Voting rights groups say the new law will target black residents who make up roughly a third of the state’s population
The Georgia law contains a number of restrictive measures including elimination of mobile voting vans, which reduced long lines on Election Day in heavily Democratic areas, and criminalizing the distribution of food or water to people waiting to vote.
It also standardizes voting hours from 9am to 5pm with a maximum of 7am to 7pm, and requires a state-issued ID to request a mail-in ballot. The law also bans handing out water and food to voters waiting in line at the polls and limits ballot drop boxes.
Gov Kemp defended his bill in a statement on Saturday.
‘It is obvious that neither President Biden nor his handlers have actually read SB 202, which I signed into law yesterday,’ Kemp said.
‘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.’
Gov Brian Kemp said there’s ‘nothing Jim Crow’ about Georgia’s new voting law
Kemp, a Republican, became governor in 2018 after he won in a race against Stacey Abrams, a powerful Democratic lawyer who many credited for the Democrats win during the runoff election for Georgia’s two US Senate seats in January.
He had previously served as 27th Secretary of State of Georgia from 2010 to 2018 before he was elected governor.
‘As Secretary of State, I consistently led the fight to protect Georgia elections against power-hungry, partisan activists,’ Kemp said in the statement. ‘As Governor, I won’t back down from keeping Georgia elections secure, accessible, and fair.’
Kemp continued railing against Biden’s comments in an appearance on Fox News on Saturday when he briefly compared Georgia’s law to that of Biden’s home state of Delaware.
‘I don’t think the president or his handlers compared the Georgia voting law to the state of Delaware where he’s from because we have a lot more opportunities for people to vote early in the great state of Georgia than in Delaware,’ Kemp said.
Kemp claimed that the Georgia law will expand the opportunity for people to vote early in Georgia again and added the ability for people to vote on select Saturdays and Sundays.
‘It is further securing the absentee ballot process by simply adding a photo ID requirement or number from your ID that will actually speed up the absentee balloting by mail process that was very slow after the last election,’ Kemp said.
Voters are seen casting their ballots in the U.S. Senate run-off election, at a polling station in Marietta, Georgia on January 5
When asked by Fox News about Democratic concerns that the bill will disenfranchise black and minority voters, Kemp asked voters ‘to simply find out what’s in the bill.’
‘I would urge them to do just that and ask themselves, who is being truthful here,’ Kemp said.
‘Is it the governor and the legislature that just voted on this bill? Or is it a lot of these third party groups that are making millions of putting this false narrative out there? Or the president who obviously doesn’t know what his own voting laws are in his own state.’
Kemp reiterated his statements about how photo IDs are already required for voting in person.
‘We already have that requirement in our law for when you go vote in person. Before our last election an average of 95 percent voted in person so people are used to using the ID to vote in Georgia,’ Kemp said.
‘So it’s not a big deal like people are making it out, and if you don’t have an ID then we’ll give you one for free.’
Kemp then addressed claims from critics of the law who allege that it removes the ability to use drop boxes for voting.
‘That was never in the law. That has never been in the state law of Georgia. We did that in this bill, we’re just going to make sure it’s a secure process and that those drop boxes are monitored,’ he said.
In Biden’s statement, the president claimed the new law will ‘deny people the right to vote.’
‘More Americans voted in the 2020 elections than any election in our nation’s history,’ Biden said.
‘In Georgia we saw this most historic demonstration of the power of the vote twice – in November and then again in the runoff election for the U.S. Senate seats in January. Recount after recount and court case after court case upheld the integrity and outcome of a clearly free, fair, and secure democratic process.’
Biden then accused Republicans of rushing through an un-American law to deny people the right to vote.
‘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,’ Biden claimed.
‘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 sites across the state, disproportionately in black neighborhoods.’