In the aftermath of the 2020 election, a number of Republicans called for game-changing election and voting reforms that drew immediate criticism from many on the left. Last week, Georgia became the first state to pass some of those reforms and as a result, drew intense criticism from high-profile Democrats, including President Joe Biden.
According to the Washington Examiner, Biden held nothing back on Friday as he called Georgia’s new election-related laws an “atrocity,” and suggested that the laws were a form of voter suppression, adding that he believes that the new laws are “designed to keep people from voting.”
What laws were passed?
A number of new voting and election reforms were enacted in Georgia last week when Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed off on the “Election Integrity Act of 2021.” The reformed voting laws cover everything from absentee ballots to new requirements that voters in the Peach State previously didn’t have to worry about.
One of the most controversial laws to come out of the bill are the new requirements for showing identification, meant to tighten up verification processes. Voters will be required to submit a driver’s license or state identification number when requesting an absentee ballot, replacing the controversial signature match method.
In addition, the period in which Georgia voters can request absentee ballots was virtually slashed in half, from 180 days to just 11 weeks.
In the days after the 2020 election, a number of Georgia election officials were highly criticized for taking so long to count ballots, especially since many of them shut down the counting process in the middle of the night. That will no longer be the case, as one of the new laws requires that ballots are counted until completion, without any stoppages. That should result in much faster election results in the future.
Kemp reportedly issued a statement upon signing the 98-page bill into law, saying: “Georgia will take another step toward ensuring our elections are secure, accessible, and fair.”
The 46th president, for his part, was clearly unhappy with the passing of the reforms and went along with the narrative that the new laws are essentially forms of voter suppression, specifically the suppression of Black voters.
“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?” Biden told reporters, adding that there’s plenty of proof that the bill is meant to be “punitive” and designed to keep certain people from voting, according to the Washington Examiner.
The president also referred to Georgia’s new election and voting requirements as what he believes is an example of “Jim Crow in the 21st Century.”
“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,” Biden said on Friday, according to BBC.
Only time will tell if the new laws have any impact on future election results in the state, but it’s clear that Democrats will continue to criticize the changes by painting them as a form of racism, which appears to be an easy way to bring in the media attention.