In the aftermath of widespread uncertainty and speculation surrounding the outcome of November’s election, Georgia lawmakers passed a range of reforms aimed at tightening ballot security and ensuring voter integrity.
Shortly after those measures were signed into law this week by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, President Joe Biden spoke out to clearly voice his displeasure.
“Nothing to do with decency”
Calling the statewide election-related reforms an “atrocity,” the president went on to hyperbolically compare them to the racist segregation laws implemented during the Jim Crow era.
Biden’s over-the-top comparison came in the form of a formal statement issued by the White House on Friday. He also expressed outrage in remarks to reporters prior to boarding Marine One the same day.
“It’s an atrocity,” the president replied. “The idea — 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 for people standing in line while they’re waiting to vote.”
Biden further asserted that critics “don’t need anything else to know that this is nothing but punitive design to keep people from voting.”
Reiterating his opposition to one specific, he added: “You can’t provide water for people about to vote? Give me a break.”
“Not as strong”
After arriving in Delaware later in the day, Biden fielded a reporter’s question about his “strong words” regarding the Georgia election law.
Instead of backing down from his assertions, however, he said that his remarks were “not as strong” as he had been thinking.
As for a possible response from his administration, Biden affirmed that his Department of Justice “is taking a look” at the Georgia law to determine if it is illegal or unconstitutional and could be challenged at the federal level.
The president is not the only public figure to register concerns about the provision banning volunteers from distributing food and water to voters waiting in line. As PolitiFact explained, however, the measure has been somewhat misconstrued and actually just bolsters existing Georgia law that prohibits any “gift-giving” to voters by candidates or advocacy groups acting on their behalf.
Other provisions in the new law include allowing the state to take control of poorly performing local election boards as well as reducing the span of time during which a special runoff election can be held.