President Joe Biden railed against Georgia’s new voter integrity law on Friday, slamming the law as “un-American,” “a blatant attack on the Constitution and good conscience,” and “Jim Crow in the 21st Century.” Biden repeated false claims about Georgia’s elections system and mischaracterized key parts of the bill.
Biden celebrated the record number of voters in the 2020 election and claimed that “recount after recount and court case after court case upheld the integrity and outcome of a clearly free, fair, and secure democratic process.” He did not mention the last-minute election rules changes due to COVID-19 or the Time expose about a “conspiracy” to “save” the election for Biden. While efforts to contest election results failed in court, that is not the same thing as proving a “secure” process.
Glossing over well-founded concerns, Biden condemned Georgia Republicans for rushing 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 declared. “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. 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.”
“This is Jim Crow in the 21st Century. It must end,” Biden continued, ratcheting up the hyperbole to 11. “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.”
In other words, because the Trump campaign failed to prove that Biden did not win the 2020 election, Biden urged America to pass H.R. 1, a law that guts election integrity and free political speech.
Biden’s accusation about Republican officials creating long lines for black voters is blatantly false.
Georgia’s “election system is set up to be administered at the local level, so there are 159 election systems that report to the (secretary of state). As such, the counties can’t pass the buck completely to [Secretary of State Brad] Raffensperger,” Emory political scientist Andra Gillespie told 11Alive last year. “And given Fulton County’s history of election day issues, they will be perceived as having to bear responsibility for a lot of the problems.”
The Georgia law requires photo ID for voters requesting absentee ballots, a key reform after the system only required signature matching in 2020, a policy that raised serious concerns about absentee voting.
The Georgia bill does ban handing out water to voters in line — because it may be an inducement to vote. The law stipulates that no person shall “give, offer to give, or participate in the giving of any money or gifts, including, but not limited to, food and drink” to anyone within a polling place, within 150 feet of a building where voting takes place, or “within 25 feet of any voter standing in line to vote at any polling place.” However, self-service water stations are acceptable.
Biden can disagree with some of the provisions of the law, but nothing in the law justifies the racialist rhetoric. Georgia’s election integrity law is absolutely not “Jim Crow in the 21st Century,” and it is far from un-American to defend election integrity.
However, such rhetoric is not exactly surprising, coming from a president who has endorsed Marxist critical race theory. That ideology teaches that a hidden racism permeates American society, regardless of laws preventing discrimination.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.