“This is Jim Crow in the 21st Century. It must end,” Biden said in a written statement.
The bill swiftly made its way through the Georgia legislature and was signed by Gov. Brian Kemp Thursday.
Meanwhile, former President Trump congratulated Georgia on passing its sweeping election reform Friday.
“Congratulations to Georgia and the Georgia State Legislature on changing their voter Rules and Regulations. They learned from the travesty of the 2020 Presidential Election, which can never be allowed to happen again. Too bad these changes could not have been done sooner!” the former president said in a statement.
Kemp denied the “Jim Crow” accusation. “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,” the governor said. “It is obvious neither President Biden nor his handlers have read SB 202.”
Biden said the Peach State had seen the “most historic demonstration of the power of the vote” in 2020, which saw record turnout in Georgia and a Democratic sweep of two Senate seats and the vote for the presidency.
“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,” Biden said.
“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,” he continued.
In a separate comment in response to a reporter’s question, Biden called the law “an atrocity” that had “nothing to do with decency.”
The bill standardizes voting hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or as long as 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. It requires two Saturdays of early voting instead of one and makes two Sundays optional for early voting. It continues to allow absentee voting without offering a reason but requires a state-issued ID to request a ballot. The bill also bans handing out water and food to voters waiting in line at the polls and shortens runoff elections from 9 weeks to 4 weeks.
The bill also limits ballot drop boxes, requiring them to be placed at early voting locations and only available while the precinct is open. The law tilts some power over elections to state lawmakers and the Georgia State Elections Board.
The bill would also wrest election authority from Georgia’s secretary of state, allowing the legislature instead to appoint a chair of the state election board.
Republicans said the bill would drum up faith in Georgia’s election system that had wavered after Trump’s repeated unproven claims that there was widespread election fraud in the state.
“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 to access the ballot box and prevent attacks on the sacred right to vote,” Biden said in the statement.
The For the People Act, HR 1, bans states from requiring photo ID to vote; raises barriers for states to clear voter rolls; requires states to offer drop boxes for 45 days before an election; and reshapes the FEC, among other provisions. Republicans say the bill vastly expands federal power over state elections and is designed to solidify Democratic control of the government.