Biden told reporters that the White House and the Justice Department are looking into anything the federal government can do about Georgia’s new voting law, which he called “Jim Crow of the 21st Century.”
Republicans’ response to the dual Democratic wins in the state in November and January was to rush “through an un-American law to deny people the right to vote,” Biden said in a statement released earlier.
“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,” Biden said. “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.”
Calling it “Jim Crow in the 21st Century,” Biden said, “It must end.”
He said he will advocate directly to the American people that Democratic policies “make it easier for all eligible Americans to access the ballot box and prevent attacks on the sacred right to vote.”
“If you have the best ideas, you have nothing to hide,” he said. “Let the people vote.”
Before departing Washington for Delaware, he spoke directly to reporters about the new Georgia law.
“It’s an atrocity. 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 said. “You don’t need anything else to know that this is nothing but punitive, designed to keep people from voting. You can’t provide water for people about to vote? Give me a break.”
He spoke to reporters again when he landed in Delaware about whether there was anything the federal government could do about the Georgia law.
“Well, we’re working on that right now,” the president said. “We don’t know quite exactly what we can do at this point. The Justice Department’s taking a look as well.”
A White House official said after Biden’s remarks that the president “was just assuming that this was an issue the Department of Justice would look at, nothing more.”
A Justice Department spokeswoman said the agency was “aware of the law, but have no further comment.”
Vice President Harris also condemned Georgia’s new law in a gaggle with reporters, calling it “abusive practices” designed to block “whole populations from voting.”
Matt Zapotosky contributed to this report.