This week, Georgia Republican Governor Brian Kemp signed a wide-ranging elections reform bill into law that includes provisions like a criminalization of providing water to people standing in line to vote and stricter guidelines around the usage of mail-in ballots, despite the fact that — contrary to claims from ex-President Donald Trump and his allies — no systematic fraud plagued mail-in ballots in 2020 or during any other recent U.S. elections. Following Kemp’s signing of the legislation, President Joe Biden condemned the policy changes as an “atrocity.”
Speaking to reporters outside the White House, Biden commented as follows:
‘It’s an atrocity. The idea — you want any indication that it has nothing to do with fairness, nothing to do with decency — they passed the law saying you can’t provide water for people standing in line while they’re waiting to vote? 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.’
There’s no reasonable connection between banning providing water to people waiting in line to vote and stopping systematic fraud that doesn’t even exist. Watch Biden below:
Among other travesties, the new Georgia elections reform legislation also gives state officials new authority over local elections boards, which, advocates have warned, could lead to intervention to stop the certification of certain election results at the county level. After the 2020 presidential election, Trump and his allies repeatedly singled out particular counties for criticism to the point that the then-president personally admonished a top official in the office of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) to examine Fulton County, an Atlanta-area jurisdiction that leans Democratic. What if state officials are in place in the near future who are more keen on following the authoritarian wishes of someone like Trump?
Voting rights lawyer Marc Elias and his team have already filed a lawsuit against the legislation, although the course that this case will take isn’t immediately clear. Elias’s team alleges that the legislation violates the Civil Rights Act and the Fourteenth Amendment, the latter of which insists that no “State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”