Brett Samuels and Marty Johnson, The Hill, July 13, 2021
President Biden didn’t hold back in his speech Tuesday afternoon on the urgent need for voting rights protections, labeling the onslaught of restrictive voting laws in states with Republican-controlled legislatures modern-day Jim Crow discrimination.
“They want to make it so hard and inconvenient that they hope people don’t vote at all,” Biden said in Philadelphia, referencing an effort in Texas to pass a new elections law. “That’s what this is about. This year alone, 17 states have enacted — not just proposed but enacted — 28 new laws to make it harder for Americans to vote, not to mention nearly 400 additional bills Republican members of the state legislature are trying to pass.”
“The 21st-century Jim Crow assault is real,” Biden added. “It’s unrelenting. And we’re going to challenge it vigorously.”
Biden’s speech came as pressure grows on Democrats to get their voting rights bills, which would combat many of the laws that have been introduced across the country this year, through Congress and to the president’s desk.
The president described new voting laws as “pernicious,” citing efforts in some states to install partisan officials to oversee the certification of election results.
“Some state legislators want to make it harder for you to vote,” Biden said. “And if you vote, they want to be able to tell you your vote doesn’t count for any reason they make up. They want the ability to reject the final count and ignore the will of the people if their preferred candidate loses.”
Georgia earlier this year passed a law that expands early in-person voting hours, requires additional voter ID to complete mail-in voting, reduces the number of ballot drop boxes in some locations, and makes it a crime for anyone other than election workers to provide food or water to people standing in line.
Texas lawmakers are considering a bill that would implement limits on early voting, curbside voting and drop boxes, prohibit round-the-clock voting centers and voting facilities in outdoor structures such as parking garages, and scrap straight-ticket voting.