U.S. President Joe Biden has criticized Georgia’s new voting law, in a statement on Friday, comparing it with Jim Crow’s 19th-century laws to justify racial discrimination and liberate the rights of Black citizens in South America. “This is Jim Crow in the 21st century. It must end,” Biden said. Biden said the law violates the US constitution and the justice department is “looking into it”.
The 98-page bill, officially signed on Thursday by Republican Governor Brian Kemp, aims to make a number of changes to the way elections are held in the state. The Democrat party has said the law will prevent access to voting, especially for people of color. The Republican Party says the new law will help restore confidence in the people who lost it in Georgia’s post-2020 elections.
Why the law in Georgia?
Georgia was at the center of the US presidential election last year as it was named as one of the military bases. The state has continued to vote for the Republican party but this changed in the 2020 election as Biden became the first Democrat to defeat Georgia since 1992. Analysts believe the regime turned blue as a large number of people of color voted for the Democrat party.
After the election, the state became the center of voter fraud allegations made by former president Donald Trump and the Republican party, so much so that Trump pressured elected government officials, repeatedly, to investigate the allegations. In two Senate contests in January, Democrats controlled the U.S. Senate as the Georgia Republican lost. Despite the gains made by the Democrats, the government of Georgia is still governed by Republicans that introduced the Election Integrity Act of 2021.
What does the new law say?
The law gives the state electoral board the power to intervene in electoral offices in 159 state constituencies and includes the ID requirements for the absentee voting, replacing the current system that only needs to be signed. The law also restricts the use of ballot boxes which are said to make voting easier. The law also stipulates that the distribution of anything, including food and water to the people who have formed the voting line, is wrong. The new law also shortens the term of office in the state from nine weeks to four weeks, thus reducing the number of campaigns in Georgia which is the only US state that authorizes elections among high-profile candidates in the event of a baptismal candidate.
Three parties, the New Georgia Project, the Black Voters Matter and Rise Inc, have already filed lawsuits alleging that the law violates First and 14 Amendments to the US Constitution and other sections of the Voting Rights Act. The court said that these baseless measures will work in isolation and lead to unconstitutional burdens on the right to vote, to deny or reduce the voting rights of black Georgians, and to deprive Black Georgia voters of equal opportunity to participate in the election process.