Biden comes to Georgia to take aim at voting laws, urges Senate to act on voting rights

ATLANTA — President Joe Biden took aim at Georgia’s election integrity laws and other laws like it passed by Republican legislatures around the country as he spoke at the Atlanta University Center Tuesday evening.

Biden called those laws undemocratic.

“I’m tired of being quiet!” he said, emphatically pounding the podium. “I will not yield. I will not flinch,” in the effort to protect democracy.

The president was joined by Vice President Kamala Harris as they challenged senators to “stand against voter suppression,” urging them to change Senate rules in order to pass voting rights legislation that Republicans are blocking from debate and votes.

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“We will fight to safeguard our democracy. We will fight to secure our most fundamental freedom, the freedom to vote,” Harris said.

Biden demanded the Senate pass both the voting rights bills now stalled in it and called for the ending of the filibuster rule which Republicans have used to block it.

But he also talked about Georgia’s controversial election integrity law, saying Republicans are using it to suppress the vote.

“Here in Georgia, you’ve done the hard work of democracy. Registering voters, educating voters, getting voters to the polls,” Biden said. “That’s how you won the historic election. Sen. Raphael Warnock and Sen. Jon Ossoff. You did it the right way. The democratic way. And what’s been the action of Republicans in Georgia? Choose the wrong way. The undemocratic way. To them, too many people voting in a democracy is a problem, so they’re putting up obstacles.”

Republicans had plenty to say about the president’s visit, including why they think he should be celebrating some of Georgia’s new voting laws.

Gov. Brian Kemp called Biden’s visit political theater and said, if anything, federal leaders should follow Georgia’s example.

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Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said if the president wants a new voting law, he should start with all states making sure you have to show an ID to vote.

“I am calling for an amendment, a U.S. constitutional amendment, that American citizens are voting in our elections,” Raffensperger said during a news conference Tuesday.

He said if the president wants better voting laws, he should not allow cities like New York and San Francisco to let noncitizens vote in some elections.

Raffensperger said Georgia’s law secures the vote and provides access and there was no widespread voter fraud in recent elections.

“As someone who stood up for Georgia’s 2020 election time and time again, I know how these stolen election claims undermine the confidence in our elections, regardless of where they come from,” Raffensperger said.

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Kemp said Georgia’s newest voting law makes it easy to vote and hard to cheat.

“SB 202 expands early voting opportunities, secures drop boxes around the clock, reduces long lines at polling places,” Kemp said Tuesday.

He said the law also secures the vote by requiring the same voter ID requirements for absentee ballots as in-person voting, something the president should be applauding instead of criticizing.

“Georgia is ground zero for the Biden-Harris assault on election integrity as well as attempts to federalize everything from how hard-working Georgians can run their businesses, to how our kids are taught at school, to how we run elections,” Kemp said.

The U.S. Department of Justice is suing the state of Georgia, saying our voting laws are unfair to minority groups.

But the governor disputes that and says he’s ready to take on the feds in court.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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