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Georgia passes voting restrictions hours after Biden calls such bills ‘un-American’

Georgia’s state legislature on Thursday passed a new Republican-sponsored bill that restricts voting by mail and reforms elections in several ways in response to the 2020 elections, reports The Associated Press.

President Biden had sharp criticism for bills like these earlier on Thursday during his first press conference. Asked about a Democratic voting rights bill that would overhaul federal election laws and make it easier for more people to vote, Biden expressed worry that state-level voting restriction bills in Republican legislatures could deepen voter suppression in “despicable” ways.

“What I’m worried about is how un-American this whole initiative is. It’s sick,” he said. “Deciding in some states that you cannot bring water to people standing in line waiting to vote? Deciding that you’re going to end voting at 5:00 when working people are just getting off work? Deciding that there will be no absentee ballots under the most rigid circumstances? … The Republican voters I know find this despicable.”

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Georgia’s legislation is part of a larger “Republican war on voting,” The New Yorker says, outlining the 253 restrictive bills under consideration in 43 states this year, and noting that Arizona and Georgia are two of the states with the largest number of vote-limiting bills. Georgia’s new law will require a photo ID to vote absentee by mail, cut the time period voters have to request an absentee ballot and limit where ballot drop boxes can be placed and when they can be accessed, AP reports.

Georgia’s Gov. Brian Kemp (R) took issue with Biden’s “un-American” comment after the press conference, and argued Biden must simply not fully understand Georgia’s voting bill. Kemp is expected to sign the newly passed bill into law shortly.

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