President Biden denounced recent attempts by Republican lawmakers across the U.S. to enact stricter requirements that could make it more difficult for people to vote, calling the efforts “sick” and "un-American."
During the first press conference of his presidency, Biden was asked if he was worried that the current wave of restrictive voting measures being pushed by Republican state legislators — many of which seem tailored to have a negative impact on minority and young voters — would result in Democrats losing control of the House and Senate in 2022.
“I'm worried about how un-American this whole initiative is,” Biden replied. “It’s sick. Deciding in some states that you cannot bring water to people standing in line; deciding that you’re going to end voting at [5 p.m.] when working people are just getting off of work. It’s all [by] design.”
Biden said he plans to counter the Republican efforts in several states by figuring out how to “pass legislation passed by the House,” in apparent reference to H.R. 1, a House bill passed by Democrats earlier this month without any Republican support. Known as the For the People Act, H.R. 1 allows for two weeks of early voting nationwide, automatic voter registration and no-excuse mail-in voting.
In stark contrast, Republican-controlled legislatures across the country are reviewing proposals that would, among other things, tighten application periods for absentee ballots, reduce the availability of drop-box locations and allow for the purging of voters from lists of who is eligible to automatically receive mail-in ballots. The bills appear to be a response to the barrage of unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud promoted by then-President Donald Trump, and parroted by his allies, during the 2020 presidential election.
According to an analysis from the Brennan Center for Justice, there are four times as many bills to restrict voting across the 50 state legislatures as there were a year ago.
“I'm convinced that we'll be able to stop this, because it is the most pernicious thing,” Biden said Thursday. “This makes Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle. This is gigantic, what they're trying to do, and it cannot be sustained.”
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