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Snippet of PBS NewsHour: Outcry from Democrats over Georgia's New Election Laws

From Audio: Outcry from Biden, Democrats over Georgia's new elections law

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station description Listen to all of the PBS NewsHour's coverage of U.S. politics, from Yamiche Alcindo... read more
PBS NewsHour - Politics
Duration: 05:42
A new law signed by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp Thursday night imposes a series of new restrictions on elections in the state. Supporters say it's necessary for election security, but as Lisa Desjardins reports, it is drawing ire from voting rights groups and even President Joe Biden.
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A new law signed by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp Thursday night imposes a series of new restrictions on elections in the state. Supporters say it's necessary for election security, but as Lisa Desjardins reports, it is drawing ire from voting rights groups and even President Joe Biden.
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A new law signed by Georgia's governor, Brian Kemp last night imposes a series of new restrictions on elections in the state, one of the first such laws to pass after the 2020 election. Supporters say it's necessary for election security. But as Lisa Desjardin reports, it is drawing ire from voting rights groups and even President Biden, a fast moving issue inside the Georgia state Capitol, where a new election law got final passage and was signed by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp within hours yesterday. Georgia will take another step toward ensuring our elections are secure, accessible and fair, defiant of critics, he said. This will improve elections, but outside his office, why is the governor trying to sign something in private? Critics were at the door because they see voter suppression. One lawmaker, Democratic state representative Park Cannon, began knocking on the door and was arrested after police told her to stop. No, you are not represent outcry over the legislation mounted over the last month. Supporters say the new law, SB 202 increases access primarily by adding another Saturday of early voting. But critics point to myriad other provisions. It shortens the window to get an absentee ballot, it ends signature verification. Instead, absentee voters must have a driver's license number or send a copy of another state ID, and it makes it a crime to offer food or water to voters who are standing in line. Other proposed restrictions were scrapped. The law keeps no excuse absentee voting in place, and it also keeps early voting on Sundays. A proposal to ban that was seen as particularly harmful to turnout efforts by black churches. But the bill in its final form still drew a rebuke from President Biden, who spoke out against the new law today that this is nothing but punitive, designed to keep people from voting. You can't provide water for people about the vote. It may upgrade. The voting overhaul was passed with only Republican support and already faces at least one federal lawsuit filed by voting rights groups quickly after it was signed to discuss the new law. Gabriel Sterling is the chief operating officer of the Georgia secretary of state's office. He's a Republican. Let's start with those words from President Biden. He called this new law and atrocity, he said, quote. It's designed to keep people from voting. I want your response to that. Well, the president is just simply wrong. He's way off base, and this kind of hyperbole is dangerous. Calling these laws voter suppression had the same level of mayors when the president, former President Trump, said there was widespread voter fraud in the state. I want to come back to the idea of voter suppression. Talk about that more. But first, let's talk about the politics. Some say this is openly political move by Republicans to kind of decrease Democratic votes. Now, in November, you told us that the 2020 vote here on news our, uh, that the state did it right and that the vote was secure. A lot of folks who are pushing this law say it's about security. Why push it? If you think there was not a security problem? Well, because we're talking about the elections of the past from the elections in the future, and one of the things we saw was an explosion in the use of absentee ballots in this state. We know that voting in person is absolutely secure because it has photo ID, and in this law we moved to a thing that actually is a better election administration item, which is using a voter ID number, the driver's license number or the last four years social and the date of birth to identify the person as opposed to a subjective signature match, which kind of undermine many people's faith in how that signature matching is done. Having a binary objective measure, it makes it easier and will likely lower rejection rates for those balance. So you're saying this is about the undermining of faith because I know that you have come out and said Signature verification worked, that you did not think there was an issue of fraud? And I ask this because that absentee question is so important who gets to file an absentee? This is where we get to the idea of suppression. There are groups out there saying, adding, this layer of requiring more I'd for people, potentially for the absentee. Taking away the signature verification. That means fewer voters will have access to absentee ballots, and they say that suppression Why do it if signature verification worked Well, there's an irony to this because those very same people sued us to get rid of signature verification. Just last year and they lost so they can't have it both ways. So this is a way that's easier for counties to administer. It's better for voters. It is more secure. And like I said, we'll lower rejection rates. The hyperbole around this, this is the issue we have Democrats fair five ST Saviour's Whatever groups they need, the voter suppression there. Before this law was passed or signed, the press releases ready. It said. Georgia passes voter suppression, insert whatever they passed here. They have to keep that narrative because that helps them raise money and really gin up their supporters to get out and vote. The reality of this is this law is it expands early voting. It protects no excuse absentee and now mandates drop boxes where they were going to go away because they were part of the health emergency before altogether. They've never been allowed in law under Georgia until now. This is about this is really expanded voter access and all the people saying that it's not there simply engaging in the same kind of disinformation President Trump was about mass voter fraud. They're saying this is voter suppression and both are wrong and both undermine democracy and people's faith in the overall election system.
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