In a statement on Friday, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia responded to President Joe Biden’s condemnation of the state’s new law as “Jim Crow for the 21st Century,” accusing the President of pulling “the race card.”
“I can truthfully look in the camera and ask my African-American friends and other African-Americans in Georgia to simply find out what’s in the bill versus just this blank statement of this is Jim Crow or this is voter suppression, or this is racist, because it’s not,” Kemp told Fox News on Saturday.
The law, which adds sweeping new voting restrictions like identification requirements for absentee ballots and limited ballot drop boxes, was signed into law on Thursday after being rushed through the house and senate.
Following the law’s passing on Thursday, three civil rights groups: The New Georgia Project, Black Voters Matter Fund and Rise, Inc. filed a lawsuit in opposition to the restrictions.
“These provisions lack any justification for their burdensome and discriminatory effects on voting,” the lawsuit states.
“Instead, they represent a hodgepodge of unnecessary restrictions that target almost every aspect of the voting process but serve no legitimate purpose or compelling state interest other than to make absentee, early, and election-day voting more difficult—especially for minority voters.”
All three groups are primarily focused on combatting voter suppression. The Black Voters Matter Fund, in particular, aims to “increase power in marginalized, predominantly Black communities,” according to their website.
Additionally, the new law allows state officials to take over election boards, shortens the voting period for runoff elections and makes it a misdemeanor to offer food and water to voters standing in line.
The law comes amid a national effort by republicans pushing for stricter restrictions on voting following the 2020 election. Voting rights activists and experts say that the new restrictions particularly affect Black voters, who were crucial to Biden’s win in the battleground state.