President Biden on Friday described the new election rule that Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia signed into law as an “atrocity.”
The rewrite of the state’s election laws, known as SB202, passed along a party-line vote and has outraged Democrats and voting-rights activists who say the aim is to curtail access to the ballot box and disenfranchise voters.
GOP officials and proponents of the law say attacks against the new rules are bogus and not based on facts.
Mr. Biden has a different take, telling reporters Friday the law “has nothing to do” with fairness or decency.
“They passed a law saying you can’t provide water to people standing in line while they’re waiting to vote?” he said. “You don’t need anything else to know that this is nothing but punitive, designed to keep people from voting.”
“You can’t provide water for people about to vote,” Mr. Biden said. “Give me a break.”
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said Friday that Democrats and national news outlets are portraying the law in a false light.
“The cries of ‘voter suppression’ from those on the left ring as hollow as the continuously debunked claims of ‘mass vote fraud’ in Georgia’s 2020 election,” Mr. Raffensperger said in a statement. “We don’t have systematic voter suppression, and we don’t have mass voter fraud.”
“What we have is systemic lies for political gain that have led to a loss of public confidence in our elections,” he said.
The new law adds an ID requirement to request and vote via absentee ballot after 1.3 million people voted that way in the 2020 election.
The state previously relied on a signature-verification process for absentee ballots.
The law reduces the time to request absentee ballots and establishes new rules for use of ballot drop boxes.
It reduces the time to request absentee ballots.
It also gives the legislature more control over administering the elections, in part by removing the secretary of state as head of the elections board and replacing them with a new appointee of the legislature.
The changes follow a contentious and chaotic election cycle in which former President Trump insisted that the election was stolen from him in Georgia.
Mr. Trump criticized GOP leaders in the state for not doing more to scrutinize the outcome.
Mr. Kemp and Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan pushed back, saying Mr. Trump’s claims were based on misinformation and bogus accusations.
Mr. Trump last week endorsed Rep. Jody Hice’s bid to replace Mr. Raffensperger, signaling he’s out for payback.
• This story is based in part on wire service reports.
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