Georgia Gov. Kemp: 'We're Actually Expanding the Right to Vote in Georgia'

By Susan Jones | March 26, 2021 | 6:35am EDT
Georgians wait to vote in the January 5 Senate runoff elections. (Photo by VIRGINIE KIPPELEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Georgians wait to vote in the January 5 Senate runoff elections. (Photo by VIRGINIE KIPPELEN/AFP via Getty Images)

( - "We need to have secure, accessible, fair elections," Georgia's Gov. Brian Kemp told Fox News on Thursday, the same day he signed voting reform legislation that Democrats have portrayed as racist and restrictive.

"What this bill actually does, despite the rhetoric from those that are fund-raising off this issue and really polarizing it, to take away from the unconstitutional power grab of H.R.1 that's going on in Washington, D.C., right now, is it further secures our absentee ballots by mail by requiring a photo I.D. requirement, which the vast majority of Georgians support," Kemp told Fox News's Neil Cavuto.

It also is adding days of early voting on the weekend. So, we're actually expanding the right to vote in Georgia. Now, you`re not hearing that from the other side, but that's what the truth is. And that's what it's doing, Neil, as well as further securing absentee ballot boxes, which didn't exist before.

And it's completely contrary to what they're trying to do in D.C. by doing away with the state's photo I.D. requirement, by doing away with it being illegal to harvest ballots in Georgia, making that mandatory at the federal level.

I have fought very hard for over a decade now to keep our voter rolls secure, when I was in secretary of state, and certainly support -- support that as governor. And you wouldn`t be able to do that with H.R.1.

So, I think the people really need to look at who's trying to restrict things is, the Democrats in Washington, not Republicans that continue to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat.

President Joe Biden told a news conference on Thursday bills like the one Kemp signed in Georgia are "un-American" and "sick."

A reporter asked Biden, "Are you worried that if you don't manage to pass voting rights legislation, that your party is going to lose seats and possibly lose control of the House and the Senate in 2022?"

"What I'm worried about is how un-American this whole initiative is," Biden replied:

It's sick. It's sick, 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 o'clock when working people are just getting off work, deciding that there will be no absentee ballots under the most rigid circumstances.

It's all designed--and I'm going to spend my time doing three things. One, trying to figure out how to pass legislation passed by the House, number one. Number two, educating the American public. The Republican voters I know find this despicable -- Republican voters, the folks out in the--outside this White House. I'm not talking about the elected officials. I'm talking about voters, voters.

And, so I'm convinced that we'll be able to stop this because it is the most pernicious thing. This makes Jim Crow look like Jim Eagle. I mean, this is gigantic what they're trying to do and it cannot be sustained. I'll do everything in my power, along with my friends in the House and the Senate, to keep that from--from becoming the law.

Responding to Biden, Gov. Kemp said, " Well, if he thinks expanding weekend voting is un-American, and if he thinks having a photo I.D. requirement to go vote is un-American, then perhaps we shouldn't have to go through the airport or deal with all kinds of I.D. requirements when you're getting federal benefits and other things.

I mean, I think he -- he obviously doesn't realize what's in the final version of the Georgia bill. He`s probably been reading things on Twitter from people that are fund-raising, saying that we`re restricting or limiting in Georgia. And that's not the case.

We're securing the vote. I think most people want that, whether they're Democrat, Republican, or somewhere in between. Everybody wants to have confidence in the elections. I believe that`s what we're doing in Georgia.

We're still waiting on the final bill to pass, but certainly the photo I.D. requirement, allowing flexibility and adding days of weekend voting to give hardworking Georgians the ability to cast their ballot, but doing it in a secure way, is the most American thing that you can do in this country.

The Georgia legislature sent the final bill to Kemp for his signature after the governor spoke to Fox News.

Kemp later told a news conference that after the November 2020 election, he knew "that significant reforms to our state elections were needed."

"We quickly began working with the House and Senate on further reforms to make it easy to vote and hard to cheat. The bill I signed into law does just that."

He explained some of what's in the Georgia bill:

First and foremost, SB202 replaces the signature match process with a state-issued-ID requirement to request and submit an absentee ballot. When voting in person in the state of Georgia, you must have a photo ID. It only makes sense for the same standard to apply to absentee ballots as well.

For example, the November 2020 election saw a 350 percent increase in the use of absentee balloting, over 1.3 million absentee ballots total when compared to election day in 2018. This obviously led local election workers to have to process far more ballots using a time-consuming labor-intensive, and at times, arbitrary process. By moving to a state issued ID requirement, instead of a signature match, Georgia will dramatically streamline the verification process on absentee ballots.

SB202 also secures all ballot drop boxes around the clock, speeds up processing to ensure quicker election results, requires security paper to allow for authentication of ballots, and allows the bipartisan state election board to have more oversight over counties who failed to follow state election law.

And contrary to the hyper-partisan rhetoric you may have heard inside and outside this gold dome, the facts are that this new law will expand voting access in the Peach State. Every county in Georgia will now have two mandatory Saturdays of early voting and the option of two Sundays of early voting. Georgians will no doubt be soon overwhelmed with fancy TV ads, mailers, and radio spots, attacking this common sense election reform measure.

In fact, left wing groups funded by out-of-state billionaires are already doing that now. They’re using outrageous false rhetoric to scare you and put millions of dollars in their own pocket. They’re threatening to boycott Georgia businesses in the middle of a pandemic because they oppose election integrity. According to them, if you support voter ID for absentee ballots, you’re a racist. According to them, if you believe in protecting the security and sanctity of the ballot box, you’re a quote, “Jim Crow in a suit and tie,” end quotes.

I’ve fought these partisan activists tooth and nail for over 10 years to keep our elections secure, accessible, and fair. Like before, I’m sure they will threaten, boycott, sue, demonize, and team up with their friends in the national media to call me everything in the book, but fighting for free and fair elections is worth all of that and more. Standing up for the constitutional rights of all Georgians is part of the oath I took as your governor and and you have my word, I will continue to uphold that oath. Putting hard work in Georgians first starts with ensuring that your voice is heard in restoring each and every citizen’s confidence in their vote.

With SB202 now becoming law, Georgians should know what the alternative being pushed by the other side contains. In Washington, D.C., Democrats on the left are showing exactly what their dangerous agenda is for all elections across the country, including here in the Peach State. By trying to ram House Resolution 1 through Congress, the contrast could not be clearer. While strengthening our voter ID laws here in Georgia, H.R.1 would remove ID requirements on voting.

The bill signed by Kemp bars outside groups from handing out food or water to people waiting in line to vote, and critics cite that as another outrageous voting restriction.

Also See:
Georgia Gov. Kemp: 'We're Actually Expanding the Right to Vote in Georgia'


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