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Georgia Governor Dispels Biden Claims of Jim Crow, Criticism of Drop Boxes, Water Access, Voter ID in New Election Law

By Craig Bannister | April 1, 2021 | 1:40pm EDT
Gov. Brian Kemp
(Getty Images/Sean Rayford)

“I don’t think he has any idea what’s in the bill,” Georgia Governor Brian Kemp (R) said, responding to President Joe Biden’s claims and accusations regarding the state’s new election reform law (SB 202).

In an interview with Daily Signal Chief National Affairs Correspondent Fred Lucas, Gov. Kemp addressed claims and criticism of the new law by Biden and the Democrats, equating it to Jim Crow-era voter- suppression laws and accusing it of depriving voters of drop box availability and depriving them of water while they’re waiting in line to cast their ballots.

Jim Crow Comparisons:

“I don’t think he has any idea what’s in this bill,” Gov. Kemp said of Biden’s claim that Georgia’s law is a return to Jim Crow. “Unbeknownst to the president, it expands early voting opportunities here in Georgia, especially on the weekends,” Kemp noted, claiming that Democrats devised the Jim Crow narrative a month before details of the bill were even finalized:

“I don’t think he has any idea what’s in this bill and really, the people driving this narrative that are benefiting financially off of it don’t really care what’s in the bill. They had their narrative written over a month ago before we worked the final details out.

“But it’s really pretty simple, the bill makes it easy to vote and hard to cheat. It replaces an arbitrary signature match on absentee ballots by mail with the voter ID, which is free in Georgia. It secures ballot drop boxes. It makes sure that the county election officials continuously tabulate all the votes until they’re all counted, don’t take any breaks overnight and things of that nature.

“And then believe it or not, I think unbeknownst to the president, it expands early voting opportunities here in Georgia, especially on the weekends.”

Drop Box Availability:

“To make the case that this was taken away is ridiculous,” Gov. Kemp says, explaining that ballot drop boxes were employed last Novembers as an emergency measure in response to the coronavirus pandemic – and would’ve disappeared if the new law had not made them mandatory:

“Now all 159 counties will have to be required to have at least one drop box that will be available during working hours inside a voting location, so it can be properly monitored, where people can go drop their ballot off.

“To make the case that this was taken away is ridiculous. If we hadn’t included it in the bill, once the public health emergency goes away, the drop boxes would have gone away as well. Because, as you said, it was never in the law to start with.”

Access to Water at Polling Stations:

“The only water he should be concerned with is the water that’s leaking from that dam that’s broken on the southern border right now,” Gov. Kemp said, refuting the claim that people waiting in line to vote would be denied water under the new law.

Voters can still bring food and drink to consume while waiting in line, and counties can still provide water stations – but, campaigners can’t hand out “water or snacks or goodies” within the buffer zones at the front and back of the line, Kemp said. Outside the buffers, they’re free to have cookouts, if they wish, he explained:

“The only water he should be concerned with is the water that’s leaking from that dam that’s broken on the southern border right now.

“But people can still get water. Obviously, a voter can bring a bottle of water, bring a drink, they can bring food with them to the location.

“The counties can provide a water station that voters need, but we’re not going to allow electioneering and allow campaign staff, third-party groups, candidates themselves to hand out water or snacks or goodies while people are within that 150-foot buffer of the precinct or 25 feet within the end of the line.

“You can still set up outside that buffer and sign, wave, and cook hamburgers, and hand out pamphlets.”

ID Requirement Replacing Signature Verification:

Requiring a voter ID “takes out the arbitrary nature of a signature match,” which relies on subjective analysis, Gov. Kemp said, noting that almost all of Georgia’s past voters have used IDs – and those who don’t have them will be given IDs free of charge. Plus, the law provides other ways people can vote, if they don’t want an ID, Kemp said:

“I think it’s going to be a big help and it’s in no way going to alienate or disallow someone from the opportunity to vote because most people have these IDs. If they don’t, we’ll give them one for free.

“And even if you don’t have that, there’s provisions in the bill where you can still get an absentee ballot by submitting other documents that are listed out in the legislation.”

….

“Very easy to get that ID, 97% of the people are already voting with that here in our state, prior to this election, because most people voted in person, only a few voted absentee.”

“Look, don’t just believe me, go fact-check it for yourself,” Gov. Kemp urged in his closing comments.

Read full text of SB 202

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