The law, which Kemp approved Thursday after the state’s Republican-controlled legislature approved the bill, calls for changing the rules and processes for requesting an absentee ballot, including requiring voters to present valid forms of photo identification. It also limits drop boxes and the early voting period for runoffs.
The Georgia bill, H.B. 513, “further secures” Georgia’s “absentee ballots by mail by requiring a photo I.D., which the vast majority of Georgians’ support,” the governor said. “It is also adding days of early voting on the weekends.”
House Democrats have introduced H.R. 1, the For the People Act, which would expand absentee voting, end gerrymandering and restrict “dark money” political donations, among other things, on a national level.
Kemp called H.R. 1 an “unconstitutional power grab” in a Thursday interview with Fox News.
“We’re expanding the right to vote in Georgia. You’re not hearing that from the other side. That’s what the truth is, as well as further securing absentee ballot boxes, which didn’t exist before,” he said.
Democrats, including civil rights advocates, have argued that the legislation is a throwback to Jim Crow-era laws and puts voters of color at a disadvantage.
Stacey Abrams, who ran against Kemp in 2018, tweeted Thursday that the law targets “Black and brown voters” and led “to the arrest of a Black legislator who was advocating for the voting rights of her constituents,” which she said is a “reminder of Georgia’s dark past.”
President Biden echoed that sentiment in a Friday statement condemning H.B. 513 as “an attack on the right to vote in Georgia.”
“Instead of celebrating the rights of all Georgians to vote, Republicans in the state instead rushed through an un-American law to deny people the right to vote,” Biden said. “… This is Jim Crow in the 21st Century. It must end.”
Fox News’ Brittney de Lea contributed to this report.