Friday, 2 April 2021

'Our tone is not changing': Jen Psaki doubles down in attacks on Georgia election law making it harder to vote absentee after fact-checkers fault Biden for claiming it stops voting at 5pm

 White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki tore into Georgia's new state election law Thursday, after President Joe Biden compared it to Jim Crow laws but was rebuked by fact-checkers for his statement about how it impacts the times when people can vote. 

Psaki was asked about the new law, which has prompted public complaints by leading Atlanta-based companies including Delta Airlines and Coca-Cola, amid calls by some community groups to boycott the state amid charges of voter suppression.

The state's Republican Governor Brian Kemp signed it after the GOP legislature passed it – following former President Donald Trump's election overturn effort even as courts and state election officials shot down his claims of voter fraud.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki slammed a new Georgia state election law that President Biden has also attacked, although fact checkers have poorly rated one of his claims about it

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki slammed a new Georgia state election law that President Biden has also attacked, although fact checkers have poorly rated one of his claims about it

Washington Post fact-checker gave President Joe Biden 'four Pinocchios' after he said the law would 'end voting at five o'clock when working people are just getting off work.'

Although the law has infuriated Democrats and many voting rights advocates, its positions provisions on hours set poll times on Election Day at 7 am to 7 pm. It lets counties set early voting times at 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., but establishes 9 a.m. to 5 p.m as a minimum.

An old law stated that 'voting shall be conducted during normal business hours' but the new one standardizes it at 9 to 5.


A Washington Post fact-checker gave President Joe Biden 'four Pinocchios' after he said the law would 'end voting at five o'clock

A Washington Post fact-checker gave President Joe Biden 'four Pinocchios' after he said the law would 'end voting at five o'clock 

Voters line up to cast their ballots outside of a polling location after Democratic and Republican primaries were delayed due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. June 9, 2020.

Voters line up to cast their ballots outside of a polling location after Democratic and Republican primaries were delayed due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. June 9, 2020.

Republican Governor Brian Kemp signs the law S.B. 202, a restrictive voting law that activists have said aimed to curtail the influence of Black voters who were instrumental in state elections that helped Democrats win the White House and narrow control of the U.S. Senate

Republican Governor Brian Kemp signs the law S.B. 202, a restrictive voting law that activists have said aimed to curtail the influence of Black voters who were instrumental in state elections that helped Democrats win the White House and narrow control of the U.S. Senate

A reporter asked Psaki if the White House would be issuing a correction of Biden's comments. 

'It standardizes the ending of voting every day at five, right?' Psaki asked him, continuing with a series of questions. 'It just gives options? It gives options to expand it, right, but it standardized it at five. It also makes it so that outside groups can't provide water or food to people in line, right? It makes it more difficult to absentee vote – are those things all correct?'

The reporter told her about the Election Day times and said early voting 'can standardize, adding Saturday and Sunday.'

Then he asked: 'Is the tone going to change out of the White House?' 

'The tone for a bill that limits voting access and makes it more difficult for people to engage in voting in Georgia?' Psaki asked.

'That's actually not what the governor of Georgia has said,' the reporter followed. 

 'I think that is not based in fact, what the governor of Georgia has said, so o, our tone is not changing,' she said.


She said it makes it 'harder and more difficult to vote by limiting absentee options' and repeated her other statements. 

Biden blasted the law again on ESPN Wednesday night. 'This is Jim Crow on steroids, but they're doing it in Georgia and 40 other states,' he said. 'Imagine passing a law saying you cannot provide water or food for someone standing in line to vote. Come on. Are you going to close a polling place at 5:00, where can people just get off? This is all about people, working folks, ordinary folks that I grew up with, from being able to vote.' 

The law does limit providing food or drinks to people in line, although it also allows election officials to set up water stations near polling places.

The political backdrop for the fight is a traditionally Republican state where Biden beat Donald Trump by 11,780 votes and Democrats prevailed in two run-off elections, handing control of the Senate to Democrats. 

Democrat Stacy Abrams turned up the heat on corporations who she blasted for 'mealy-mouthed responses' to the state's law. She said she doesn't think a boycott is required 'yet.' 

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