Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) on Sunday decried Georgia’s new overhaul of its election rules, days after President Biden issued a blistering statement characterizing the legislation’s provisions as “Jim Crow in the 21st century.”
Appearing on CNN Sunday morning, Warnock was asked about the new Georgia voting law that heightens ID requirements for absentee voting, limits drop box use and prohibits the distribution of food and drinks for voters waiting in line.
Pressed on whether he thinks the legislation is a backlash to his re-election campaign next year, Warnock made clear that the issue isn’t about him, but that he is more concerned about preserving democracy.
Warnock argued that politicians focusing on their own “political ambitions” is what led to the passage of the restrictive voting legislation by Georgia’s Republican-controlled legislature in the first place.
Warnock decried the new Georgia voting law as a way for lawmakers to “cherry pick” their own voters.
“You had legislators who are running scared. So rather than having the people select their politician, the politicians try to cherry pick their voters,” Warnock said. “This is an assault on the covenant we have with one another as an American people and it is my job to protect it.”
Warnock later reiterated his concerns over the preservation of democracy.
“We have big arguments in our country about the direction, the things we need to do. But at the end of the day, the four most popular words are: the people have spoken,” Warnock said. “We cannot allow politicians to silence the people, crowd them out of their own democracy.”
Pressed on whether Biden should prioritize federal voting rights over infrastructure, which the President said was his next big legislative priority during his first formal press conference in office on Thursday, Warnock replied that it’s possible to “walk and chew gum at the same time.”
“We got to work on the infrastructure of our country, our roads and our bridges and we got to work on the infrastructure of our democracy,” Warnock said.
In addition to Biden’s remarks that took aim at the Georgia’s overhaul of election rules, Warnock’s remarks also come days after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) insisted that there is “nothing ‘Jim’ Crow” about requiring voter identification to submit an absentee ballot.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) also issued a separate statement on Friday brushing off claims about voter suppression.
“We don’t have systemic voter suppression, and we don’t have mass voter fraud,” Raffensperger said. “What we have is systemic lies for political gain that have led to a loss of public confidence in our elections.”
On Friday, Black community groups filed a lawsuit challenging some of the provisions in the new Georgia voting law, which the groups have said are unconstitutional and a violation of the Voting Rights Act.
Watch Warnock’s remarks below:
Sen. @ReverendWarnock (D-GA) on new restrictions on voting: "You had legislators who are running scared. So rather than having the people select their politicians, the politicians try to cherry pick their voters. This is an assault on the covenant we have with one another…" pic.twitter.com/lQVVonZgXu
— The Recount (@therecount) March 28, 2021