During a speech on voting rights at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Tuesday, President Joe Biden implored Americans to rise up against new voter laws meant to make it harder for people to vote– and easier for partisan actors to reject votes they don’t like – to stop what the president described as the biggest test of American democracy since the Civil War.
“The 21st century Jim Crow assault is real,” President Biden said. “It’s unrelenting. We’re going to challenge it vigorously.”
“While this broad assault against voting rights is not unprecedented, it’s taken on a new, literally pernicious form,” with state legislatures seeking to pass laws that would allow partisan officials and state legislatures themselves to determine which votes are valid.”
“It’s the most dangerous threat to voting and the integrity of free and fair elections in our history,” Biden said. “It’s unconscionable.”
“They want to make it so hard and inconvenient that they hope people don’t vote at all,” the President said. “This year alone, 17 states have enacted — not just proposed, but enacted — 28 new laws to make it harder for Americans to vote.”
President Biden is urging Congress to act soon and put in place federal laws to protect voters.
“We must pass the For the People Act,” he said. “It’s a national imperative.”
“We must also fight for the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, to restore and expand voting protections and prevent voter suppression,” President Biden said during his speech in Philadelphia.
Republicans started drafting restrictive voting legislation after former President Donald Trump started spreading baseless claims that the 2020 Presidential election was “rigged” and “stolen.”
The 2020 election, Biden said, was “the most scrutinized election in America, ever,” and yet Trump and his supporters continue to insist there was widespread voter fraud, and that the Republican actually won the election.
“The big lie is just that – a big lie,” Biden said to raucous applause.
“In America, if you lose, you accept the results. You follow the constitution. You try again. You don’t call facts ‘fake’ and then try to bring down the American experiment just because you’re unhappy,” he added.
“That’s not statesmanship. That’s selfishness. That’s not democracy; it’s the denial of the right to vote.”
“This isn’t about Democrats or Republicans. It’s about who we are as Americans,” Biden said. “It’s basically about the kind of country we want to be.”