Mar 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Warnock calls wave of voting restrictions "Jim Crow in new clothes"

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Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

In his maiden Senate speech on Wednesday, Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) called the push for voting restrictions by Republicans in his home state of Georgia "Jim Crow in new clothes" and urged Congress to pass new voting protections at the federal level.

Why it matters: Georgia swung blue for President Biden in 2020 and both 2021 Senate races, giving Democrats control in the 50-50 Senate. But the GOP-led state legislature is now advancing measures to roll back and restrict voting access for constituents.

  • Similar efforts are popping up in other legislatures, including Arizona and Florida.

Yes, but: The Senate is currently considering their version of the House's "For the People Act," which would allow universal same-day voting registration, ban the purging of voter rolls, allow all voters to vote by mail, and enact automatic voter registration for Americans age 18 and up.

  • But the bill requires Republican support, as it needs 60 votes to pass the Senate.

What he's saying: "Politicians in my home state and all across America in their craven lust for power launched a full-fledged assault on voting rights. They are focused on winning at any cost — even the cost of the democracy itself," Warnock said.

  • "I submit that it is the job of each citizen to stand up for the voting rights of every citizen, and it is the job of this body to do all that it can to defend the viability of our democracy," he added.
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