Updated Jul 13, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden warns: "The 21st century Jim Crow assault is real"

Joe Biden
Photo: Bloomberg / Getty Images

President Biden delivered remarks on Tuesday addressing efforts to curb voting rights in GOP-led states, saying the "21st century Jim Crow assault is real."

Why it matters: Biden noted Republican lawmakers across the United States have introduced nearly 400 bills in the past year in attempts to restrict voting rights. State lawmakers have enacted nearly 30 laws since the 2020 election aimed at restricting ballot access, per a June 21 tally by the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law.

The big picture: Biden implored Congress to take action to protect voting rights by passing the For the People Act as well as the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

  • The president spoke of the historic turnout in the 2020 election as well as the unprecedented challenges mounted against the results by Republicans.
  • "No other election has ever been held under such scrutiny, and such high standards. The big lie is just that. A big lie."
  • Biden added that legislation is "one tool" to protect voting rights, and the Justice Department will be "using its authorities to challenge the onslaught of state laws undermining voting rights."

What he's saying: "There's an unfolding assault taking place in America today, an attempt to suppress and subvert the right to vote in fair and free elections. An assault on democracy, an assault on liberty. An assault on who we are," Biden said.

  • "They want the ability to reject the final count and ignore the will of the people if their preferred candidate loses," Biden said of lawmakers pushing for voting restrictions.
  • "We are facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War. That's not hyperbole," he added.
  • "We have to forge a coalition of Americans of every background and political party. The advocates, the students, the faith leaders, the business executives. And raise the urgency of this moment."
"We're going to face another test in 2022. A new wave of unprecedented voter suppression and raw and sustained election subversion. We have to prepare now."

Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

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