President Joe Biden will make a statement Friday about the Georgia’s sweeping Republican-sponsored overhaul of state elections that includes new restrictions on voting by mail and greater legislative control over how elections are run.
Watch the press briefing stream in the video player above.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters the president was “watching closely,” developments affecting voting rights in the state.
Biden called such GOP efforts “un-American” and “sick” during a news conference Thursday.
And a group of voter mobilization groups filed a lawsuit late Thursday in federal court in Atlanta challenging the new law.
Psaki said the president’s view was that “it should not be harder, it should be easier to vote.”
Democrats and voting rights groups say the law will disproportionately disenfranchise voters of color. It is one of a wave of GOP-backed election bills introduced in states around the country after former President Donald Trump stoked false claims that fraud led to his 2020 election defeat.
As Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp was delivering remarks after the signing, he was interrupted by a commotion before a livestream of the event cut out.
Democratic state Rep. Park Cannon, who is Black, was arrested by Capitol police amid a protest after knocking on the door of the governor’s office during his remarks.
Video captured by a bystander shows Cannon, who is handcuffed with her arms behind her back, being forcibly removed from the Capitol by two officers, one on each arm. She says “where are you taking me?” and “stop” as she is taken from the building.
Cannon was charged with felony obstruction of law enforcement, punishable by one to five years in prison, and with disrupting a session of the General Assembly. She was released late Thursday night.
Psaki said the White House was “deeply concerned” about the treatment of Cannon as well as the law.
The Georgia law requires a photo ID in order to vote absentee by mail, after more than 1.3 million Georgia voters used that option during the COVID-19 pandemic. It also cuts the time people have to request an absentee ballot and limits where ballot drop boxes can be placed and when they can be accessed.
Psaki also said the White House was monitoring closely the storms that hit the southern part of the country and stood ready to offer assistance if it was requested.