Biden: States’ voting bills are biggest test for US democracy since Civil War

Washington, Jul 13 (EFE).- The president of the United States said Tuesday that election changes already enacted or being pursued by several Republican-controlled states constitute the biggest threat to American democracy since the 1861-1865 Civil War.

In a speech in Philadelphia, Joe Biden denounced the attempted state election law overhauls by the Republican opposition, saying they are aimed at denying African-American and Hispanic citizens – voters who consistently support the Democrats by wide margins – the right to vote.

“We’re facing the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War,” Biden said. “That’s not hyperbole. Since the Civil War. The Confederates back then never breached the Capitol as insurrectionists did on January the 6th.”

Referring to claims by his predecessor that the November 2020 presidential election was marred by widespread fraud, Biden reiterated that Donald Trump was promoting a “Big Lie” and said “the 2020 election was the most scrutinized election ever in American history.”

“Challenge after challenge brought to local, state, and election officials; state legislatures; state and federal courts – even to the United States Supreme Court not once, but twice,” the president said. “In every case, neither cause nor evidence was found to undermine the national achievement of administering this historic election in the face of such extraordinary challenges” posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The Big Lie is just that: a big lie,” Biden said.

Nevertheless, Trump’s insistence that his re-election bid only failed due to fraud – and his supporters’ demands that state election laws be changed in states like Georgia, Texas and Arizona – have led the country to a dangerous moment, he asserted.

“So hear me clearly: There is 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 – who we are as Americans,” Biden said.

“This year alone, 17 states have enacted – not just proposed, but enacted – 28 new laws to make it harder for Americans to vote, not to mention, and catch this, nearly 400 additional bills Republican members of the state legislatures are trying to pass,” the president added.

He said Americans should be alarmed by this effort and insisted it is a “national imperative” to pass the federal For the People Act, also known as HR 1, which would establish uniform nationwide election standards.

Among other things, that legislation would require states to offer same-day voter registration for federal elections and hold early voting for at least two weeks and would establish automatic voter registration.

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives passed that bill in a party-line vote in March, but Republicans in the Senate – which is evenly split 50-50 between GOP and Democrats (including two independents who caucus with them) – blocked it last month via filibuster. EFE


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