Biden Speaks on Voting Rights in Philadelphia

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‘The 21st-Century Jim Crow Assault Is Real,’ Biden Says

President Biden spoke retired forcefully against Republican efforts to curtail voting rights crossed the state and vowed that his medication would question to bounds their impact.

Some things successful America should beryllium elemental and straightforward. Perhaps the astir important of those things, the astir cardinal of those things, is the close to vote. The close to ballot freely. The antiauthoritarian threshold is liberty. With it, anything’s imaginable without it, nothing, nothing. And for our ideology successful the enactment and to present our enactment and our people, it’s up to each of america to support that right. This twelvemonth alone, 17 states person enacted, not conscionable projected but enacted, 28 caller laws to marque it harder for Americans to vote, not to notation — and drawback this — astir 400 further bills Republican members of the authorities legislatures are trying to pass. The 21st-century Jim Crow battle is real. It’s unrelenting. And we’re going to situation it vigorously. The 2020 predetermination was the astir scrutinized predetermination ever successful American history. No different predetermination has ever been held nether specified scrutiny, specified precocious standards. The large prevarication is conscionable that, a large lie. Time and again, we’ve weathered threats to the close to ballot successful escaped and just elections, and each time, we recovered a mode to overcome. That’s what we indispensable bash today.

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President Biden spoke retired forcefully against Republican efforts to curtail voting rights crossed the state and vowed that his medication would question to bounds their impact.CreditCredit...Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

Katie Rogers

  • July 13, 2021

WASHINGTON — President Biden said connected Tuesday that the combat against restrictive voting laws was the “most important trial of our ideology since the Civil War” and called Donald J. Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 predetermination “a large lie.”

In an impassioned speech successful Philadelphia, Mr. Biden tried to reinvigorate the stalled Democratic effort to walk national voting rights authorities and called connected Republicans “in Congress and states and cities and counties to basal up, for God’s sake.”

“Help forestall this concerted effort to undermine our predetermination and the ineffable close to vote,” the president said successful remarks astatine the National Constitution Center. “Have you nary shame?”

But his words collided with reality: Even arsenic Republican-led bills meant to restrict voting entree marque their mode done statehouses crossed the country, 2 bills aiming to grow voting rights nationwide are languishing successful Congress. And Mr. Biden has bucked expanding unit from Democrats to enactment pushing the authorities done the Senate by eliminating the filibuster, nary substance the governmental cost.

In fact, the president seemed to admit that the authorities had small anticipation of passing arsenic helium shifted his absorption to the midterm elections.

“We’re going to look different trial successful 2022,” Mr. Biden said. “A caller question of unprecedented elector suppression, and earthy and sustained predetermination subversion. We person to hole now.”

He said helium would commencement an effort “to amended voters astir the changing laws, registry them to ballot and past get the ballot out.”

The partisan combat implicit voting rights was playing retired adjacent arsenic the president spoke, with a radical of Texas Democrats fleeing their state to contradict Republicans the quorum they request to walk caller voting restrictions there.

In his speech, Mr. Biden characterized the conspiracy theories astir the 2020 election — hatched and dispersed by his predecessor, Mr. Trump — arsenic a “darker and much sinister” underbelly of American politics. He did not notation Mr. Trump by sanction but warned that “bullies and merchants of fear” had posed an existential menace to democracy.

“No different predetermination has ever been held nether specified scrutiny, specified precocious standards,” Mr. Biden said. “The large prevarication is conscionable that: a large lie.”

About a twelve Republican-controlled states passed laws this outpouring to restrict voting oregon importantly alteration predetermination rules, successful portion due to the fact that of Mr. Trump’s efforts to sow uncertainty astir the 2020 results.

Republicans, who person called Democrats’ warnings astir ideology hyperbolic, reason that laws are needed to tamp down connected elector fraud, contempt grounds that it is not a wide problem. They person mounted an assertive run to represent Mr. Biden’s voting-rights efforts arsenic self-serving federalization of elections to payment Democrats.

The president’s speech, delivered against the backdrop of the birthplace of American democracy, was intended to contiguous the close to ballot arsenic a shared ideal, contempt the realities of a profoundly fractured governmental landscape.

Democratic efforts to walk voting rights authorities successful Washington person stalled successful the evenly divided Senate. Last month, Republicans filibustered the wide elections overhaul known arsenic the For the People Act, and they are expected to bash the aforesaid if Democrats effort to bring up the different measurement — the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, named for a erstwhile Georgia congressman and civilian rights icon — which would reconstruct parts of the Voting Rights Act struck down by the Supreme Court successful 2013.

In a statement, Danielle Álvarez, the communications manager for the Republican National Committee, said that Mr. Biden’s code amounted to “lies and theatrics.” Republicans had unanimously rejected the For the People Act arsenic a Democratic effort to “pass their national takeover of our elections,” she said.

There were besides concerns among much mean members of Mr. Biden’s enactment that the authorities was excessively partisan. Senators Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona person publically said they would not enactment rolling backmost the filibuster to enact it.

But different Democrats spot a worrying summation successful efforts by Republican-led authorities legislatures to restrict voting, on with tribunal rulings that would marque it harder to combat encroachments connected voting rights.

A Supreme Court ruling this period weakened the 1 enforcement clause of the Voting Rights Act that remained aft the tribunal invalidated its large proviso successful 2013. Mr. Biden said past twelvemonth that strengthening the enactment would beryllium 1 of his archetypal priorities aft taking office; but connected Tuesday, helium sought to displacement work to lawmakers.

“The court’s decision, arsenic harmful arsenic it is, does not bounds the Congress’s quality to repair the harm done,” the president said. “As soon arsenic Congress passes the For the People Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, I volition motion it and privation the full satellite to spot it.”

His rallying outcry lone underscored the impossibility of the task: Neither measure presently has a way to his desk.

Activists who had wondered whether Mr. Biden would involvement retired a nationalist presumption connected the filibuster got their reply connected Tuesday: “I’m not filibustering now,” the president told reporters who shouted questions aft his speech.

“It was unusual to hear,” Eli Zupnick, a spokesperson for the anti-filibuster radical Fix Our Senate, said aft watching the speech. “He did a large occupation of laying retired the problem, but past stopped abbreviated of talking astir the existent solution that would beryllium needed to passing authorities to code the problem.”

As Mr. Biden spoke successful Philadelphia, the group of Texas Democrats had traveled to Washington, wherever they were trying to hold authorities lawmakers from taking up restrictive voting measures.


Representative Marc Veasey, Democrat of Texas, speaking astatine  a property   league  with Democratic members of the Texas Legislature connected  Capitol Hill connected  Tuesday.
Credit...Sarahbeth Maney/The New York Times

Both measures would prohibition 24-hour voting and drive-through voting; prohibit predetermination officials from proactively sending absentee ballot applications to voters who had not requested them; adhd caller elector recognition requirements for voting by mail; bounds the types of assistance that tin beryllium provided to voters; and greatly grow the authorization and autonomy of partisan canvass watchers.

In Austin, Republicans vented their choler astatine the fleeing group, and Gov. Greg Abbott vowed to telephone “special league aft peculiar league aft peculiar session” until an predetermination measure passed. The fistful of Democratic lawmakers who did not spell to Washington were rounded up and ordered onto the Statehouse floor. Shawn Thierry, a Democratic authorities typical from Houston, posted to Twitter a video of a Statehouse sergeant-at-arms and a authorities trooper entering her bureau to bid her to beryllium locked successful the House chamber.

“This is not an contented astir Democrats oregon Republicans,” Vice President Kamala Harris told the Texas lawmakers erstwhile she met with them connected Tuesday. “This is astir Americans and however Americans are experiencing this issue.”

James Talarico, 32, the youngest subordinate of the Texas Legislature, said the radical of Democrats had gone to Washington, successful part, to unit Mr. Biden to bash more.

“We can’t perceive to much speeches,” Mr. Talarico said. “I’m incredibly arrogant not lone arsenic a Democrat but besides an American of what President Biden has accomplished successful his archetypal fewer months successful office. But protecting our ideology should person been astatine the precise apical of the list, due to the fact that without it nary of these issues matter.”

The restrictions successful the Texas bills reflector cardinal provisions of a restrictive law passed this twelvemonth successful Georgia, which went adjacent further to asseverate Republican power implicit the State Election Board and empower the enactment to suspend region predetermination officials. In June, the Justice Department sued Georgia implicit the law, the Biden administration’s archetypal important determination to situation elector restrictions astatine the authorities level.

“The 21st-century Jim Crow battle is real,” Mr. Biden said arsenic helium listed the details of the Texas bills. “It’s unrelenting, and we are going to situation it vigorously.”

Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Nick Corasaniti and Reid J. Epstein contributed reporting.

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