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July 21, 2021 Joe Biden town hall


(Maddie McGarvey for CNN)
(Maddie McGarvey for CNN)

President Biden blasted efforts by Republican legislators to curb voting rights during a CNN town hall Wednesday, calling it “Jim Crow on steroids,” while still maintaining his support for the legislative filibuster which stands in the way of Democrats passing federal legislation on a party-line basis. 

“I stand by what I said — never before has there been an attempt by state legislatures to take over the ability to determine who won — not count the votes, determine who won,” Biden warned.

“With election officials across the board that they’re deciding to push out of the way, and if in fact tomorrow, as they say, we’re running last time and these laws had been in effect, that are these changes, in Georgia, the Georgia legislature says, ‘Oh, Biden won by multiple thousand votes,’ they could say, ‘We don’t think it was legit,’ and the state legislature votes, ‘We’re gonna send electors up to Congress to vote for Trump, not Biden’ — That’s never ever ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever been tried before. This is Jim Crow on steroids, what we’re talking about,” Biden said. 

The President pointed to what he described as “the abuse of the filibuster,” calling the use of the filibuster “pretty overwhelming.”

Pressed by CNN’s Don Lemon, the President maintained that, despite the severity of the threat to voting rights, he would not support nuking the legislative filibuster. 

“I want to make sure we bring along, not just all the Democrats, we bring along Republicans who I know know better, they know better than this,” Biden said. “And what I don’t want to do is get wrapped up right now, and the argument was that this is all about the filibuster, or look, the American public, you can’t stop them from voting.”

“There’s no reason to protect [the filibuster], other than you’re going to throw the entire Congress into chaos, nothing will get done, right? Nothing at all will get done, and there’s a lot at stake,” Biden added.

Some more context: State lawmakers have enacted nearly 30 laws since the 2020 election that restrict ballot access, according to a new tally as of June 21 by the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law.

The 28 total laws in 17 states mark a new record for restrictive voting laws since 2011, when the Brennan Center recorded 19 laws enacted in 14 state legislatures.



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