Fact Checking Joe Biden’s Speech on Voting Rights Legislation
President Joe Biden appeared in Atlanta on Tuesday to give a speech on voting rights legislation. During the speech, the president made several misleading and inaccurate statements.
During his discussion of mail-in voting, Biden claimed that former President Donald Trump voted by mail in the 2020 election, despite his many criticisms of the practice. While Trump did cast a vote-by-mail ballot in the 2020 primary election, he voted in person in the general election, taking advantage of early voting.
Biden went on to claim that “the new Georgia law actually makes it illegal—think of this—I mean, it’s 2020, and now ’22, going into that election—it makes it illegal to bring your neighbors, your fellow voters food or water while they wait in line to vote.”
Biden is referring to SB 202, a voting bill signed into law by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp in March 2021, which, among other things, prohibits outside groups or people from distributing anything that could be construed as a gift to voters—including food or water—within 150 feet of a polling place or 25 feet of a line to a polling place. Other states have similar provisions in place, with Montana banning anyone affiliated with a candidate from handing out food or drink to voters in line. In New York, nothing greater than $1 in value can be given to anyone at a polling place. While the language of Georgia’s law has been interpreted as being broader than these other states—it bans anyone from distributing food or water in line, not just people explicitly linked to campaigns—it’s still possible for election workers to provide water to voters. As noted by The Morning Dispatch at the time: “Polling places, however, can make self-service water receptacles available to voters waiting in line.”