Raphael Warnock Urges Americans to 'Stand Up' to Georgia Voting Law Change

Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock has said that the state's new law, which adds restrictions to voting, should be of concern to all Americans—calling their response a "defining moment" for U.S. democracy.

The law passed by Georgia's GOP-majority legislature creates stricter ID requirements for absentee voting limits drop boxes and makes it a crime to offer food and water to people lining up to cast their ballot.

"These are politicians who are trying to hold on to power," Sen. Warnock told The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC on Friday. "That's what this is, it's a power struggle and they've decided they're going to hold on to power no matter what, even if it costs the democracy itself.

"The only people who can ultimately correct this are the people themselves. So we've all got to stand up and say 'no' to this."

Warnock told the MSNBC anchor that the legislation had wider ramifications for the U.S.

"If this is happening in the state Capitol in Georgia, it will not take very long for it to visit a state Capitol near you," the Democrat lawmaker said.

He added: "If you think this is something happening down in Georgia, you are misapprehending the moment that we are living in," he said, "this is a defining moment for the American democracy."

"In a real sense this is about something much more profound. It is about whether we are who we say we are. Either we're a democracy or we're not.

"Either we believe in the idea of one person, one vote or we don't. Either I'm a citizen or I'm not," he added.

Sen. Raphael Warnock on #Maddow "This is a defining moment for American democracy. If this is happening in the state capitol in Georgia, it will not take very long for it to visit a state capitol near you." pic.twitter.com/QESSwQ2xqf

— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) March 27, 2021

The changes follow the false claims peddled by the former President Donald Trump and his allies that the election in Georgia, which went to a Democrat, was marred by voter fraud.

Democrats say the measures disproportionately target Black voters and President Joe Biden has called the law an "atrocity", describing it as "Jim Crow in the 21st century" referring to the legislation that enforced racial segregation in the South.

Similar law changes are being considered in legislatures across the country. Georgia has joined Iowa in passing changes to voting rules, and there are 253 such bills in 43 states, according to the left-leaning Brennan Center for Justice think tank.

On Thursday, Warnock had condemned the arrest of state lawmaker Park Cannon who was arrested after she knocked on Governor Brian Kemp's door as he was signing Senate Bill 202.

Meanwhile, Kemp is facing further controversy after he was pictured signing the bill whose critics say will disenfranchise Black voters, under a painting of a former slave plantation.

Georgia's secretary of state Brad Raffensperger, whom Trump had reportedly pressured to "find" votes to reverse his loss in the state in the 2020 election, defended the new laws, saying they would ensuring new security measures and expand access.

"The cries of 'voter suppression' from those on the left ring as hollow as the continuously debunked claims of 'mass voter fraud' in Georgia's 2020 election," Raffensperger said.

Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock
Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock at the US Capitol on February 13, 2021, in Washington, DC. The Georgia lawmaker warned voter restrictions just passed in his state will spread throughout the U.S. Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images