White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday accused Republicans of deploying “conspiracy theories” to restrict voting across the country, arguing that Georgia’s new voting law is part of a pattern of lawmakers working to whittle away voting access in an issue that is “much bigger than Georgia.”
Psaki’s comments came during a press briefing in response to a question about whether President Biden is regretful that he may have “tipped the scale” in influencing Major League Baseball’s decision to move its 2021 All-Star game from Atlanta, reportedly costing the area $100 million in tourism revenue.
Psaki said Biden was only “answering a direct question during an interview with ESPN” when he indicated on Wednesday that he would “strongly support” moving the July 13 game because of a law he described as “Jim Crow on steroids.”
“We’re not standing here and calling for companies to boycott,” she said. “That’s not what our focus is on from the White House. We do believe that the focus on Georgia is a reminder and should be a reminder, I should say, that this is much bigger than Georgia.”
She continued: “That Georgia was just one of the first states to act on a concerted effort to use easily disprovable conspiracy theories to fuel their attempts to make it even harder for eligible Americans to vote.”
She cited a Brennan Center for Justice analysis that showed 361 bills with restrictive provisions had been introduced in 47 states nationwide as of March 24.
“So this is not just Georgia this is something we are seeing a prevalence of this is a pattern around the country of an effort to make it more difficult to vote,” she said.
However, proponents of the Georgia law deny accusations that it aims to suppress votes, pointing out that the legislation does not place new limits on election day voting hours and makes the state’s elections more secure without restricting voter access. They have also argued that other states, including Biden’s native Delaware, have more restrictive voting regimes.
Psaki’s comments come one day after she refused to answer whether Biden would continue peddling false claims about Georgia’s voting law, including that “the law would end voting at five o’clock when working people are just getting off,” a claim which the Washington Post’s fact-checkers gave four Pinnochios — a rating reserved for the most misleading, incorrect statements — because that part of the law gives counties the option to extend voting hours.
“Well, again, I think the fact-checkers will also tell you that this bill does not make it easier for people across the state of Georgia to vote, and that’s where he has concerns,” Psaki responded.