(CNN) — Georgia US Sen. Raphael Warnock, in his first Sunday show interview since being elected to Congress in January, slammed the Republican-controlled Georgia Legislature for a massive voting bill that would restrict voter access.
“I think it’s unfortunate that some politicians have looked at the results and, rather than changing their message, they’re busy trying to change the rules,” the Democrat said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Warnock was referring to a key committee in the Georgia Legislature, which began work this week on a massive new voting bill that would give the state broad powers over local election officials, set limits on weekend early voting and add voter ID requirements for absentee ballots.
He also slammed his Republican colleagues in the US Senate for preparing to block a major voting rights bill that Democrats say is critical to beat back restrictions imposed in GOP-led states across the country.
“Voting rights has traditionally has been bipartisan. The last time we reauthorized the 1965 Voting Rights Act, George W. Bush was president, and it passed the United States Senate 98-0,” Warnock said.
He added: “I think the onus is on my colleagues to explain why they’re not supporting voting rights. Voting rights is not just one issue alongside other issues. It is fundamental. It is foundational. It is who we say we are as an American people. It’s the covenant we have with one another. One person, one vote. We’ve got to do everything we can to pass voting rights.”
Georgia has been at the forefront of efforts to set new limits on voting nationwide, following a barrage of false claims by former President Donald Trump that widespread fraud led to his loss to President Joe Biden in November.
There is no evidence of widespread fraud that would have changed the election outcome, and prosecutors in Fulton County, Georgia, are investigating Trump’s attempt to overturn the state’s election results.
Georgia’s changing demographics have made the longtime Republican stronghold a key political battleground.
In November, Biden became the first Democrat in nearly three decades to win the state. And strong voter turnout in January helped send two Democrats, including Warnock, to the US Senate, flipping control of the chamber to their party.
Warnock captured his seat in a special election and will be on the ballot again in 2022.
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