WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 06:  U.S. President Joe Biden delivers remarks on the state of vaccinations in the U.S. in the State Dining Room of the White House April 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. President Biden announced that states should make all adults eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by April 19.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
'Smarten up': Biden admonishes states' restrictive voting laws
01:12 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

President Joe Biden said Tuesday that it is “reassuring” to see businesses “speaking up” about restrictive voting laws, but added that he respects whatever judgment a corporation may make as part of its response.

When asked on Tuesday whether he thinks the upcoming Masters Tournament should be moved out of Augusta, Georgia, in response to the recent signing of the state election law that the administration has criticized, Biden said, “I think that’s up to the Masters.”

The comments come a week after the President indicated during an interview with ESPN that he would support Major League Baseball’s decision to take action in response to Georgia’s new voting law. Subsequently, MLB announced that its All-Star Game and draft would not be held in Atlanta, and now, the league says the game will take place in Denver.

“It is reassuring to see that for-profit operations and businesses are speaking up about how these new Jim Crow laws are just antithetical to who we are. There’s another side to this too. The other side to it, too, is when they in fact move out of Georgia, the people who need the help the most, the people who are making hourly wages, sometimes get hurt the most,” Biden said following a speech on Covid at the White House. “I think it’s a very tough decision for a corporation to make or a group to make. But I respect them when they make that judgment, and I support whatever judgment they make.”

The Biden administration has heavily criticized the Georgia legislation, which was signed into law by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp last month. It imposes new voter identification requirements for absentee ballots, limits the use of ballot drop boxes, makes it a crime to approach voters in line to give them food and water and gives state officials more power over local elections.

Since Biden’s previous comments about the All-Star Game and MLB’s subsequent decision to move its game out of Georgia, the White House has been pressed on whether the President or the administration will encourage others to take their business out of the state.

Lawmakers in all but three states have introduced bills in state legislatures this year that would restrict ballot access, according to a recent tally by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University.

On Tuesday, Biden told reporters that “the best way to deal with this is for Georgia and other states to smarten up. Stop it. Stop it. It’s about getting people to vote.”