It is now illegal in Georgia to give food and water to voters online

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It is now illegal in Georgia to give food and water to voters online


Georgia’s sweeping new electoral law contains a number of controversial provisions that will restrict access to the vote.

But one in particular has people shaking their heads.

Under the bill, enacted Thursday night by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, it is now illegal to distribute food or water to people who line up to vote.

“No person shall solicit votes in any way or by any means or method, distribute or display campaign materials, or give, offer to give or participate in the donation of money or gifts, including but not limited to limit yourself to eating and drinking to a voter, ”says the new law.

The law applies within 150 feet of a polling station or within 25 feet of any voter from a polling station. Offenders are guilty of an offense.

But some observers see the provision as an attempt to limit the vote of democratically leaning urban voters and people of color whose constituencies often wait long hours to vote.

An influential black pastor has said he believes the new law is unreasonable and his church will use it to lobby voters.

“We’re going to make a movement out of that,” said Reverend Tim McDonald, senior pastor of First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta. “You know something’s wrong when you can’t give Grandma a bottle of water and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.” ”

McDonald told CNN he already plans to test the law with some civil disobedience. He said that in a future election, his church will challenge police to arrest someone who gives water to an elderly person who is waiting to vote.

Lawyer Walter Shaub, former director of the US Bureau of Government Ethics, also criticized the measure as an attempt to target voters of color.

“Georgia’s bill would make it a crime to give free food or water to voters who stand in line for hours and hours. But we know who these politicians are forcing in line all day, ”Shaub said earlier this month on Twitter. “I never stood in line for even five minutes to vote. This racism is complete. ”

Republicans have defended the measure, dubbed the Electoral Integrity Act of 2021, saying it was necessary to boost confidence in the vote after last year’s election. Kemp said the law “will ensure that elections in Georgia are safe, fair and accessible.”

Georgia, long regarded as a politically red state, turned blue in this recent election as President Joe Biden and two Democratic senators scored narrow victories, spurred in part by a high turnout from black voters.

Georgia’s bill is part of a larger effort by GOP-led legislatures across the country to pass restrictive voting measures in battlefield states such as Arizona, Michigan and Florida.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, promised last December – a week before the state’s run-off – that the state would crack down on “line warming,” or hand out freebies to voters. online to “inappropriately influence voters in the crucial final moments before voting.” ”

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