Georgia Bans Giving Water To Voters in Line Under Sweeping Restrictions

Georgia on Thursday enacted broad voting restrictions championed by Republicans that activists said aimed to curtail the influence of Black voters who were instrumental in state elections that helped Democrats win the White House and narrow control of the U.S. Senate.

As soon as Republican Governor Brian Kemp signed the law, voting rights activists vowed to challenge it. The provisions add a new ID requirement for absentee ballots and limit ballot drop boxes.

Opponents of the measure decried it as among the country’s most damaging attempts to limit access to the ballot box, and said it was designed to reduce the influence of Black voters.

Kemp said he expected outrage from the political left and that he offered no apology for “taking another step to making our elections fair and secure.”

He alluded to the 2020 presidential race, which prompted widespread but unsubstantiated claims of election fraud from Republicans after former President Donald Trump lost to President Joe Biden, a Democrat.

“There’s no doubt there were many alarming issues with how the election was handled, and those problems led to a crisis of confidence in the ballot box here in Georgia,” Kemp said.

The Georgia legislation is one of more than 250 bills Republicans have filed proposing new voting limits across the country since Trump’s loss in November. It passed both the state House of Representatives and Senate on Thursday afternoon; no Democratic lawmakers voted for the measure.

Asked about Republican legislators’ efforts to restrict voting access throughout the United States, Biden on Thursday called such measures “un-American.”

The Georgia law will make it a misdemeanor crime to give food or drinks to voters waiting in long lines. It also will set up a fraud hotline, forbid local county elections offices from taking breaks while counting ballots and shorten the runoff election cycle from nine weeks to four weeks. It will allow the state election board the power to replace local county election boards and permit challenges to voting eligibility.

Early versions of the legislation sought to limit Sunday voting, which would have curtailed traditional “Souls to the Polls” voter turnout programs popular in Black churches. Those days were restored after Democrats pushed back, and additional Saturday voting days also were included – provisions Republicans cited as examples of the law making voting more accessible.

But Andrea Young, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia, said the law “attacks absentee voting, criminalizes giving Georgians a drink of water to their neighbors (and) allows state takeover of county elections.”

On Thursday, the ACLU and Georgia’s state NAACP said they would consider every legal option to fight the law.

Trump battled with Republican state leaders and elections officials in Georgia for weeks after his narrow defeat, making baseless claims of election fraud that were disproved by a hand and machine recount and rejected by the courts and investigators.

On Monday, Trump endorsed a challenger looking to defeat Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger in the 2022 Republican primary.

(Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Jonathan Oatis, Bill Berkrot and Cynthia Osterman)

Responses

  1. If people are standing in line for 8 hours, something is wrong with the number of polling places they have.
    I have yet to stand in a line for more than 30 minutes.
    But I like to vote early.
    Voting on Sunday? Why shouldn’t the poll sitters be allowed to have one day off?
    Or if they want to be able to vote on Sunday, do what they do for jury duty and issue a summons for you to help when it is your turn.
    Now had me a cold beer every 15 minutes while I’m in line and we may have a chat.

  2. so if Stacey Abrams offered every one who would vote for her free watermelon and a bowl of chitlins should that be against the law too… if you give a voter anything it could influence the vote…. this isn’t that hard to figure out… if you want water, bring your own water, if you want chitlins then wait till you get back home… we don’t need to smell chitlins while waiting to vote

  3. What exactly does getting water while standing in line have to do with election security?

    1. Obviously it is because people were electioneering while bribing voters with food and water. This is an old trick by people who want to influence a vote.

      1. Thats already illegal so if it was occuring with proof there should have been charges brought forth to authorities while occuring. Some of these people needed to stand in line for 8 hours. Are they supposed to bring a cooler? Is that even allowed?

      2. “Obviously” Glen? I’d like to see your evidence on why it should be illegal to give water to elderly voters or anyone else for that matter. Not just some anecdotal story. It’s ridiculous and meant to make it more difficult for minorities to vote. And why for voter security issues, is voting on Sunday a big no no?? Could it be African Americans like to vote on Sundays after church?? Pretty disgusting that the GOP can only win elections by cheating. Try having a platform that voters can stand behind.

    2. I suggest you look up the rules in your State for people standing in line to vote.
      My State allows you to have a plastic bottle of your favorite drink, short of alcohol, while in line.
      But you can not enter the area where the voting machines are with drinks or food.
      Why not?
      This is where the security comes into play.
      You know a particular voting place typically goes to a certain political group.
      Now, I go in where the voting machines are and spill my drink, that machine no longer works.
      Now, I get however many evil friends I can, to be there at he same time and we could wipe out every machine in that voting area.
      Too late to replace the machines, can’t trust the vote count on that machine, those votes don’t get counted.
      Guessing you haven’t been around long enough to hear all the things that have occurred.
      If you haven’t figured it out they make rules against things because someone actually did it the first time.

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