Florida lawmaker wants his state to ban handing out water to voters too


This looks to be a new trend in voter suppression tactics coming from the GOP.

A Florida GOP lawmaker introduced a bill last week that would ban passing out water or food to people waiting in long lines at the polls — following in the footsteps of Georgia Republicans who passed a similar ban into law on Thursday.

The bill — brought by state Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, a former Florida Republican Party chair — amends current law to say that it is "unlawful" to give or attempt to give "any item" to voters within 150 feet of a polling place.

Republicans in Georgia passed a law on Thursday that makes it a crime to give out food or drinks within 25 feet of voters waiting in line to vote.

Georgia changed the law after groups like Pizza to the Polls sent hundreds of pizzas to voters waiting in long lines to vote in the general election in Georgia in 2020 — some as long as 10 hours.

Democrats swept the federal contests in Georgia by winning the state's 16 Electoral College votes, as well as ousting both Republican U.S. senators.

It's a law that drew condemnation from President Joe Biden, who said on Friday that Georgia's bill is an "atrocity."

"If you want any indication that it has nothing to do with fairness, nothing to do with decency — they passed a law saying you can't provide water for people standing in line while they're waiting to vote," Biden told reporters. "You don't need anything else to know that this is nothing but punitive design to keep people from voting. You can't provide water for people about to vote?  Give me a break."

Other Democratic House members said they plan to go hand out bottles of water to voters in Georgia, risking arrest over what they called a "stupid" law.

Aside from banning handing out sustenance to voters in line, Ingoglia's bill would require ballot drop boxes to be monitored at all times either by election officials or law enforcement officers. And it would require voters to show ID when dropping off absentee ballots at ballot drop-boxes.

The Florida bill is one of hundreds of voter suppression bills Republican state lawmakers have introduced across the country in the wake of Donald Trump's loss.

Trump has blamed his loss in part on "fraud" associated with absentee ballots — a false claim that has yet to be backed up by any evidence.

Dozens of judges have thrown out lawsuits seeking to overturn Trump's loss, many of them because they did not provide any evidence that fraud took place.

Meanwhile, Trump's own former attorney general said fraud did not change the outcome of the 2020 election, while the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said the election was "the most secure in American history."

Democrats are promoting legislation, titled the "For the People Act," that would kill almost all of the voter suppression bills Republican state legislators are seeking to pass.

The act has already passed the House but faces an uphill climb in the Senate, where Republicans will try to block its passage by using the filibuster. Voting rights advocates are saying that the legislation is important enough to end the filibuster.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.