House Democrats have a plan to combat Georgia's ban on food and drink for voters


Democrats in Congress have introduced the Stay in Line to Vote Act, which would block states from implementing bans on refreshments at polling sites.

A pair of House Democrats introduced a bill that would nullify one of the most talked-about provisions in Georgia's voter suppression law by blocking the state from prohibiting the passing out food and drinks to people waiting in line to vote.

According to the text of the bill, titled the Stay in Line to Vote Act, "A State may not prohibit a person from providing food or drink to individuals at a polling place in the State in an election for Federal office, including at a polling place at which individuals may cast ballots prior to the date of the election."

The bill is in direct response to Georgia's new omnibus voter suppression law, which criminalizes handing out food and drinks within "25 feet of any voter standing in line to vote at any polling place," among a slew of voting restrictions.

In order to try to keep this provision from being enforced, Democratic Reps. Susan Wild of Pennsylvania and Nikema Williams of Georgia introduced the act on Friday, along with 15 Democratic co-sponsors.

Williams called Georgia's ban on passing out food and drinks at the polls "cruel and inhumane," adding that last year, when voters were faced with hourslong lines to cast their ballots in the 2020 election, "having basic sustenance was often enough to keep voters in line."

Groups like Pizza to the Polls raised money to send hundreds of pizzas to voters waiting to cast ballots in Georgia's critical Senate runoff elections. According to the Pizza to the Polls website, some polling locations they visited had wait times of more than four hours.

"I am proud to sponsor this legislation with Congresswoman Wild to stop these attempts to turn back the clock on progress and work to prevent the enactment of Jim Crow 2.0 laws meant to silence the voices of the people," Williams said in a news release.

Georgia's food and drink ban at polling places has sparked an outcry across the country, including from major American corporations.

Major League Baseball went as far as to pull the 2021 All-Star Game out of Georgia in protest of the law.

Some Democratic lawmakers have even vowed to risk arrest in order to hand out bottles of water to voters in the next election in protest of the law.

"Dear @GovKemp: Next year, Congressman @RubenGallego and I are going to provide water to GA voters waiting in lines caused by your voter suppression law," Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) tweeted in March after the Georgia law passed. "My sense is many, many people will be providing water to voters. Because your law is unAmerican and insane."

Other states like Florida sought to enact a similar ban but backed off following the outcry over Georgia's law.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.