A new electoral law in Georgia makes it illegal to give water and food to people standing in line to vote.
Allegations of voter suppression surfaced in Georgia during the 2020 presidential election and long lines went viral on social media.
The Election Integrity Act of 2021, a new electoral law in the state, has met with great criticism of new regulations that could deprive voting rights. One prominent claim is that the law criminalizes the provision of food or water to voters waiting in line for polls.
Is it illegal to distribute water to the Georgian voters waiting in line?
Yes. Under the new legislation, it is illegal for anyone but election workers to provide food or water to voters during elections. According to Eric Segall, a law professor at Ashe Family College at Georgia State University College of Law, that means not even friends and family can bring snacks to voters.
WHY DO WE CHECK:
Activists and other public figures said this aspect of the law could prevent people from voting.
WHAT WE FOUND:
The law states: “No one may, in any way, or in any way, or by any method … or participate in the giving of money or gifts, including but not limited to food and drink, to any voter.”
The only other state that prohibits the delivery of any form of food and drink during an election is Montana, especially if it comes from a candidate, political party staff, or volunteer, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. No other state has so far had such legislation.
But in Georgia, Eric Segall says that even friends or family members can’t bring them a snack now if they wait in a long line.
“It’s now illegal in Georgia,” he said.
The new legislation states that election workers will be the only ones authorized to provide food and water to voters. Breaking this is a law now punishable by up to a year in prison and a fine of $ 1000.
“This ban is part of a series of different bans that make it more difficult to vote,” said Segall.
But Segall says this law is very unlikely to be enforced.
“It would surprise me as a political matter if the Republicans really arrested people for handing out water in a three-hour round of voting.”
So we can check if this is true: Under the Election Integrity Act of 2021, it is illegal to give food or water to a Georgia voter waiting in line unless you are an election worker. It is uncertain whether someone will enforce the new rule by setting prison sentences or fines.