Republican lawmakers in Florida introduced a bill that would criminalize passing out water and food to voters waiting in line. The measure was introduced into the Florida state legislative body last week and is similar to the latest election law just passed in Georgia.
According to a report by NBC News, the Florida proposal, H.B. 7041, would make giving water, food, or gifts illegal within 150 feet of a polling location. Current state law prohibits offering assistance to voters within 100 feet of a polling site, marking an expansion of the distance and inclusion of items prohibited from being given to voters in that zone.
Similar to Georgia’s contested election measure, Florida’s H.B. 7041 also imposes limits on drop box use, and increases identification requirements for ballots casted by mail. It also includes a requirement to require the public to be able to see the signature match verification process.
Given long wait lines for voting and many voters being forced facing the natural elements, organizers have long passed out food, water, umbrellas, ponchos to get people to stay in line to fulfill their civic duties, rather than make the process harder.
President Joe Biden came out against Georgia’s bill calling the state’s law “outrageous” and likening it to “Jim Crow in the 21st Century.”
“If you want any indication that it has nothing to do with fairness, nothing to do with decency, they pass a law saying you can’t provide water for people standing in line while they’re waiting to vote,” Biden said on Friday (March 26) a day after Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed the measure into law.
Voting rights organizations have condemned the bill, filing lawsuits to contest its constitutionality immediately after Kemp signed it.
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