Should states restrict food and drink at polling places?
• "The problem with food and drink is that we got a lot of complaints it was being treated as an end around of that law and campaigning in a polling place. Even if it wasn’t being used that way (and it sometimes was) it was giving off the impression to others at the polls that the food/drink was in return for voting."
Source: Gabriel Sterling (Chief Operating Officer of the Georgia Secretary of State Office)
• "Georgia may be the first Republican-controlled state legislature to restrict access to the ballot in response to last year’s voter turnout, but it will not be the last. There’s nothing more sacred in a democracy than the right to vote, and sustenance like food or water could be the difference between one’s ability to stay in line and exercise the right to vote or needing to leave without being able to vote."
Source: Rep. Susan Wild (Democrat, Pennsylvania, District 7)
• "Georgians are no stranger to voter suppression tactics, but to criminalize giving food and water to people simply exercising their democratic right to vote is cruel and inhumane. During the last election, Georgians battled hours-long lines to vote and having basic sustenance was often enough to keep voters in line. SB 202 being signed into law in Georgia, and similar bills being debated in state legislatures across the country are proof that the battle for voting rights is not over. 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."
Source: Rep. Nikema Williams (Democrat, Georgia, District 5)
This bill would prohibit states from restricting food and drink to people at polling places when casting ballots in federal elections. The bill would amend the Help America Vote Act of 2002 and includes polling places where early voting takes place. Sponsor: Rep. Susan Wild (Democrat, Pennsylvania, District 7)
- Rep. Susan Wild, Rep. Nikema Williams Introduce Stay in Line to Vote Act (Press Release)
- Which States Ban Giving Food and Water to Voters at Polling Places? (Snopes)
- New limits on food and water at Georgia’s polls could hinder Black and low-income voters, advocates say (Washington Post)
- Florida lawmakers weigh bill banning handing out food, water within 150 feet of polling place (The Hill)