Florida Considers Denying Water To Its Voters, Just Like Georgia
Florida see, Florida do. Following the lead of their GOP brethren to the north, Florida Republicans are considering new legislation that, just like Georgia’s, would make it a crime to provide food or drink to voters within 150 feet of polling places.
Currently, Florida state law prohibits campaigning with 100 feet of polling locations – a fairly standard practice in many states. But the HB 7041 elections bill introduced last week in Tallahassee expands that prohibited zone to 150 feet and includes a brand new ban on giving “any item” to voters or “interacting or attempting to interact” with voters within that zone.
State Rep. Blaise Ingoglia, a Republican from Spring Hill, said in a committee meeting last Monday that the ban would include “food or beverages.”
The proposal is almost identical to a measure in Georgia’s new election law that bans giving water, food or gifts to voters waiting in line. President Joe Biden and other Democrats have condemned the law, signed by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp last week, as “outrageous” and “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.
Within hours of Kemp signing the Georgia bill into law, Marc Elias, an election lawyer with prominent Democratic clients, announced a lawsuit that argues the new measures violate the Fourteenth Amendment and Voting Rights Act. It’s to be expected that a Florida law with provisions nearly identical to those adopted by its northern neighbor state also would face an immediate challenge in court.