Election Integrity: Will This Law Really Prevent Fraud?

By Jacob Taylor | Monday, 22 August 2022 01:15 AM
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A federal judge has denied a motion for a preliminary injunction to block a Georgia law that halts the distribution of food and drinks to future voters near election polling sites.

On Thursday, U.S. District Judge J.P. Boulee determined the state law — signed by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp in March 2021 — would stay intact for the foreseeable future, given that the November midterm elections are just three months from now.

Particularly, the law prohibits the act of supplying food or water to voters within 150 feet of an election polling place or within 25 feet of a voter standing in line.

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Proponents of the law say it prevents vote solicitation and influencing of voters.

Opponents claim that the Georgia law is an intentional ploy to suppress Black votes, since African American communities usually wait in longer lines when voting in statewide elections.

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Boulee, who was appointed by then-President Donald Trump in 2018, reportedly had a concern regarding the inflexibility of the 25-foot rule, given how polling places have different setups.

In the end, though, Boulee ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, declaring they're not "substantially likely" to succeed on the merits of the 150-foot ban being unconstitutional.

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Nonetheless, a 25-foot ban would probably pass the threshold of a reasonable standard.

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In March 2021, President Joe Biden characterized the law as "Jim Crow in the 21st century."

Biden's complete announcement read: "If you want any indication that it has nothing to do with fairness, nothing to do with decency, they passed a law saying you can't provide water to people standing in line while they're waiting to vote?"

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The president continued: "You don't need anything else to know that this is nothing but punitive, designed to keep people from voting. You can't provide water for people about to vote. Give me a break."

The law, SB 202, declares that "[n]o person shall solicit votes in any manner or by any means or method, nor shall any person distribute or display any campaign material, nor shall any person give, offer to give, or participate in the giving of any money or gifts, including, but not limited to, food and drink, to an elector … on any day in which ballots are being cast."

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GOP lawmakers who have supported the measure say the provision on food and water was included in an effort to prevent the solicitation of votes and electioneering, or influencing voters.

The law would further limit the use of ballot drop boxes in the state and require Georgia voters to produce photo ID for absentee voting, among other things.

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