Florida considering bill to ban giving food and drink to queueing voters –


Following in the steps of Georgia, Florida is now considering a law that would bar people from handing out food and water within 150 feet of a polling location.

There already is a ban on the books in Florida that prohibits campaigning and solicitation within 100 feet of voting places. HB 7041 would expand that ban to include giving or even trying to give “any item” to a voter, or “interacting or attempting to interact with any voter” within 150 feet of a polling place.

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The proposed bill has similarities to the law recently signed by Georgia governor Brian Kemp. A provision in the legislation makes it a misdemeanour for third-party groups or individuals to hand out food and water to people in line, but poll workers would still be allowed to distribute water.

Giving food and water to those waiting to vote is known as “line warming” and some of those who oppose said it’s an undue influence on voters. Voting rights advocates say it’s a way to keep people in line especially when the lines are hours long, such as in the mostly Democratic Atlanta area during the Georgia primaries, The Hill reported.

The Florida bill pushed by Republicans was sent on to the Florida House Appropriations Committee and State Affairs Committee after being voted through by the Public Integrity and Elections Committee on a party-line basis, 11-6.

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