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FL Republicans Spark Backlash for Bill That Would Ban Handing Out Water to Voters Waiting in Line

FL Republicans Spark Backlash for Bill That Would Ban Handing Out Water to Voters Waiting in Line
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

After Georgia went blue in both the presidential election and in two key Senate seats delivering Democrats a razor-thin majority, the state's Republican legislature passed a slate of voting rights restrictions limiting access to absentee ballots and ballot drop box locations.

The legislation, which was signed into law earlier this month, faced widespread backlash especially for a provision that effectively forbids anyone from providing food or water for voters in long lines.

Despite the national outcry Georgia's bill prompted, it's since inspired the state of Florida—which went red in the 2020 presidential election.

H.B. 7041, a bill introduced last week by Florida Republicans, would expand existing laws prohibiting campaigning within 100 feet of a polling place to forbid the giving of "any item" to any voter within 150 feet, defining such as "solicitation."

It's an all too familiar sight in U.S. elections for voters to be stuck waiting for hours in line, usually due to a lack of polling places. Limits on giving sustenance to voters in these lines, many of whom are elderly, could force Americans to choose between exercising their right to vote or remaining safely hydrated.

After former President Donald Trump's constant lies about the validity of the 2020 election, Republicans insist that the United States needs expanded "election security" measures, though no evidence of widespread voter fraud exists. Critics say Republicans are using election security as a facade to limit access of likely-Democratic voters to the ballot box.

This latest development in Florida saw similar outcry.

People have long been sounding the alarm on the Republican party's attempts to suppress the vote.

The Senate is currently considering the For The People Act—a landmark voting rights bill that would expand access to the ballot box across the nation, but with the 60 vote threshold imposed by the Senate filibuster, it's unclear how it could possibly pass.