Aug 20, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Judge upholds Georgia law prohibiting food, water distribution at polls

Photo by TAMI CHAPPELL/AFP via Getty Images

A judge declined this week to block a Georgia election law that prohibits handing out food and water to voters waiting in line at the polls, the Associated Press reports.

The big picture: The new rule is a part of SB 202, an elections overhaul passed by Georgia lawmakers last year. Advocates argue that the reforms disproportionately burden voters of color and Democratic-leaning voters.

  • The Department of Justice, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Atlanta, Black Voters Matter Fund and GALEO are among the eight plaintiffs challenging various parts of the election policy overhaul.

Why it matters: The new rule will remain in place for the November general election, which features a pair of competitive races.

  • Republican Gov. Brian Kemp is seeking another term in a rematch against Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams, and U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) is facing a challenge from Republican Herschel Walker.

Details: The state argued that the new ban would protect against conditions at polls that could lead to worries over potential illegal campaigning or vote buying.

  • Voting rights groups argued that the ban infringes on their right to free speech.

But, but, but: Although U.S. District Judge J.P. Boulee sided with the state, saying that it's too close to the election to make changes, he said the voting rights groups may ultimately prevail on part of their challenge.

  • Changing the rules from the primaries for the general election could cause confusion, he added.

What they're saying: “While Georgia’s cruel ban on line relief stands for now, we look forward to presenting our broader case against SB 202 at trial, where we will prove that many provisions in the legislation violate federal law and the Constitution,” said ACLU of Georgia voting rights attorney Rahul Garabadu, per AP.

Go deeper: Breaking down all of Georgia's election lawsuits

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