President Joe Biden lashed out at the state of Georgia Saturday for the new voting integrity bill that Gov. Brian Kemp just signed into law.
"It's an atrocity," the president said. "The idea, you want any indication, 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. 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 text of the bill does not contain any ban on a person accessing water while waiting in line to vote. In fact, Senate Bill 202 specifically allows for self-service water being provided, but bans cleverly marketed gifts of food and drink from one campaign, lobby group, political party, or another.
From S.B. 202:
"No person shall solicit votes [or] 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 [a voter] … This Code section shall not be construed to prohibit a poll officer…from making available self-service water from an unattended receptacle to [a voter] waiting in line to vote. [emphasis added]
The text of the new law reflects the intent of its authors who said they sought to prevent electioneering happening around polling places, with free gifts and treats being given in order to influence votes.
Several other states have similar laws that ban the giving of gifts or engaging in various attempts to influence the decisions of voters who have arrived to cast a ballot.