ATLANTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Georgia Senator Jon Ossoff introduced a new piece of legislation in congress, Monday, called the “Voters Access to Water Act.”
But Democrats like Ossoff says the Election Integrity Act law criminalizes anyone trying to hand out water to voters waiting in line with violators facing up to a year in prison, and could deter voters.
Senator Ossoff says this could discourage people from showing up to the polls especially in locations with long wait times, and says no other state in the country has such a restriction.
“To criminalize a good Samaritan, non partisan volunteer, who is providing a bottle of water to a voter who may be elderly, disabled, who may have mobility issues – who may have to wait for hours to vote is wrong,” says Sen. Ossoff.
Georgia’s Governor and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger say poll workers can hand out water, but added this new provision in SB 202 so that people couldn’t hand out water if they are within 150 feet, as this could foster politicking, meaning people could try to sway voters.
“If you want to donate water, the poll worker, will hand out that and it’s non partisan. Outside 150 feet, people can do what they want to do,” says Raffensperger.
“No other state has adopted legislation as extreme as georgia in criminalizing the provision of water to voters,” says Ossoff. “This is not about partisan politics but about decency, basic decency, the health and well being of a senior citizen.”
Senator Ossoff say the more restrictions you add, the more it hurts voters from showing up at the polls.