Controversial bill updates numerous policies during elections, what voters can have at the polls

Reporter: Nicole Gabe Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Credit: WINK News.

A controversial election bill could make the right to vote in the United States a bit less comfortable for voters at the polls.

Florida Republican lawmakers are considering joining Georgia by prohibiting water for voters standing in lines in the heat near the polling place.

If HB 7041 passed in the state, it would mean no food, no water and more security at the polls.

MORE: HB 7041 – Elections bill by Public Integrity and Elections Committee

“That bill is very extensive, so there’s a lot of stuff in it, a lot of changes that may be coming,” said Tommy Doyle, the Lee County Supervisor of Elections.

The proposal has some of the same features as Georgia’s new election law. That law, which President Joe Biden has called an attack on the U.S. Constitution, bans giving water, food or gifts to voters waiting in line.

“I’m hoping they don’t stop that because you have voters in line in August,” Doyle said. “My staff will actually go out to voters and give water because it’s a humanitarian process.”

“When you do give something of value, especially if you’re a candidate, I think those people are more about voting for you, and I think that is problematic,” said Rep. Ingoglia in Tallahassee, who is the main author of the bill.

The bill also demands voters request vote-by-mail ballots every year instead of the current every two years, and it bans anyone other than a family member from handling someone’s ballot.

Most Florida Democratic lawmakers oppose the measure, especially the food and water provision, calling it cruel and unusual

If the bill passes, anyone who approaches a voter 150 feet from a polling place could be charged with a misdemeanor.

Finally, the measure calls for increased security at drop boxes. A similar senate version gets rid of drop boxes all together.

“I think Florida’s going to have some new laws just because of the atmosphere of our country and how 2020 elections went around the state,” Doyle said. “I think Florida is trying to avoid that there is any fraud in the state of Florida.”

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