Gwinnett County Solicitor General Brian Whiteside announced this week that, despite what Georgia’s new election reform law says, his office will not prosecute people who hand out food and water to voters waiting in long lines if the action was not motivated by partisan politics.
The controversial new omnibus law — which has been referred to as Senate Bill 202, the name it went by as it was moving through the General Assembly — made it a misdemeanor crime to hand out food and water to people waiting in line to vote.
Officially, the law says those items cannot be handed out within 25 feet of a voting line or 150 of a polling location.
But, Whiteside said his office won’t enforce it as long as the people handing out the food and water are not trading them for votes, effectively asking people to vote for certain candidates or issues in exchange for the provisions.
“The Gwinnett County Solicitor’s Office will not prosecute individuals arrested for distributing nonpartisan beverages and/or food to voters waiting in line for long hours on Election Day in Gwinnett County as there is no rational, legal basis for this law,” Whiteside’s office said in a statement.