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Groups find ways to hand out free food and water near Georgia polls despite voting law prohibitions

Originally published in the WABE


Cameron Britt with the group Stand Up Georgia stands in the corner of a parking lot across from the Metropolitan Library in Southwest Atlanta, talking into a bullhorn aimed at voters and telling them about free food the group is offering on Election Day. (Kaitlin Kolarik for WABE)

Early Tuesday Cameron Britt stood in the corner of a parking lot across from the Metropolitan Library in Southwest Atlanta, talking into a bullhorn aimed at voters and telling them about free food.

“You know what I’m excited about? Free coffee and doughnuts,” he says.

Behind him a D.J. was spinning tunes, and volunteers stood behind tables full of snacks, water and doughnuts. They’re all free, says Chandra Gallashaw, one of the coordinators here.

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“The setup is for the people to come from the polls to come over here and get food, because we can’t give it to them. It’s against the law,” she said.

Georgia’s new voting law prohibits handing out food or water to voters in line, but 150 feet from the polling location, such activities are legal. That’s where the group Stand Up Georgia posted its colorful signs saying, “Let’s vote today Georgia.”

Gallashaw says they’ll be here all day.

“We’ll have food trucks out here, too. We’ll be serving lunch and dinner ‘til the polls close.” During court hearings challenging Georgia’s voting law, the NAACP and other voting rights groups said the practice of handing out food is a way to celebrate voting, not to influence voters.

Besides this location, Stand Up Georgia is also handing out food and water at South Dekalb Mall and Battle Creek in Riverdale, two locations in predominantly minority neighborhoods.

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