I imagine by now, you’ve no doubt heard a great deal about the controversy going on regarding Georgia’s new voting integrity law known as SB 202.
Naturally, as the law increases voter integrity and therefore reduces the possibility for both fraud and the ability for one party or another to influence the vote, Democrats and their liberally backed cohorts are outraged.
But one is taking things so far as to announce that he will not be enforcing the law or at least part of it, simply because he doesn’t like or agree with it.
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Enter Gwinnett County, Georgia’s solicitor general Brian Whiteside.
As a lifelong Democrat, and one who is fully committed to pushing along his party’s agenda no matter the cost, Whiteside recently announces that, should someone be arrested in the future for passing out food or drinks to voters in line at the polls, as the new law makes illegal, he will not prosecute them.
According to a recent interview with MSNBC’s Ari Melber on Tuesday, Whiteside has a particular problem with the part of SB 202 that forbids political activists from supply voters at the polls with gifts or incentives of any kind, including food and water.
He told Melber, “When you commit a criminal law, there has to be a basis that there will be harm to a party or to property. There is no harm in someone being humane. There is no actual criminal nexus here to be humane.”
But as Whiteside later admits to Melber, his opposition to at least this part of the law really doesn’t have to do with whether or not the act causes harm or not. Instead, it’s all about his personal opinion.
Melber noted that Whiteside’s “critique” doesn’t sound all that different “than someone who opposes marriage equality and says they’re not going to issue those marriage licenses and these other controversies…”
He then asked, “In other words, does this just jest come down to your opinion, above what the law states?”
And to that, Whiteside replied in the affirmative.
He said, “Well, I think, when you look at the rational basis of the law, there is no rational basis. It basically says that they are going to arrest someone for merely having water or giving water out. I take an oath to seek justice. It would be unjust for a police officer to arrest someone for merely giving someone some type of nutrition or hydration.”
Now, let’s discuss this answer for just a moment.
Firstly, you will note that he does indeed admit that this is a case where he believes his opinion, as “there is no rational basis,” outweighs the law. He has essentially said that the law doesn’t matter if he doesn’t like what it says.
Secondly, he has his facts about this new law all wrong.
And I mean, all wrong.
Nowhere does SB 202 state that it is inherently wrong or illegal to give out water, and especially not to have it.
It does state that it is wrong for someone who is politically affiliated with one party or another to solicit votes at the polling center.
“No person shall solicit votes in any manner or by any means or method, nor shall any person 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…”
The problem with people giving out water or food at polling centers is not that it is “humane,” as Whiteside says. The problem is that by doing so, they are clearly and obviously trying to influence votes in their favor.
Furthermore, the law states explicitly that poll officials can make “available self-service water from an unattended receptacle to an elector waiting in line to vote.” Poll workers can set up a cooler, box, or make a drinking fountain available to voters waiting in line if they want.
And voters can also bring their own drinks.
If someone is thirsty or even hungry, no law forbids those needs from being met; it just stipulates that political affiliations are not to be handing those out.
Yet, according to Whiteside and his fellow Democrats, this makes the law “unconstitutional” and oppressive to minorities simply because they have suddenly lost their influence over last-minute voters. And, of course, if they don’t like the law, well, that’s enough reason to not adhere to it apparently.