ATLANTA (AP) — A choose has declined to dam a piece of a Georgia election legislation that bans handing out food and water to voters ready in line.

The supply is a part of a sweeping elections overhaul handed by Georgia lawmakers final yr. Voting rights teams, who’ve filed a lawsuit difficult a number of components of the legislation, argued that the availability infringes their free speech rights and needs to be instantly blocked whereas the case is pending.

The 74-page order, which was issued Thursday, signifies that the availability will stay in impact for the intently watched November common election. Republican Gov. Brian Kemp is locked in a rematch with Democratic challenger Stacey Abrams, whereas Democratic U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock is attempting to fend off a problem from Republican Herschel Walker.

Tons of of individuals wait in line for early voting on Oct. 12, 2020, in Marietta, Georgia.

The state had argued that the availability was obligatory to guard towards situations at polling locations that would elevate worries over potential unlawful campaigning or vote shopping for. State attorneys additionally argued it was too near the upcoming election to make adjustments.

U.S. District Decide J.P. Boulee stated the voting rights teams could finally prevail on a part of their problem, however he agreed with the state that it’s too near the election to dam any a part of the availability. He famous that requiring completely different guidelines for the final election than these in place for the primaries earlier this yr may trigger confusion for election staff.

Boulee stated that voting rights teams had failed to point out that prohibiting the distribution of meals and drinks inside 150 toes (45 meters) of a polling place violates their constitutional rights. However he stated that one other a part of the availability that bars folks from providing foods and drinks inside 25 toes (7.6 meters) of any particular person in line might be unconstitutional as a result of that zone is tied to the situation of voters and will stretch hundreds of toes from the polling place.

The voting rights teams expressed disappointment with Boulee’s ruling however stated they’ll proceed to combat.

“Whereas Georgia’s merciless ban on line reduction stands for now, we sit up for presenting our broader case towards SB 202 at trial, the place we are going to show that many provisions within the laws violate federal legislation and the Structure,” stated ACLU of Georgia voting rights legal professional Rahul Garabadu.

Republicans have stated excessive turnout and quick strains on this yr’s major elections present that the brand new legislation doesn’t discourage or limit voting. However critics say it disproportionately impacts marginalized voters, and lots of Democrats have pledged to roll it again.

The U.S. Justice Division has additionally filed a lawsuit alleging that the 98-page Georgia voting legislation is racially discriminatory, but it surely was not a part of the request to instantly block the meals and water provision.

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