All nine Republicans on a U.S. Senate panel—including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell—voted Tuesday against legislation intended to ensure that volunteers and organizations are allowed to hand out food and water to voters stuck in long lines across the country.\r\n\r\nDemocratic Sens. Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, who both represent Georgia, introduced the Voters\u0026#039; Access to Water Act (pdf) in response to a sweeping law enacted by the Peach State\u0026#039;s Republican legislators in March that critics condemned as a \u0022vicious attack on voter rights.\u0022 Poll workers in the state can set up self-service water receptacles, but volunteers are now banned from passing out food or water.\r\n\r\nOssoff, a member of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration, proposed their measure as an amendment during Tuesday\u0026#039;s mark-up of the For the People Act, Democrats\u0026#039; pro-democracy bill. The evenly divided 18-member panel voted along party lines, with all nine Democrats voting for and all nine Republicans voting against.\r\n\r\n\u0022Republicans would rather have you starve than vote,\u0022 declared podcast host Brian Tyler Cohen after the committee\u0026#039;s vote. \r\n\r\nThe Nation\u0026#039;s justice correspondent Elie Mystal referenced the title of a recent book by The Atlantic\u0026#039;s Adam Serwer—The Cruelty Is the Point.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nCue @AdamSerwer \u0022The Cruelty Is The Point\u0022 https://t.co/mRNeuUPf11\r\n— Elie Mystal (@ElieNYC) May 11, 2021\r\n\r\n\r\nThe proposed amendment opposed by the GOP states that \u0022allowing volunteers to donate food and water to all people waiting in line at a polling place regardless of the voters\u0026#039; political preference and without engaging in electioneering activities or partisan advocacy, helps ensure Americans who face long lines at their polling place can still exercise their Constitutional right to vote, without risk of dehydration, inadequate food, discomfort, and risks to health.\u0022\r\n\r\nUnder the proposal, states would not be allowed to outlaw the distribution of food or nonalcoholic beverages at polling stations but could require that volunteers refrain from engaging in political activity while providing voters with snacks and drinks.\r\n\r\nAs Ossoff put it during a press conference: \u0022This is about decency—basic decency. This is about the health and well-being of a senior citizen who\u0026#039;s being made to wait six hours in line to vote and allowing a volunteer to hand that senior citizen a bottle of water without facing up to a year in jail.\u0022\r\n\r\nSome voters in Georgia waited over three hours to cast ballots for last year\u0026#039;s primary election, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nRepublican officials across the country are passing laws that make it harder to vote –\r\n\r\n“Not because there’s a shred of credible evidence that these new laws are necessary –\r\n\r\n“Because there isn’t.\r\n\r\nBecause none has been presented.”\r\n\r\n—@SenOssoff breaks down why. pic.twitter.com/QgJpaCmqTA\r\n— Senate Democrats (@SenateDems) May 11, 2021\r\n\r\n\r\nOssoff said in a statement that his bill would \u0022ensure a nonpartisan, Good Samaritan volunteer can offer voters in line a bottle of water without fear of criminal prosecution.\u0022\r\n\r\nGeorgians who violate the state\u0026#039;s new election law—which has provoked multiple legal challenges—face a misdemeanor charge that could result in a $1,000 fine and up to a year in jail.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n“The Voters’ Access to Water Act gets us closer to that goal, and I’m proud to work with Senator @ossoff to get this important legislation, along with the critical For the People Act, over the finish line,\u0022 @SenatorWarnock continued.\r\n— Ossoff\u0026#039;s Office (@SenOssoff) May 11, 2021\r\n\r\n\r\nOssoff and Warnock\u0026#039;s victories in January runoff races gave Democrats the narrowest lead possible in the Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking tie votes.\r\n\r\nThe composition of the Senate and alarm over GOP obstruction have led progressive advocacy groups and some members of both chambers to call for abolishing the filibuster to pass various bills—including the widely popular For the People Act, which the Democrat-controlled House approved in March without Republican support.\r\n\r\nThroughout 2021, GOP lawmakers have proposed hundreds of state-level voter suppression bills like the new law in Georgia, bolstering national demands that Democrats in Congress send the For the People Act and John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to President Joe Biden\u0026#039;s desk by any means necessary.