Within hours of the new Georgia election law being signed by Republican Governor Brian Kemp, word spread across social media like wildfire that Georgians would face imprisonment for handing a drink of water to a tired old lady waiting in line to vote. Come on, man! Are you that gullible?

The new law does prohibit anyone from getting within 25 feet of a waiting voter to hand them money, a gift, or food, or a drink of any kind. But it's not about making old ladies die of dehydration to keep them from voting. The purpose of the rule is to keep campaigns from attempting to buy votes. Imagine if campaign staff can approach voters who are waiting in line with gifts, including cash, to influence their decision. That stuff is going to stop under the new law.

Campaign workers must also maintain a 150-foot distance from the polling place, just as we do in Massachusetts. Although, we saw how effective that wasn't when New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell allowed Bill Clinton to campaign right outside the Buttonwood polling station for his wife Hillary in 2016.

As for the thirsty old ladies, Georgia election law permits polling places to provide free drinking water to anyone forced to wait in line to cast their ballot, so there is that.

The new law also requires a state-issued ID in order to request an absentee ballot. That, we are told, is racist. Nevermind that a state-issued ID is already required to vote in person.

There is an old rule of thumb that says if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. That works in reverse as well. If something sounds too absurd to be true, it is probably untrue.

Think, people. There are so many folks out there that are trying to game you. Don't be so gullible. Ask questions. It's OK to doubt what you hear on cable network news.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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