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2004 Florida Statutes

Maintenance of good order at polls; authorities; persons allowed in polling rooms; unlawful solicitation of voters.
Section 102.031, Florida Statutes 2004

102.031  Maintenance of good order at polls; authorities; persons allowed in polling rooms; unlawful solicitation of voters.--

(1)  Each election board shall possess full authority to maintain order at the polls and enforce obedience to its lawful commands during an election and the canvass of the votes.

(2)  The sheriff shall deputize a deputy sheriff for each polling place who shall be present during the time the polls are open and until the election is completed, who shall be subject to all lawful commands of the clerk or inspectors, and who shall maintain good order. The deputy may summon assistance from among bystanders to aid him or her when necessary to maintain peace and order at the polls.

(3)(a)  No person may enter any polling room or polling place where the polling place is also a polling room, during voting hours except the following:

1.  Official poll watchers;

2.  Inspectors;

3.  Election clerks;

4.  The supervisor of elections or his or her deputy;

5.  Persons there to vote, persons in the care of a voter, or persons caring for such voter;

6.  Law enforcement officers or emergency service personnel there with permission of the clerk or a majority of the inspectors; or

7.  A person, whether or not a registered voter, who is assisting with or participating in a simulated election for minors, as approved by the supervisor of elections.

(b)  The restriction in this subsection does not apply where the polling room is in an area commonly traversed by the public in order to gain access to businesses or homes or in an area traditionally utilized as a public area for discussion.

(c)  No person, political committee, committee of continuous existence, or other group or organization may solicit voters within 50 feet of the entrance to any polling place, or polling room where the polling place is also a polling room, on the day of any election.

1.  Solicitation shall not be restricted if:

a.  Conducted from a separately marked area within the 50-foot zone so as not to disturb, hinder, impede, obstruct, or interfere with voter access to the polling place or polling room entrance; and

b.  The solicitation activities and subject matter are clearly and easily identifiable by the voters as an activity in which they may voluntarily participate; or

c.  Conducted on property within the 50-foot zone which is a residence, established business, private property, sidewalk, park, or property traditionally utilized as a public area for discussion.

2.  Solicitation shall not be permitted within the 50-foot zone on a public sidewalk or other similar means of access to the polling room if it is clearly identifiable to the poll workers that the solicitation is impeding, obstructing, or interfering with voter access to the polling room or polling place.

(d)  For the purpose of this subsection, the term "solicit" shall include, but not be limited to, seeking or attempting to seek any vote, fact, opinion, or contribution; distributing or attempting to distribute any political or campaign material, leaflet, or handout; conducting a poll; seeking or attempting to seek a signature on any petition; and selling or attempting to sell any item.

(e)  Each supervisor of elections shall inform the clerk of each precinct of the area within which soliciting is unlawful, based on the particular characteristics of that polling place. The supervisor or the clerk may take any reasonable action necessary to ensure order at the polling places which shall include:

1.  Designating a specific area for soliciting pursuant to paragraph (c) of this subsection, or

2.  Having disruptive and unruly persons removed by law enforcement officers from the polling room or place or from the 50-foot zone surrounding the polling place.

History.--s. 58, ch. 4328, 1895; GS 237; RGS 282; CGL 338; s. 6, ch. 26870, 1951; s. 1, ch. 59-212; s. 25, ch. 77-175; s. 2, ch. 85-205; s. 4, ch. 87-184; s. 15, ch. 87-363; s. 29, ch. 89-338; s. 2, ch. 92-134; s. 598, ch. 95-147; s. 5, ch. 2000-249.

Note.--Former s. 99.38.