Florida Senate - 2017 SB 224 By Senator Artiles 40-00247A-17 2017224__ 1 A bill to be entitled 2 An act relating to the Florida Election Code; amending 3 s. 101.051, F.S.; specifying the manner in which a 4 person providing assistance to an elector in casting a 5 ballot must read the ballot’s contents; increasing 6 penalties for unlawfully providing assistance to an 7 elector, or soliciting to provide assistance to an 8 elector; providing a penalty for giving anything of 9 value in an effort to provide assistance to an 10 elector; amending s. 101.131, F.S.; specifying 11 requirements with respect to the layout of a polling 12 room or early voting area; prohibiting an election 13 official from obstructing a poll watcher under certain 14 circumstances; adding elected officials to the list of 15 persons prohibited from being designated as poll 16 watchers; amending s. 102.031, F.S.; revising the 17 circumstances under which the no-solicitation zone 18 surrounding a polling place, early voting site, or 19 supervisor of election’s office exists; providing a 20 penalty for unlawfully soliciting a voter; deleting an 21 obsolete term; providing a penalty for unlawfully 22 photographing in a polling room or early voting area; 23 providing an effective date. 24 25 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida: 26 27 Section 1. Subsections (1) and (2) of section 101.051, 28 Florida Statutes, are amended to read: 29 101.051 Electors seeking assistance in casting ballots; 30 oath to be executed; forms to be furnished.— 31 (1) Any elector applying to vote in any election who 32 requires assistance to vote by reason of blindness, disability, 33 or inability to read or write may request the assistance of two 34 election officials or some other person of the elector’s own 35 choice, other than the elector’s employer, an agent of the 36 employer, or an officer or agent of his or her union, to assist 37 the elector in casting his or her vote. Any such elector, before 38 retiring to the voting booth, may have one of such persons read 39 over to him or her, without suggestion or interference, the 40 titles of the offices to be filled and the candidates therefor 41 and the issues on the ballot fully and in their entirety. After 42 the elector requests the aid of the two election officials or 43 the person of the elector’s choice, they shall retire to the 44 voting booth for the purpose of casting the elector’s vote 45 according to the elector’s choice. 46 (2) It is unlawful for any person to be in the voting booth 47 with any elector except as provided in subsection (1). A person 48 at a polling place or early voting site, or within 100 feet of 49 the entrance of a polling place or early voting site, may not 50 solicit any elector in an effort to provide assistance to vote 51 pursuant to subsection (1). A person may not give anything of 52 value that is redeemable in cash to any elector in an effort to 53 provide assistance to vote pursuant to subsection (1). Any 54 person who violates this subsection commits a felony
misdemeanor55 of the third firstdegree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082, 56 ors. 775.083, or s. 775.084. 57 Section 2. Subsections (1) and (3) of section 101.131, 58 Florida Statutes, are amended to read: 59 101.131 Watchers at polls.— 60 (1) Each political party and each candidate may have one 61 watcher in each polling room or early voting area at any one 62 time during the election. A political committee formed for the 63 specific purpose of expressly advocating the passage or defeat 64 of an issue on the ballot may have one watcher for each polling 65 room or early voting area at any one time during the election. 66 No watcher shall be permitted to come closer to the officials’ 67 table or the voting booths than is reasonably necessary to 68 properly perform his or her functions, but each shall be allowed 69 within the polling room or early voting area to watch and 70 observe the conduct of electors and officials. The polling room 71 or early voting area shall be laid out in a manner so as to not 72 impede a poll watcher from the ability to observe the operations 73 of the polling place. An official may not obstruct a poll 74 watcher’s good faith performance of his or her functions so long 75 as the poll watcher is not disrupting the operations of the 76 polling place. The poll watchers shall furnish their own 77 materials and necessities and may shallnot obstruct the orderly 78 conduct of any election. The poll watchers shall pose any 79 questions regarding polling place procedures directly to the 80 clerk for resolution. They may not interact with voters. Each 81 poll watcher shall be a qualified and registered elector of the 82 county in which he or she serves. 83 (3) An elected official, Nocandidate, orsheriff, deputy 84 sheriff, police officer, or other law enforcement officer may 85 not be designated as a poll watcher. 86 Section 3. Subsections (4) and (5) of section 102.031, 87 Florida Statutes, are amended to read: 88 102.031 Maintenance of good order at polls; authorities; 89 persons allowed in polling rooms and early voting areas; 90 unlawful solicitation of voters.— 91 (4)(a) No person, political committee, or other group or 92 organization may solicit voters inside the polling place or 93 within 100 feet of the entrance to any polling place, a polling 94 room where the polling place is also a polling room, an early 95 voting site, or an office of the supervisor of elections where 96 vote-by-mail ballots are requested and printed on demand for the 97 convenience of electors who appear in person to request them, 98 during the hours of operation of such sites. The no-solicitation 99 zone also applies if voters are assembled in line at the time of 100 the official closing of the polls waiting to enter the polling 101 place, early voting site, or office. Before the opening of the 102 polling place or early voting site, the clerk or supervisor 103 shall designate the no-solicitation zone and mark the 104 boundaries. Any person who violates this paragraph commits a 105 misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 106 775.082 or s. 775.083. 107 (b) For the purpose of this subsection, the terms “solicit” 108 or “solicitation” shall include, but not be limited to, seeking 109 or attempting to seek any vote, fact, opinion, or contribution; 110 distributing or attempting to distribute any political or 111 campaign material, leaflet, or handout; conducting a poll except 112 as specified in this paragraph; seeking or attempting to seek a 113 signature on any petition; and selling or attempting to sell any 114 item. The terms “solicit” or “solicitation” may not be construed 115 to prohibit exit polling. 116 (c) Each supervisor of elections shall inform the clerk of 117 the area within which soliciting is unlawful, based on the 118 particular characteristics of that polling place. The supervisor 119 or the clerk may take any reasonable action necessary to ensure 120 order at the polling places, including, but not limited to, 121 having disruptive and unruly persons removed by law enforcement 122 officers from the polling room or place or from the 100-foot 123 zone surrounding the polling place. 124 (d) Except as provided in paragraph (a), the supervisor may 125 not designate a no-solicitation zone or otherwise restrict 126 access to any person, political committee, committee of127 continuous existence,candidate, or other group or organization 128 for the purposes of soliciting voters. This paragraph applies to 129 any public or private property used as a polling place or early 130 voting site. 131 (5) NoPhotography is prohibited permittedin the polling 132 room or early voting area. Any person who violates this 133 subsection commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable 134 as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083. 135 Section 4. This act shall take effect October 1, 2017.