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.
   25  Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
   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 misdemeanor
   55  of the third first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082,
   56  or s. 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 shall not 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, No candidate, or sheriff, 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 of
  127  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) No Photography is prohibited permitted in 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.