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The Threat of Voter Intimidation

Our Response to Voter Intimidation

First question:

“What do you advise your outside poll observers and/or table greeters to do when aggressive Republicans engage in harassing behavior outside the (now) 150-foot limit on campaign activities? We have had trucks draped with Trump signs run over Democratic campaign signs, Republicans yelling at our table greeters that they were Communists and creating a general disturbance that kept people away from our tables, and other aggressive behavior that caused some of our volunteers to feel physically threatened.”

Harassment at Polling Places
Florida elections law speaks to this issue. The first point is that the election boards in each County have full authority to “maintain order at the polls.” That order is to be maintained by a deputy sheriff (apparently not by the local municipal police.) While it is not clear whether this responsibility only applies to the 150-foot no-solicitation zone around the polling place, I think there is a good argument that it should apply broadly to the entire polling station since a disturbance just outside his own clearly would have a chilling impact on protected activities within the zone.

102.031 Maintenance of good order at polls; authorities; persons allowed in polling rooms and early voting areas; 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 and each early voting site who shall be present during the time the polls or early voting sites 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 or early voting sites.

(4) (c) Each supervisor of elections shall inform the clerk 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, including, but not limited to, having disruptive and unruly persons removed by law enforcement officers from the polling room or place or from the 150-foot zone surrounding the polling place.
Click here to View and Download a PDF of this statement

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