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florida > The Florida Election Code > Voting Methods And Procedure

§ 101.051 Electors seeking assistance in casting ballots; oath to be executed; forms to be furnished.

Overview of Statute

This statute outlines the procedure used by voters who need assistance in voting. Voters who need assistance by reason of blindness, disability, or inability to read or write can request the assistance of two election officials or another person, but not the voter’s employer or an officer of the voter’s union, to help the elector cast his/her ballot. Unless a voter requires assistance, he or she must go into the voting booth alone. No one can offer to help a voter vote, and anyone who violates this statute is committing a misdemeanor of the first degree.

Statute

(1) Any elector applying to vote in any election who requires assistance to vote by reason of blindness, disability, or inability to read or write may request the assistance of two election officials or some other person of the elector’s own choice, other than the elector’s employer, an agent of the employer, or an officer or agent of his or her union, to assist the elector in casting his or her vote. Any such elector, before retiring to the voting booth, may have one of such persons read over to him or her, without suggestion or interference, the titles of the offices to be filled and the candidates therefor and the issues on the ballot. After the elector requests the aid of the two election officials or the person of the elector’s choice, they shall retire to the voting booth for the purpose of casting the elector’s vote according to the elector’s choice.

(2) It is unlawful for any person to be in the voting booth with any elector except as provided in subsection (1). A person at a polling place or early voting site, or within 100 feet of the entrance of a polling place or early voting site, may not solicit any elector in an effort to provide assistance to vote pursuant to subsection (1). Any person who violates this subsection commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083.
(3) Any elector applying to cast an absentee ballot in the office of the supervisor, in any election, who requires assistance to vote by reason of blindness, disability, or inability to read or write may request the assistance of some person of his or her own choice, other than the elector’s employer, an agent of the employer, or an officer or agent of his or her union, in casting his or her absentee ballot.

(4) If an elector needs assistance in voting pursuant to the provisions of this section, the clerk or one of the inspectors shall require the elector requesting assistance in voting to take the following oath:

DECLARATION TO SECURE ASSISTANCE

State of Florida

County of  

Date  

Precinct  

I,   (Print name)  , swear or affirm that I am a registered elector and request assistance from   (Print names)   in voting at the   (name of election)   held on   (date of election)  .

  (Signature of voter)  

Sworn and subscribed to before me this   day of  ,   (year)  .

  (Signature of Official Administering Oath)  

(5) If an elector needing assistance requests that a person other than an election official provide him or her with assistance in voting, the clerk or one of the inspectors shall require the person providing assistance to take the following oath:

DECLARATION TO PROVIDE ASSISTANCE

State of Florida

County of  

Date  

Precinct  

I,   (Print name)  , have been requested by   (print name of elector needing assistance)   to provide him or her with assistance to vote. I swear or affirm that I am not the employer, an agent of the employer, or an officer or agent of the union of the voter and that I have not solicited this voter at the polling place or early voting site or within 100 feet of such locations in an effort to provide assistance.

  (Signature of assistor)  

Sworn and subscribed to before me this   day of  ,   (year)  .

  (Signature of Official Administering Oath)  

(6) The supervisor of elections shall deliver a sufficient number of these forms to each precinct, along with other election paraphernalia.

History:

s. 3, ch. 22018, 1943; s. 5, ch. 26870, 1951; s. 2, ch. 59-446; s. 2, ch. 65-60; s. 1, ch. 65-380; s. 13, ch. 77-175; s. 2, ch. 79-366; s. 31, ch. 84-302; s. 12, ch. 85-226; s. 553, ch. 95-147; s. 8, ch. 99-6; s. 10, ch. 2002-281; s. 26, ch. 2005-277; s. 9, ch. 2006-1.

Definition [Supervisor]

The supervisor of elections.

Definition [Early Voting]

Casting a ballot prior to election day at a location designated by the supervisor of elections and depositing the voted ballot in the tabulation system.

Definition [Polling Place]

The building which contains the polling room where ballots are cast.

Definition [Early Voting Site]

Those locations specified in s. 101.657 and the building in which early voting occurs.

Definition [Issue]

A proposition that is required by the State Constitution, by law or resolution of the Legislature, or by the charter, ordinance, or resolution of a political subdivision of this state to be submitted to the electors for their approval or rejection at an election, or a proposition for which a petition is circulated in order to have such proposition placed on the ballot at an election.

Definition [Ballot]

As used in the Electronic Voting Systems Act, ballot means the card, tape, or other vehicle upon which the elector’s choices are recorded.

Definition [Person]

An individual or a corporation, association, firm, partnership, joint venture, joint stock company, club, organization, estate, trust, business trust, syndicate, or other combination of individuals having collective capacity. The term includes a political party, affiliated party committee, or political committee.

Definition [Elector]

“Elector” is synonymous with the word “voter” or “qualified elector or voter,” except where the word is used to describe presidential electors.

Definition [Election]

Any primary election, special primary election, special election, general election, or presidential preference primary election.

Definition [Candidate]

Any person to whom any one or more of the following applies:

(a) Any person who seeks to qualify for nomination or election by means of the petitioning process.
(b) Any person who seeks to qualify for election as a write-in candidate.
(c) Any person who receives contributions or makes expenditures, or gives his or her consent for any other person to receive contributions or make expenditures, with a view to bringing about his or her nomination or election to, or retention in, public office.
(d) Any person who appoints a treasurer and designates a primary depository.
(e) Any person who files qualification papers and subscribes to a candidate’s oath as required by law.
This definition does not include any candidate for a political party executive committee.

Cases

florida Cases

Out-of-State Cases

Case State: alabama

Case Name: Wakulla County Absentee Voter Intervenors v. Flack

Citation: 419 So.2d 1124

Year: 1982

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/7b36aba77fe4bf69c088614218e57b0d?query=Wakulla[...]

Case Summary: Wakulla County Absentee Voter Intervenors v. Flack held that when absentee voters were provided improper assistance in the casting of their ballots, the sanctity of the ballot and the validity of the election were adversely affected. The candidate at issue, a county judge, was certified and commissioned in that office.

Federal Cases

Case Name: American Ass’n of People with Disabilities v. Hood

Citation: 278 F. Supp. 2d 1345

Federal District Court: Middle District of Florida

Year: 2003

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/4355762ee3979182fef18f7836e2ce38

Case Summary: American Ass'n of People with Disabilities v. Hood held that the state had certified equipment that would allow visually impaired voters to vote without assistance from a third party.

Regulations & Guidance

Additional Resources

Further Reading

  • 24 Florida Practice Series s 15:18, Forms for oaths to be executed when Electors seeking assistance in casting ballots by Electors and Elections

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 3, Construction of election laws

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 152, Assistance to voters

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 157, Secrecy in voting

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 164, Casting ballots

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 228, Offenses in connection with voting-Illegal voting