Given the projections for a close presidential race, Florida election law could once again take center stage in the days leading up to and following the election. With that possibility in mind, I will summarize in a series several legal issues that may come into play in November. This first in the series will address challenges to a person’s eligibility to vote.
Given the present uncertainty regarding the presence of non-citizens on the voter rolls, we could experience a significant number of challenges being made to a person’s eligibility to vote. Any voter or poll watcher with sufficient basis can challenge the right of any other voter to cast a ballot. Anyone wishing to challenge a voter at the polling place during early voting or on election day must submit an affidavit to the precinct clerk or inspector outlining the basis for the challenge prior to the casting of the challenged vote. Alternatively, the challenge can be made by delivering the affidavit to the supervisor of elections office no sooner than 30 days prior to the election. The challenged voter will be permitted to vote by provisional ballot. The procedure for the determination of these challenges is outlined in the statutes and under most circumstances the local canvassing board will determine the validity of the challenge. Anyone filing a frivolous challenge of any person’s right to vote commits a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable by up to one year imprisonment.