Timely Issues in Florida Election Law: Topic 1- Voter Challenges

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.

Voter Challenges (F.S. 101.111, 101.048(2)(a), 101.657(4)(b) )

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.

See Topic 2 – Provisional Ballots.    Topic 3 – Challenges to Absentee Ballot  Certificate.

Topic 4 _ RecountsTopic 5 – Election Contests.

Thomas D. Shults, Esq.

About Thomas D. Shults, Esq.

Tom Shults is a partner in the law firm of Kirk-Pinkerton P.A. He represents clients in a range of matters including election law issues,complex business and commercial disputes and probate and trust suits. Mr. Shults is a Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyer. Board certification is the highest level of evaluation by The Florida Bar of competency and experience within a specific area of law. Mr. Shults also holds the highest peer rating possible (AV) from the independent attorney rating agency, Martindale Hubbell. He was recently appointed chair of the Code and Rules of Evidence Committee of the Florida Bar and is a recipient of the Distinguished Community Service Award of the Sarasota County Bar Association. He is an Army veteran and was admitted to the Bar in 1983.
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