§ 163-166.8. Assistance to voters.
Overview of Statute
Section authorizes any registered voter to be entitled to assistance from a qualified person and a voter with a disability to have assistance from any person of their choice so long as the person is not their employer or an officer or agent of the voter’s union.
(a) Any registered voter qualified to vote in the election shall be entitled to assistance with entering and exiting the voting booth and in preparing ballots in accordance with the following rules:
(1) Any voter is entitled to assistance from the voter’s spouse, brother, sister, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, mother-in-law, father-in-law, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, stepparent, or stepchild, as chosen by the voter.
(2) A voter in any of the following four categories is entitled to assistance from a person of the voter’s choice, other than the voter’s employer or agent of that employer or an officer or agent of the voter’s union:
a. A voter who, on account of physical disability, is unable to enter the voting booth without assistance.
b. A voter who, on account of physical disability, is unable to mark a ballot without assistance.
c. A voter who, on account of illiteracy, is unable to mark a ballot without assistance.
d. A voter who, on account of blindness, is unable to enter the voting booth or mark a ballot without assistance.
(b) A qualified voter seeking assistance in an election shall, upon arriving at the voting place, request permission from the chief judge to have assistance, stating the reasons. If the chief judge determines that such assistance is appropriate, the chief judge shall ask the voter to point out and identify the person the voter desires to provide such assistance. If the identified person meets the criteria in subsection (a) of this section, the chief judge shall request the person indicated to render the assistance. The chief judge, one of the judges, or one of the assistants may provide aid to the voter if so requested, if the election official is not prohibited by subdivision (a)(2) of this section. Under no circumstances shall any precinct official be assigned to assist a voter qualified for assistance, who was not specified by the voter.
(c) A person rendering assistance to a voter in an election shall be admitted to the voting booth with the voter being assisted. The State Board of Elections shall promulgate rules governing voter assistance, and those rules shall adhere to the following guidelines:
(1) The person rendering assistance shall not in any manner seek to persuade or induce any voter to cast any vote in any particular way.
(2) The person rendering assistance shall not make or keep any memorandum of anything which occurs within the voting booth.
(3) The person rendering assistance shall not, directly or indirectly, reveal to any person how the assisted voter marked ballots, unless the person rendering assistance is called upon to testify in a judicial proceeding for a violation of the election laws.
(2001-460, s. 3; 2017-6, s. 3; 2018-146, s. 3.1(a), (b).)
- Voter Assistance
1. Definition for Voting booth
“Voting booth” means the private space in which a voter is to mark an official ballot.
2. Definition for Voting place
“Voting place” means the building or area of the building that contains the voting enclosure.
3. Definition for board
The term “board” means the State Board with respect to all candidates for State, legislative, and judicial offices and the county board of elections with respect to all candidates for county and municipal offices. The term means the State Board with respect to all statewide referenda and the county board of elections conducting all local referenda.
4. Definition for Board
Board. – Any State board, commission, council, committee, task force,
authority, or similar public body, however denominated, created by statute or
executive order, as determined and designated by the State Board, except for
those public bodies that have only advisory authority.
5. Definition for State
“State” means a state of the United States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the United States Virgin Islands, or any territory or insular possession subject to the jurisdiction of the United States.
6. Definition for person
The term “person” means any business entity, corporation, insurance company, labor union, or professional association.
7. Definition for Ballot
(Effective until January 1, 2018 or September 1, 2019 – see note) “Ballot” means an instrument on which a voter indicates that voter’s choice for a ballot item so that it may be recorded as a vote for or against a certain candidate or referendum proposal. The term “ballot” may include a paper ballot to be counted by hand, a paper ballot to be counted on an electronic
scanner, the face of a lever voting machine, the image on a direct record electronic unit, or a ballot used on any other voting system.
(Effective January 1, 2018 or September 1, 2019 – see note) “Ballot” means an instrument on which a voter indicates that voter’s choice for a ballot item so that it may be recorded as a vote for or against a certain candidate or referendum proposal, and is evidenced by an individual paper document that bears marks made by the voter by hand or through electronic
means, whether preprinted or printed in the voting enclosure.
8. Definition for Office
(4) Office. – The elected office for which the candidate has filed or petitioned.
(2006-155, s. 1; 2006-259, s. 48(a); 2017-6, s. 3.)
9. Definition for election
The term “election” means any general or special election, a first or second primary, a run-off election, or an election to fill a vacancy. The term “election” shall not include any local or statewide referendum.
10. Definition for Election
“Election” means the event in which voters cast votes in ballot items concerning proposals or candidates for office in this State or the United States. The term includes primaries, general elections, referenda, and special elections.