Tampa Bay election officials remind voters of rules at polling places

Posted at 5:50 PM, Oct 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-22 18:34:41-04

TAMPA, Fla. — As we inch closer to Election Day, and with early voting already underway, what are you allowed and not allowed to do at polling places? Election officials have a few reminders for voters before they cast their ballot.

Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Craig Latimer wants you to come prepared with who you plan to vote for.

“We encourage people to bring their sample ballot that they’ve marked up to vote in person, but if you just wrote it on a napkin or a piece of paper, you’re welcome to bring that in too,” said Latimer. “The statute referencing photography in a polling site is pretty interesting. It says that there is no photography allowed in the polling site except to take a picture of your ballot. Now, it doesn’t say with you in it, it just says a picture of your ballot.”

According to Latimer’s read on the statute, selfies aren’t allowed in the polling site. Guns are also not allowed inside polling places. Latimer says credentialed poll watchers can’t talk to voters or poll workers, except the clerk in charge.

Latimer explains you can wear campaign gear, but you can’t bring attention to yourself.

“You can’t point at your hat and say vote for my guy or point to your shirt and say vote for my person,” said Latimer. “That’s considered solicitation.”

In Florida, there’s a no-solicitation zone within 150 feet of a polling place. ABC Action News political analyst Susan MacManus noted the downside of not putting a stop to issues like voter intimidation.

RECOMMENDED: Pinellas Sheriff investigates report of armed voter intimidation at St. Pete voting location

“It can tamp down turnout for people, and that’s the last thing that you want to happen in an election is for somebody to be intimidated,” said MacManus. “For example, standing in line and feeling so badly that they just leave and don’t vote at all.”

Hillsborough election officials say they are watching for issues like voter intimidation, but haven’t had complaints at their polling places, so far. If you suspect voter fraud, Latimer says you can call the state’s voter fraud hotline at 877-868-3737.

If you notice any voter intimidation, Latimer says to tell the poll deputy at your polling location.

“What you can do is you can vote, and that’s what we want everybody to do,” said Latimer.