New Law Curbs Campaigning At Polls

BY BUDDY NEVINS

Voters wading through a mob shoving brochures in your face may be a thing of the past because of a new law.

Passed last year in Tallahassee, the law extends the distance around a polling place where campaigning is verboten to 150 feet from 100 feet.  

The law requires poll workers to “designate the no-solicitation zone and mark the boundaries” before voting starts. 

That 50% larger campaigning-free area is a big deal.

At some big Early Voting locations, the law will place the “no-solicitation zone” beyond paths into the polling place, allowing voters a way to avoid pesky campaigners.

Will it end scenes like this? 

Early Voting, Coral Springs, 2018

It certainly will make it more difficult to campaign at the polls.

The new law also will make some voters happy. They resented being buttonholed by campaign workers at the polls. 

The new law should also take some pressure off campaign budgets. Some candidates have been paying workers to campaign at every Early Voting site.

The new law means that spending money at these locations would be a waste.   

For that reason some campaign consultants like the new law. They have long believed campaigning at polling places is largely worthless because most voters have made up their minds.

The exception to this: Low-visibility races, like campaigns for judge. Many voters enter the polling place having no idea who to support and a last-minute brochure can sway them, consultants say. 

But you have to be able to approach the voter to get that brochure in their hands.  And that will be more difficult with the new law. 




3 Responses to “New Law Curbs Campaigning At Polls”

  1. City activist Robert Walsh says:

    I think it’s a good idea.Some residents were telling me during last election felt very uncomfortable with people with their posters,buttons,t- shirts etc.For this reason I agree with the parameters around voting locations.People(some) are more than overzealous for their canidates they support.So I agree.Plus all this money people give to these canidates is absurd.Me, personally I would not take one dime.Its like taking money from a loan- shark.This notion because u give campaign donations the candidate/ elected official is bound and committed to do what they want.I think not.R u seeing this area lobbyists/ and esp.Land Use Attys…Oh u better pray I keep getting discouraging comments in regards to running for elected office.My concern unfortunately is can I afford to run.Im self employed and I’m just not sure I can manage my finances not being able to work 70 hrs or so/week.Being the bread winner even thou I have no children/spouse.Will see…

  2. Anonymous says:

    ….told me I needed to spend 20k on “volunteers.” I should have flushed it down the toilet. I’m convinced ….put some of the money in….pocket.

  3. A reader says:

    I am a voter and a sometimes volunteer ( in the true sense of the word) for candidates. I see no problem with this law because almost everyone who takes the time to vote has made up their minds before they arrive at the polling place.

    I do see a concern about being able to knock on doors and take to people when working for a candidate. There are so many condos and apartments and gated communities in S Florida that large areas of districts are inaccessible to campaign workers. Single family homes in ungated communities, duplexes, community associations, and trailer parks are the most accessible places that provide an opportunity for candidates to talk with voters.

    Of course, there is email, text, Facebook,media ads, etc. However, nothing is more effective to reach a voter than face to face communication.

    This situation cannot be solved by a law. It is perhaps a reason some voters do not really know who they are voting for. S. Florida gets some unusual winners of political races.

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