Fed court upholds Florida 100-foot voting place ban on petitionsby Dara Kam | July 1st, 2009
A federal appellate court upheld a Florida law that bars petition gatherers from bothering voters within 100 feet of a polling place.
The U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit, overturned a lower court’s ruling that made the law unable to enforce during August’s primary elections. Voters complained then of being accosted by signature gatherers as they exited their polling sites.
Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning, a former elections supervisor, filed the appeal.
The court ruled that “exit petitioning” is akin to traditional political canvassing, which is also barred within 100 feet of a polling place.
“We believe the sanctity of the voting process and the abuse it has historically faced must allow the Florida legislature to exercise some foresight, to take precautions, and to prohibit questionable conduct nearly polling places before that conduct proves its danger; a compromised election is too great a harm to require otherwise.”