Challenges at the Polls Could Disenfranchise Voters

Hundreds of college students marched to the Leon County Courthouse to take their places in line for early voting.

Organizer Delane Adams doesn’t mind the long wait. "This is about peoples’ lives; we’re talking about, future generations and that’s why it’s so important to bring everybody together and get in that voting booth and make your vote count."

But there are many forces at work, both Democrat and Republican, that may make it harder for you to vote. They’re harassing people at the polls, and challenging people’s right to vote.

Partisans on both sides shout their views at voters around the state, sometimes getting into verbal sparring matches. And the Republican Party is now keeping lists of people who might be illegally registered to vote. GOP poll watchers may challenge those voters when they show up, which would temporarily halt all voting at the precinct.

Governor Jeb Bush defends the plan. “I don’t think it will cause problems. I do think people who are not eligible to vote shouldn’t and the people who are should.”

Florida State Political Science professor Lance Dehaven Smith doesn’t buy it. "They may cast it as a positive thing and protecting the integrity of the election, but the reality is it’s undermining the voting process."

Florida voters may have to show more determination this year than ever to have their voices heard.

Voters who believe they’ve experienced harassment or intimidation, or been unfairly denied the right to vote are encouraged to call the Florida Voter Fraud Hotline toll free at 1-877-868-3737. You should also report the incident immediately to your county Supervisor of Elections or poll worker at the precinct.