Voting rules: Campaigning distance and what you can wear to the polls

MIAMI, FLORIDA - OCTOBER 21: A voter fills out his ballot as he votes at the Stephen P. Clark Government Center polling station on October 21, 2020 in Miami, Florida. The state of Florida saw a record-breaking first day of early voting with over 3.1 million votes cast. The early voting ends on Nov. 1. Voters are casting their ballots for presidential candidates President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Candidates and their supporters and flocking to early voting sites at Palm Beach County to pick up last minute voters with the election less than a week away.

The tradition is time honored: candidates handing out election pamphlets, waving signs, or just chatting with voters outside of polling places.

But what are the rules for candidates at voting sites?

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In Florida, candidates and political supporters have to stand 150 feet away from the door of the polling place.

“The rules are actually very simple. You can’t campaign near an election site,” said Charles Zelden, a political science professor at Nova Southeastern University. "It's usually considered to be 150 feet from the entrance of the door into where you vote.”

That rule can cause some controversy at polling places. CBS12 News has heard of some Palm Beach County polling places cracking down on the 150-feet rule and, in some cases, asking supporters to step back.

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At a Riviera Beach early voting site, CBS12 News watched as a voter confronted a local candidate who was standing in the entrance to the polling places’ parking lot. The voter believed the candidate was in violation of election law by blocking the parking lot’s entrance.

The candidate was 150 feet from the polling place door.

“What I’ve found is that most people who are campaigning follow the spirit [of the law],” Zelden said. “As long as you’re not hassling the voters most people are not going to be bothered by it.”

Also in Florida, contrary to popular belief, voters are allowed to wear clothing that shows a political affiliation when they go to the polls. Unlike some states, you can walk into a Florida polling place wearing something that supports a candidate, unless you work for specific government agencies that do not allow you to wear political clothing.

However, you must wear a mask when voting in Palm Beach County.