As the 2020 election season approaches, recent events could make it unclear what to expect when you prepare to vote.

Carrying a Firearm When Voting In Person

It is likely you already know that you are not authorized to carry at a polling place in Florida, even with a Concealed Weapon & Firearm License (“CWFL”). Florida statute 790.06 lists the places that a CWFL holder is not authorized to carry a firearm.

Specifically, in relevant part, Fla. Stat. § 790.06(12)(a) states,

“A license issued under this section does not authorize any person to openly carry a handgun or carry a concealed weapon or firearm into: (6) any polling place.”

Therefore, if you go to vote in person, leave your firearm at home or locked securely in your car.

Mail-In Voting

With long lines, potentially violent protests, and COVID-19 concerns, you may be interested in voting via mail-in ballot. A request for a vote-by-mail ballot may be made in one of the following ways:

  • Online application on your county Supervisors of Elections website;
  • In writing (g., by email, fax, or mail) to Supervisor of Elections;
  • In person at Supervisor of Elections;
  • By telephone call to Supervisor of Elections.

To make a request, the following information is required:

  • The name of the voter for whom the ballot is being requested;
  • The voter’s address;
  • The voter’s date of birth; and
  • The voter’s signature (if the request is written).

There are additional rules that can be found on the Florida Department of State website. The deadline to request that a vote-by-mail ballot be mailed is no later than 5 PM on the 10th day before the election. However, the ballot must still be received by the Supervisor of Elections no later than 7 PM on Election Day if the voted ballot is to count.

Navigating Demonstrations and Protests

If you decide to vote in person and encounter a protest, I urge you to keep a level head and attempt to avoid escalating the situation. Remember that if you engage protesters and wind up in an altercation, you may wind up being arrested prior to casting your vote.

This may be the goal of some protestors who are looking to keep those with opposing views from voting. Voting is a critical civil right and responsibility that we enjoy, and I encourage everyone to vote. After all, every vote counts.

If you have any questions, please call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to me, your Independent Program Attorney.

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