163-48. Maintenance of order at place of registration and voting.

The chief judge and judges of election shall enforce peace and good order in and about the place of registration and voting. They shall especially keep open and unobstructed the place at which voters or persons seeking to register or vote have access to the place of registration and voting. They shall prevent and stop improper practices and attempts to obstruct, intimidate, or interfere with any person in registering or voting. They shall protect challenger and witnesses against molestation and violence in the performance of their duties, and they may eject from the place of registration or voting any challenger or witness for violation of any provisions of the election laws. They shall prevent riots, violence, tumult, or disorder.

In the discharge of the duties prescribed in the preceding paragraph of this section, the chief judge and judges may call upon the sheriff, the police, or other peace officers to aid them in enforcing the law. They may order the arrest of any person violating any provision of the election laws, but such arrest shall not prevent the person arrested from registering or voting if he is entitled to do so. The sheriff, police officers, and other officers of the peace shall immediately obey and aid in the enforcement of any lawful order made by the precinct election officials in the enforcement of the election laws. The chief judge and judges of election of any precinct, or any two of such election officials, shall have the authority to deputize any person or persons as police officers to aid in maintaining order at the place of registration or voting. (1901, c. 89, s. 72; Rev., s. 4376; C.S., s. 5977; 1955, c. 871, s. 4; 1967, c. 775, s. 1; 1993 (Reg. Sess., 1994), c. 762, s. 21.)