FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE Donald L. Palmer Director/Division of Elections Presented by M.I Matthews May 2008 Kurt S. Browning Secretary of State
Updates • Voter Education/Election Activities Funds • New DHSMV Biz Rules for Menu-Political Party Selection • Overrides on DL/SSN nonmatches (NAACP) • NVRA Workshops
Voter Education/Election Activity Funds • Appropriations Act 2008 - 2009 House General Appropriation Act (Conference Report) HB 5001: Not yet signed into law • Amount: $3,000,000; Source: Item 3149 Special Categories Grants and Aids—Federal Election Activities (HELP AMERICA VOTE ACT) from Grants and Donations Trust Fund • Authorized use: Election administration activities such as voter education; pollworker recruitment and training; revisions to the statewide pollworker curriculum; standardizing elections results reporting; or other federal election administrative activities as approved by the Department of State. • Agreements: DOS finalizing the memoranda form which will be forwarded for signature upon Act becoming law
DHSMV Current Business Rules for Political Party Menu Selection Lists all registered major and minor political parties alphabetically 2 major political parties 30 minor political parties Provides no option for someone NOT to enter a change to currently recorded political party Provides option for someone to print-out the political party list from the menu.
DHSMV’s New Menu System Change for Political Party Selection –(July 2008) Revises political party selection order: Major party listing (Florida Democratic Party and Republican Party of Florida) No party affiliation No change to party option Minor party listing (pull-down/list in alphabetical order) Allows someone to come in and make changes other than political party (no change to political party feature) Allows someone to print-out the political party list for someone to review Party updates will continue to be sent immediately to DHSMV and current list of all registered parties remains always available at: http://election.dos.state.fl.us/online/parties.shtml
Proposed Menu Screen-Political Party Selection for New Applications and Updates
Proposed Menu Screen for Update to Voter Registration Record (other than political party--party option not displayed)
History on Verification and Overrides (section 97.053(6), Fla. Stat.; enacted in 2005, eff. 01/2006, precleared by DOJ) • Stated that a voter registration application can only be processed further once the driver’s license number, state identification number or last 4 of SSN (personal identification number) • Gave a voter who had to vote provisionally (because his/her personal identification number had not yet or could not be verified) the right to present authenticating proof to the SOE of the number on the application. • Provided a timeframe up to 5 pm on 3rd day if provisional ballot was to count (other possibility- number verified before the end of the canvassing period) • Did not provide an option for someone to come in before going to the polls to vote in order to avoid having to vote provisionally although person had submitted an otherwise completed application by book closing.
“Override” • June/July 2006: Department of State authorizes ‘override’ procedure • Allows someone to come in before voting at polls and provide to the Supervisor of Elections evidence authenticating the number provided on the application so that SOE could override system and register person. Person could then vote at polls as a registered voter in lieu of voting provisionally.
Override (Cont’d) • “Override” procedure codified in 2007 (eff. 01/08)(See s. 13, ch. 2007-30, Laws of Florida amending section 97.053(6), Fla. Stat.; precleared by DOJ just 2 weeks before PPP on January 29, 2008) • Allows someone who submits otherwise complete application but whose number is not yet or could not be verified to come in beforehand and provide to the Supervisor of Elections evidence authenticating the number provided on the application so record could be overridden and person could vote as registered voter. • Allows voter to present (if number not otherwise verified by end of canvassing period), evidence anytime before going to vote and up to 5 p.m. of the second day (in lieu of 3 days) after the election. • If person brings in evidence in to SOE before upcoming election and number authenticated, then SOE overrides record and registers person. Person gets to vote as registered voter. • If person has not yet brought in evidence to SOEs(not to pollworker at polling place) before going to vote at polls, person has to be vote by provisional ballot.
Court Challenge to Verification/Override Process • 09/17/07:NAACP files lawsuit against State challenging s. 97.053(6), Fla. Stat.(2007) on 2 major grounds: • Alleges violation of federal law: HAVA and NVRA • Alleges violation of constitutional law (Amend. 1 & Amend 14)
NAACP Lawsuit-cont’d • 12/18/07: Federal court issues preliminary injunction—means . . . suspend enforcement of the provision • 12/21/07: Department sends SOEs e-mail with memo regarding procedure to follow which is: • Override applications that are ‘pending’ solely because DL/State Id/SSN (last 4) could not be verified.
NAACP Lawsuit-cont’d • 4/3/08: 11th Circuit Court of Appeals lifts injunction finding no federal law violation BUT constitutional challenge remains (for purposes of possible future injunction) • SOEs sent notice via e-mail with copy of court order and update but advised to continue using procedures set forth in 12/21/07 memorandum • 4/7/08: Secretary of State issues statement that no enforcement at this time pending litigation • 4/15/08: NAACP renews motion for preliminary injunctive relief on remaining constitutional ground • 06/06/08: Hearing scheduled in U.S. District Court for the Middle District in Gainesville.
Legislative Change to Override Process • Florida Legislature revises section 97.053(6) again (s. 3, SB 866ER; eff. upon becoming law (not yet) but subject to DOJ preclearance. • Allows someone who submitted an otherwise completed application but whose number did not verify to come in and provide to the Supervisor of Elections (not to poll worker at polling place) evidence authenticating the person’s DL/State ID or SSN regardless of whether that was the number he or she provided initially on the application. (before it had to be the number provided on the application) • Requires same time frame for presenting evidence: That is, • If person wants to vote at polls as registered, person has to present authentic evidence of his/her DL, state ID, or last 4 digits of number anytime before voting at the polls • If person wants to wait for DHSMV to verify number and see if number gets verified by end of canvassing period, she or he will have to vote provisional ballot. If the verification comes in during that time, the ballot will be counted. • If person wants to present evidence after the election, the voter has to vote provisionally and then bring in evidence anytime up to 5 p.m. of the 2nd day following the election in order for the provisional ballot to be counted.
What to do, what to do. • Listen to Sarah Jane. • Maintain status quo-Continue to follow procedures in 12/21/07 memo • Work ‘DHSMV suspense files to override. • Review cumulative weekly list of ‘incomplete’ DL/SSN nonverification/nonmatch. If there is reason why record cannot be overridden other than nonverification, let us know. • Follow up with registrant to determine why the number did not or could not be verified. • By the way, regardless of law suit—registrants must still fill in field #6 (DL/State ID/last 4 SSN) on application. • DHSMV/SSA still verifying the personal identifying number.
2008 NVRA Regional Workshop-7 regional (April-June 2008) • Offices that issue driver’s licenses/state identification cards—DHSMV and Tax Collectors • Voter Registration Agencies designated by federal law and state law • Any Office that Provides Public Assistance (specifically): • Department of Children and Families (Any office offering assistance through food stamp programs, The Medicaid Program, The WAGES Program) • Department of Health (The Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC program) • Any provider with whom either of these agencies contracts • Any Office that Serves Persons with Disabilities (specifically): • Agency for Persons with Disabilities • Educational Institutes with Offices Serving Persons with Disabilities • Department of Education (Division of Blind Services and Division of Vocational Rehabilitation) • Centers for Independent Living • Military Recruitment Offices • Public Libraries (only entity not required to use preference forms)
Contents • History • Federal/State Statutory Duties • Procedures • Highlights/Points of Concern
Who may register/pre-register • Anyone (otherwise eligible) who is 18 years of age • Anyone (otherwise eligible) on or after 17 years of age may pre-register • Anyone (otherwise eligible) who is younger than 17 and is or has been issued a driver’s license (includes permit as defined by DHSMV) (E.g., 15 year old) Parental or guardian co-approval/co-signature is not required). • If SB 866ER (2008) becomes law, the class of potential pre-registrants will change to anyone (otherwise eligible) as young as 16 years of age regardless of driver’s license or social security number
Special Classes of Registrants • Persons subject to protective injunctions- • Registration outside of FVRS • Participation in Attorney General Address Confidentiality Program for substitute mailing address for registration and absentee ballot voting. (Subject to 4-year renewal) • Persons eligible to request address confidentiality • Section 119.071(4)(d)1., Fla. Stat. • Applicable to persons in high-risk professions (e.g., judges, state attorneys, child abuse investigators, human resource officers, law enforcement personnel, etc.) • Exemption triggered only by written request • Written request must be submitted to each and every agency (except employing agency) that may have address, phone and photo information • Residential address still required to be provided—means post submission protection • Agency custodian of record responsible for ensuring confidential information IS NOT released or disclosed
To provide the persons with information regarding right to apply or update or not, right to ask for help, right to confidentiality regard certain information, and right not to have benefits contingent on exercising right to register or not. To track voter registration agency activities under NVRA including whether voter registration agencies are complying with the law and whether persons are using the opportunities provided by NVRA to apply or do updates Preference Forms
Political Party Affiliation • Political Party Affiliation Selection . . . .affects right to vote or not vote for certain contests in primary election • Discussion of Florida as CLOSED PRIMARY ELECTION STATE. Only voters registered with a political party can vote for that respective party’s nominee(s) in a race on a ballot in a Primary Election or a Presidential Preference Primary Election (PPP). • Exceptions: All registered voters, regardless of party or no-party affiliation, can vote in primary election or PPP WHEN it involves: • Statewide constitutional amendments and other public measures • Non-partisan office contests, and • Partisan candidate races in which all nominees are from the same party and there is no opposition in the upcoming general election (known as Universal Primary Contest-UPC).
Political Party Affiliation Menu Changes at DHSMV • DHSMV current system menu selection • Lists together all major and minor political parties alphabetically • Provides no option for ‘no party change’ • Provides functionality to print-out party list • DHSMV new system menu selection changes (by July 2008): • Breaks out political party options into: • Major party listing (Florida Democratic Party and Republican Party of Florida) • No party affiliation • Minor party listing (pull-down menu/list in alphabetical order) • No change to political party feature • Provides the option of “no change to political party’ • Provides option to print-out current list of political parties
Importance of Completing Required Fields including Oath, Signature, Date • A voter registration application must contain the original signature of the applicant. It attests that person read the oath. • No one can sign for someone else. No parent, no person under authority of power of attorney nor a guardian can sign for a registrant or pre-registrant. • An applicant if unable to sign with a signature can sign with an “X” or other mark if that is all he or she is capable of or if that is way he or she usually signs because of difficulty with a disability.
Voter Information Card-Importance • Key communication from SOEs office that some registration activity has occurred whether it be a new registration, update or other change. • Person should be contacting SOEs immediately if he or she has not received a voter information card within 2 weeks of submission • Person should be reviewing voter information card. It is a reference card that confirms official recorded FVRS information including a person’s name, date of birth, legal residential address, registration date, registered political party or no-party affiliation, congressional, and other office districts, and assigned voting precinct assigned.
Importance of Date-Stamping or Date of Post-mark • Date of receipt stamp = voter’s registration date if application is otherwise complete at time of submission (hand-delivered application) • Date of postmark = voter’s registration date if application otherwise complete at time of submission (as mailed-in directly to SOE, DOE, military recruiter’s office, or other voter registration agency) • If application is incomplete, the date of registration is the date all required information to determine eligibility is received. • If no post-mark or postmark date is unclear, then date received by SOE or Division of Elections becomes voter’s registration unless received by supervisor of election within 5 days after book closing. Then book closing date = date of registration.
Types of Valid Applications • Agency approved forms • Statewide voter registration application form (DS-DE #39 01/08) • Make sure English and Spanish always available (keep same versions available) • Discard versions older than 01/06 • Accept version 01/06 until December 2008 • National Mail-in Application • Federal Post-Card Application/Absentee Ballot Request
Importance of Source Coding • Credits voter registration agency (including DHSMV and tax collectors’ office) for voter registration activities from or through which someone either used the agency to fill out and/or submit (hand-deliver or mail in) a new application or update to a current voter registration record. • If SOE gets an envelope or courier bag from DHSMV, tax collectors office, military recruitment center or voter registration agency with applications enclosed, the source of the application should be recorded as coming from or through that office.
Source Coding • FVRS assigns and records 7 major source codes: • DHSMV • Mail (not otherwise falling into other source code categories) • Public Assistance • Disability (educational institutes w/ offices serving students with disabilities falls also under this code) • Military Recruiters • Public Libraries/Centers for Independent Living • Other-(SOE’s Office, third-party registration organizations, etc.)
Source Coding(cont’d) • Source code data recorded in FVRS is used to compile statistical information about NVRA activities by voter registration agency. • Florida Department of State reports voter registration source data to the U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC). • The EAC uses that information to issue its bi-ennial report to Congress about the level of voter registration activity occurring at DHSMV and other NVRA voter registration agencies and the effectiveness of the law.
Non-Compliance with NVRA or Voter Registration or Removal Processes Under Florida Election Code • Civil Remedy-NVRA Administrative Complaint and/or Court Action–Available to any person who alleges that he or she was aggrieved by the Department of State, supervisor of elections, DHSMV, military recruitment center, and any voter registration agency for violations of NVRA or other registration/removal process under the Florida Election Code (s. 97.023, Fla. Stat.. 42 U.S.C 1973gg-9) • Informal dispute resolution, then civil court action • If violation within 30 days for federal election-direct to civil action • Attorney fees
Things We’ve Learned • Ensure designation of NVRA coordinators at respective agencies or offices • Target DHSMV and voter registration agency staff/employee/professional conferences to improve attendance • Conduct annual in lieu of bi-ennial workshops • Update Voter Registration Preference Form • Establish rules for uniform voter registration intake processes and source coding, etc. • Establish criteria for data collection to improve on responses to U.S. EAC Surveys • Recommend including voter registration services in job description so employees are on notice part of responsibility
Update on EAC 2008 Election Administration and Voting Survey • Public comment period ended May 19, 2008 at 4 p.m. • The Division of Elections submitted extensive comments.