Florida Election Officials Prepare for Impact of New Law

Florida election officials are preparing for the impact of a new law that will require, among other things, additional information for voters currently registered. These requirements are in addition to any new requirements that may pass in the closing days of the current legislative session.

The bill under current consideration, HB 7061, sponsored by State Representative Daniel Perez (R – Miami), is headed to the House floor after passing the House Appropriations Committee in a party line vote. An amendment to the bill during the meeting made it almost identical to SB 524, which passed last Thursday.

The amendment requires supervisors of elections to maintain voter roll lists annually instead of every two years. It also removed a section requiring the last four digits of a voter’s Social Security number, driver’s license or photo ID on vote-by-mail ballots. The amendment also adds a fine to organizations if a person collecting voter applications on its behalf changes someone’s party affiliation without consent. The fine is $1,000 per altered application.

The revised bill directs the secretary of state to work on a plan to “prescribe the use of a Florida driver license number, Florida identification card number, Social Security number, or any part thereof to confirm the identity of each elector returning a vote-by-mail ballot.” The secretary of state would have to submit the plan by Jan. 1.

However, last year’s election bill – which is current law – requires more information to be collected on voters. And some election officials are now preparing for the new requirement.

For example, Leon County Supervisor of Elections, Mark S. Earley (pictured above), announced Wednesday that he is preparing letters to mail out to county voters whose voter registration records are missing key information.

The information missing from some voters’ registration records include a Florida driver’s license number, state ID card number, or the last four digits of their Social Security number.

Earley said this will affect approximately 13,0000 Leon County voters. There are a total of 204,539 registered voters in the county as of March 1, making the total amount around 6.4% of the voters.

“I understand that some voters may be concerned about receiving a letter requesting sensitive information,” said Supervisor Earley. “Voters are welcome to contact my office to confirm that these letters are genuine.”

Why the new information? Starting in 2006, voters were required to provide the information when registering to vote. Many voters who registered prior to 2006 are missing this information from their records.

This information update could impact approximately 900,000 of the 14 million voters registered in Florida.

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Steve Stewart is a senior contributor at The Florida Capital Star. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Mark S. Earley” by Mark S. Earley.

 

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