Florida election threats

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Voter registration

This section details threats to voters from and problems with the state's voter registration system.

Verification, database and rejection

  • A Common Cause examination of voting preparedness rated Florida's voter registration rejection system as "unsatisfactory," citing, "Application is rejected if it is missing any of the following: name; residence address; date of birth; affirmation of U.S. citizenship; Florida driver’s license number, Florida identification card number, or last four digits of social security number; affirmation that registrant is not ineligible to vote because of a felony conviction; affirmation that registrant is not mentally incapacitated; signature."[1]
  • A Common Cause examination of voting preparedness rated Florida's voter registration verification system as "unsatisfactory," citing, "Registration accepted as valid only when Florida driver’s license number, Florida identification card number, or last four digits of social security number is verified. Exact match standard. A voter can only remedy this before the election by bringing in evidence of the number. Litigation is ongoing."[1]

Notification and appeal

  • A Common Cause examination of voting preparedness rated Florida's registration notification system as "unsatisfactory," citing, "The supervisor notifies applicants who are ineligible to vote of the reasons why their registration was not accepted; an applicant has 30 days to respond if he/she wants to contest his/her ineligibility and request a hearing. If the voter does not respond within 30 days, a supervisor of elections may remove his/her name from the voter registration list."[1]

3rd party registration

  • A Common Cause examination of voting preparedness rated Florida's 3rd party registration as "unsatisfactory," citing, "In litigation, but most recently a judge denied a request for preliminary injunction and at the time of this writing formal rules for implementation had not yet been established. However, the law in place will require a group wishing to conduct a voter registration drive to register with the state, provide the names and contact information of the person responsible for the group, and establish the group’s legal responsibility for any registration forms collected. Fines will be imposed for missing deadlines for turning in forms."[1]

NVRA implementation

  • A Common Cause examination of voting preparedness rated Florida's NVRA implementation as "inconclusive," citing, "State law provides for implementation of the “Motor-Voter” section of NVRA, as well as the §7 public assistance agency provisions. State reports that it is fully enforcing these provisions. ACORN/Project Vote report that it is not."[1]

Student voting rights

Voter education

This section details past and potential election threats caused by the state's laws, regulations and practices on voter education, how to vote, information on elections, etc.


  • A Common Cause examination of voting preparedness rated Florida's voter education on polling place locations and hours as "unsatisfactory," citing, "Secretary of State Website, no polling place locator. Directs voters to contact their county election offices and provides an interactive map on its website that voters can use to find their county’s contact information," and "many counties included polling place information with the sample ballots they mailed or published in newspapers."[1]
  • A Common Cause examination of voting preparedness rated Florida's voter education on voting machines as "unsatisfactory."[1]
  • A Common Cause examination of voting preparedness rated Florida's voter education on ID requirements as "mixed," citing, "some counties included identification requirements information with the sample ballots they mailed or published in newspapers." "Volusia County partnered with its local bus service to provide free rides to all riders with their voter identification; they advertised the program through newspaper ads and press releases."[1]

Absentee and early voting

This section details problems with and threats to the state's absentee and early voting system.


  • October 24, 2008, Lee County, early voters are being told by poll workers that absentee ballots were already sent to them, but the ballots were not received. They can vote provisionally, but their vote cannot be counted until the absentee ballot is surrendered.[2]

Voter suppression and intimidation

This section details problems and threats involving fraud, intimidation and suppression efforts.


Deceptive practices laws

  • A Common Cause examination of voting preparedness rated Florida's deceptive practices law as "unsatisfactory," citing, "No explicit prohibitions of suppression or deceptive practices."[1]

Voter caging, purges and other eligibility challenges

Main article: Voter roll purges
  • Oct. 28, 2008. Florida's "no-match no-vote" list has grown to 12,165, according to an updated version released by the state this week. [3] Search the "no-match" list here. The list, which is heavily comprised of Hispanic and African-American voters, [3] requires voters to confirm their identities in advance or face casting a provisional ballot at the polls. However, A Miami Herald survey of 50 randomly-selected voters taken from the list found that over one-third were not aware of the list's existence.[3]
  • Oct 27, 2008. A CNN story[4] say many Florida voters have been purged from the voter rolls without legitimate reason. The report says that "officials found that 75 percent of about 20,000 voter registration applications from a three-week period in September were mismatched due to typographical and administrative errors. Florida's Republican secretary of state ordered the computer match system implemented in early September.
  • Oct. 22, 2008. Volusia County Republicans announced they will use home foreclosure lists to challenge voters at the polls on election day.[5][6]
  • Sept. 16, 2008. Florida Republicans are sending "Do Not Forward" mail, and using returns to compile "challenge lists" even though people might forward their mail when they travel or for other reasons.[7][8].
  • 11/2/2004. Sanford, FL. Several hundred ballots in Seminole County were rejected by voting machines because they were wet, although supervisor of elections, Dennis Joyner, claims the ballots were dry when shipped out of the office. There had been no rain in the area. There were also complaints of voter intimidation in the precinct. [9]

No-match no-vote law

  • A new "no-match, no-vote" law removes tens of thousands of people from the voter registration rolls because their names do not exactly match a federal database.[10] People registered as 'Dave' would be removed from the voter rolls if they are listed as 'David' in the federal database. Names like 'Sam', 'John' and 'Bob' would also trigger removal. The voters will be given a provisional ballot but only two days following the election to prove who they are. The law is controversial but Florida officials have chosen to err on the side of removing large numbers of voters from the rolls while the law's legality is being decided by the courts.
  • The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida offers a brief history of the law[11]:

"the Florida legislature enacted the original version of the no-match law in 2005. It went into effect in January 2006. The law prevented 13,000 voters from being registered on Election Day in 2006, and in 2007, it prevented 16,000 voter applicants from being added to the voter rolls. In September 2007, several organizations that conduct voter registration sued to challenge the law, arguing that it needlessly prevented eligible voters from registering to vote.

In December 2007, a federal trial court issued a preliminary ruling that blocked enforcement of the law. That ruling was overturned in a split decision by an appellate court in April 2008, and in June 2008, the trial court refused to issue another preliminary injunction to block enforcement of the law."

  • The ACLU of Florida has issued a Q&A[11] on the no-match law which includes the following:

"Q: What is the purpose of the "no match" law?
A: Supporters of the law now argue that it is necessary to prevent voter fraud; however, there is scant evidence of voter fraud in Florida. Florida's "no match" law is one of the most burdensome in the country. The law results in many "no matches" for African-Americans, Haitians, and Latinos with nontraditional or hyphenated names and, thus, disproportionately prevents these voter applicants from becoming registered to vote.

Voter intimidation and deception

  • November 4, 2008. Voters are receiving text messages advising them they can vote Wednesday, the day after Election Day. Reports include, but are not limited to, "Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Pam Carpenter said her office has been receiving calls, mostly from students, complaining that they have been getting these messages, which can be classified as a form of voter suppression. "[12]
  • November 2, 2008. Some Okaloosa County Democrats receiving calls saying they can vote for Obama by phone so they don't have to go to the polls. After the voter dials the special voting number, "a pleasant voice said, "Thank you for your vote for Barack Obama."[13][14] Also reported in Broward County.[15]
  • A Common Cause examination of voting preparedness rated Florida's rules on challengers as "unsatisfactory," citing, "Any registered voter or poll watcher may challenge the right of another voter to cast a ballot at the polling place or by filling out an oath up to thirty days in advance of an election; there is a penalty for frivolous challenges."[1]

Polling places and voting

This section details past and potential election threats caused by the state's laws, regulations and practices on election practices, polling places, workers, providing election equipment, etc.


Poll worker training, recruitment and distribution

  • A Common Cause examination of voting preparedness rated Florida's poll worker recruitment as "mixed," citing, "State law requires that county supervisors form public-private partnerships with local businesses to recruit poll workers. There is no minimum poll staffing required by law. An expanding program allows 16 and 17 year olds to serve as poll workers."[1]
  • According to an October, 2008 Demos study,[16] in Florida,

Slightly over 5 percent of rejected provisional ballots, over twice the national rate, were thrown

out because they lacked the voter’s signature, suggesting inadequate instruction by inattentive

or harried poll workers.

Voter ID requirements

  • Nov. 4, 2008: Three counties in Southwest Florida faced network problems that prevented them from contacting the state's voter registration database. According to Sarasota County Supervisor of Elections Kathy Dent, poll workers were unable to verify the registration status of "hundreds" of voters who were new to the area, and were therefore forced to issue those voters provisional ballots. [17]
  • A Common Cause examination of voting preparedness rated Florida's voter identification rules as "unsatisfactory," citing, "Voters must present an approved form of photo identification—which is not limited to government-issued identification—in order to vote at the polling place. Voters who appear without proper identification may cast a provisional ballot, which will be counted if the county board verifies the voter’s eligibility Florida recently eliminated employee badges and buyer’s club identification from its list of acceptable forms of identification."[1]

See also "No-Match No-Vote" law

Polling place accessibility and wait times

  • November 4, 2008. Voting lines at University of Central Florida and the University of South Florida reportedly caused waiting times of five and four and a half hours, respectively.[18]

Voting machine and ballot distribution

  • A Common Cause examination of voting preparedness rated Florida's voting machine distribution as "unsatisfactory," citing, "State law now lacks any provision about machine distribution---the decision is left to county supervisors."[1]

Malfunctioning voting machinery

  • For an extensive log of voting machine problems, see the VotersUnite! report on election incidents.[19]

Ballot design

Provisional ballots

This section lists past and potential election threats caused by the state's laws, regulations and practices on provisional ballots. Particularly, what are the state's criteria for receiving a provisional ballot (including voting in the wrong precinct) and its procedures for verifying eligibility and then including those votes in the totals.


Criteria

Eligibility verification

Ballots cast in wrong precinct

  • According to an October, 2008 Demos study,[16],

Almost 27 percent of all provisional ballots rejected in Florida were cast in the wrong precinct in 2006. Evidence suggests that inadequately trained poll workers may have contributed to this high rejection rate; voters were sent in circles in search of correct precincts.

  • A Common Cause examination of voting preparedness rated Florida's rules for providing provisional ballots to voters in the wrong precinct as "unsatisfactory," citing, "Provisional ballots cast in the wrong precinct will not be counted."[1]

Vote verification and security

This section details past and potential election threats caused by the state's laws, regulations and practices on vote verification and security.


Voting machine verification and security

Vote tabulation procedures

Recount procedures

Chain of custody of ballots and e-voting equipment

Election public official issues

Premature media race calling

Vote result challenge procedures

Articles and resources

See also


References

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 Common Cause chart of election issues in Florida, part of the "Voting in 2008: 10 Swing States," a Common Cause report released September 16, 2008. The areas looked at include: voter registration, voter identification, caging and challenges, deceptive practices, provisional ballots, voting machine allocation, poll worker recruitment and training, voter education and student voting rights.
  2. "Voting fraud prevention has some Lee County voters venting," Naples News, October 24, 2008.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Steve Bousquet, 12,165 now on Florida's 'no match' vote list, St. Petersburg Times, October 28, 2008
  4. "Some voters 'purged' from voter rolls," CNN, October 27, 2008.
  5. In Volusia County thousands are newly registered, but may be challenged at polls," Delta-Daytona Beacon, October 10, 2008.
  6. "Central Florida Foreclosures Could Lead To Challenges At The Polls," WFTV.com, October 22, 2008.
  7. Steve Bousquet, "Democrats, Florida elections officials criticize GOP mailing," St. Petersberg Times, Sept. 16, 2008
  8. From Voter Suppression Wiki.
  9. "Wet Ballots Found, Rejected By Voting Machines", SLocal 6 News (November 2, 2006). 
  10. Florida voter caging, see Mary Ellen Klas, "'No match, no vote' law to be enforced," The Miami Herald, September 9, 2008.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Questions & Answers about Florida's "No Match" Law,. Retrieved October 28, 2008.
  12. "Students Receive Misleading Information on Election Day," ABC News, November 4, 2008.
  13. BREAKING: Florida Dems Told to Vote by Phone, OpEd News, October 14, 2008.
  14. From Voter Suppression Wiki.
  15. Snipes: Don't believe robocall! Snipes: Don't believe robocall! Sun Sentinel.com, November 2, 2008.
  16. 16.0 16.1 Scott Navakowski, "Provisional Ballots: Where to Watch in 2008," a report from Demos, October, 2008
  17. Anthony Cormier, Phone problems cause hundreds to have votes delayed, Sarasota Herald-Tribune Election Day Blog, November 4, 2008
  18. "Breaking News from FL: Lines at Florida universities up to five hours long," Election Protection Coalition, November 4, 2008.
  19. This past problem and description are from the VotersUnite! Election Problem Log. Click through for included links to origin of report.

External resources

Poll location

Election Protection hotlines

Voting information

Voting rights

Voting requirements

Election officials, election reform groups, and elected officials

Absentee voting

Disabled voters

Student voting rights

State ballot

  • See how organizations you trust recommend you vote on ballot measures and other statewide contests at TransparentDemocracy.

Languages

  • Help in other languages from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. 中文, 日本語, 한국어, Tagalog, Tiếng Việt, Español

Voting machines


External articles