Early voting locations

Depending on the county in which you live, early voting has either begun or is about to begin for the August 26, 2014 Primary Election.  The Division of Elections has published a list of all early voting sites in Florida – be sure to check the days and times available, as each county supervisor of elections was given discretion by this language in Section 101.657, Florida Statutes:

(d) Early voting shall begin on the 10th day before an election that contains state or federal races and end on the 3rd day before the election, and shall be provided for no less than 8 hours and no more than 12 hours per day at each site during the applicable period. In addition, early voting may be offered at the discretion of the supervisor of elections on the 15th, 14th, 13th, 12th, 11th, or 2nd day before an election that contains state or federal races for at least 8 hours per day, but not more than 12 hours per day. The supervisor of elections may provide early voting for elections that are not held in conjunction with a state or federal election. However, the supervisor has the discretion to determine the hours of operation of early voting sites in those elections.

Court finds Florida Congressional Redistricting Map to be Unconstitutional

A Leon County Circuit Court judge issued a final judgment in the cases of Romo v. Detzner & Bondi and The League of Women Voters of Florida, et al. v. Detzner finding “that districts 5 and 10 were drawn in contravention of the constitutional mandates of Article III, Section 20, thus making the redistricting map unconstitutional as drawn.”

The extensive docket of the case is online, you will likely need to scroll down to “2012 CA 000412: Romo, Rene vs Scott, Rick.”

The map of District 5 is highlighted below:

District 5

 

The map of District 10 is highlighted below:

District 10

The maps are published online by the Florida Senate.

The provisions of the Florida Constitution at issue were Article III, Sections 20 and 21, related to redistricting.

 

11th Circuit Court of Appeals: 2012 Florida Voter Purge violated NVRA

A three judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has concluded that Florida’s 2012 effort to remove ineligible voters was “an attempt to systematically remove names from the voter rolls in violation of the 90 Day Provision” contained in the National Voter Registration Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1973gg-6(c)(2)(A).

This order reverses the holding reported on this blog back in October, and comes after the State has apparently suspended their current systematic removal program.

The battle over absentee ballots

Please forgive the lack of posts over the last few months, as my wife and I were a bit distracted by the arrival of our son!

Related to the political debate over the Florida 13th Congressional District Special Election, the issue of the use of absentee ballots became a flashpoint.  The two primary sources documents involved, are the Secretary of State’s Directive (the only directive of 2013, and the only one originated by the current officeholder) and a letter from the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections, written in response.  News reports state that the two parties spoke and the Secretary decided to not pursue the issue further, but as of this writing the Directive remains in place.  What was in dispute was whether a Supervisor of Elections could have voters drop off their absentee ballot at a remote location that was not a typical elections office.  The State argued that “drop boxes” were not permitted.  Pinellas County argued the “drop boxes” were staffed by Deputy Supervisors of Elections, an audit trail was maintained, and the their goal was ensure that voters had more opportunities to participate in the process.

Legislation related to the issue was filed for this current legislative session, but news reports indicate the bill is presently on hold.  The legislative staff analysis cites the dispute and indicates that generally other Supervisors of Elections support their Pinellas colleague.  Putting aside the partisan accusations and arguements, the heart of the issue appears to be a very typical conflict in Florida- the issue of state control versus local home rule.

“Project Integrity” or Voter Purge? State begins new voter roll review effort.

The Secretary of State today begins a series of roundtable discussions with local supervisors of elections related to the State’s plan to renew efforts to systematically remove individuals from the voting roles that the State believes are non-citizens – an effort that the State has labeled “Project Integrity.”  Past efforts by the State were led to controversary over the accuracy of the State’s data and lists of voters and were challenged in part under the section of the Voting Rights Act since deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Shelby County, Alabama, v. Holder.  (See the recent dismissal of the prior action, published online by The Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law) 

Stories from Time Magazine and the Tampa Bay Times provide background on the issue, while a News-Press story highlights the concerns of local supervisors of elections. 

In their press release, the State provides this schedule of meetings:

  •  October 3rd, Bay County Area Supervisor Roundtable, 1:00 PM CST 830 West 11th Street, Panama City 32401
  • October 4th, Duval County Area Supervisor Roundtable, 11:00 AM EST 105 East Monroe Street, Jacksonville 32202
  • October 7th, Orange County Area Supervisor Roundtable, 1:00 PM EST 119 West Kaley Street, Orlando 32806
  • October 8th, Sarasota County Area Supervisor Roundtable, 10:00 AM EST 101 S. Washington Blvd., Sarasota 34236
  • October 9th, Broward County Area Supervisor Roundtable, 10:30 AM EST 115 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale 33301