Confused about where to vote? – look it up online at http://registration.elections.myflorida.com/
The Federal 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court’s ruling and entered a preliminary injunction barring the State of Florida from releasing funds to one of the candidates for Governor under the
excess spending subsidy of section 106.355. This section of the campaign finance portion of the Florida Election Code provided for a subsidy to candidates who opposition had exceeded a $2 per registered voter expenditure limit. The Division of Election’s brief to the 11th Circuit is online , along with the challenger’s brief.
The Florida Governor vetoed HB1207, a recently passed election law bill.
According to the bill analysis posted online, the bill would have reenacted and amended provisions related to electioneering communications and electioneering communication organizations (ECOs), revised provisions relating to use of local government funds for political advertising, and authorized the leader of each political party conference of the state House of Representatives and Senate to establish a separate, affiliated party committee to support the election of candidates of the leader’s political party. Here are links to coverage in the Miami Herald, Palm Beach Post, St. Pete Times, and Orlando Sentinel.
The Division of Elections has issued a new opinion dealing with the result of a recent Northern District federal case (Broward Coalition v. Browning) prohibiting enforcement of the electioneering communications provisions of Chapter 106, Florida Statutes, which the State apparently decided not to appeal further.
Numerous reports, including this one in the Miami Herald, indicate that leader of the Florida House of Representatives does not think there is enough time left in this session for the proposed elections bills. With the legislative session looking at either an extension or a special session this year, we’ll see what happens.
- Expressly providing that the Florida Election Code preempts any local provision regarding elections unless otherwise specifically provided by law.
- A substantial revision to third party voter registration organization requirements.
- The removal of retirement center identification and neighborhood association identification from the list of identifications that may be used at the polls or by certain first time voters.
- Prohibiting persons or groups from soliciting voters within 100 feet of the line in which voters are standing to enter a polling place or early voting site. Authorizing leadership funds.
- Requiring marksense ballots to be printed by precinct.
- Allowing an overseas voter to request, receive, or return an absentee ballot or ballot materials by electronic transmission, including e-mail or fax, if the Department of State can establish the security of the transmission.
- Revising the times when the Election Canvassing Commission must meet to certify an election to 9 a.m. on the 9th day after a primary election and 9 a.m. on the 14th day after a general election. Requiring supervisors of elections to be elected on a non-partisan basis.
- Provisions regulating paid petition circulators, including registration and the invalidation of petitions not in compliance with the act as well as offering a voter another opportunity to sign a petition to replace the one that is invalidated.
Whatever you think of the other proposed changes (and there are many articles regarding that, including a potential veto), the preemption of local authority to the state jumps out as an issue not mentioned in most articles. The past election cycle included several disputes between state and county officials regarding election law interpretation and this proposal appears to be an attempt to move away from local control. I’ve also not seen any discussion of whether the U.S. Dept. of Justice would preclear these kind of changes – although preclearance under the Voting Rights Act is itself presently under review by the U.S. Supreme Court.
I contributed a chapter to the American Bar Association to the America Votes! Supplement – just published today.
Per Executive Order 08-217, the Florida Governor extended early voting hours throughout Florida by declaring a State of Emergency. The new hours are 7AM-7PM through Friday and then 12 hours on the weekend. As before, the weekend hours will vary from county to county with some open on Sunday and other not. Check your local Supervisor’s website for more details in your county.
Is this legal? It happened in 2002 when the Governor then extended polling hours on primary election day to 9PM – the State Speaker of the House has questioned the action but says the Legislature will not challenge it.
So have people heard about this? My personal experience is yes as the early voting site I drove by this morning had a line wrapping around the building at 7:25AM despite a 46 degree temperature.
The lawyer for the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections has issued an opinion supporting the position of the Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections on the “no match, no vote” law. This is a law passed back in 2006, but only recently made effective due to preclearance delays and litigation, that requires “If a completed voter registration application has been received by the book-closing deadline but the driver’s license number, the Florida identification card number, or the last four digits of the social security number provided by the applicant cannot be verified, the applicant shall be notified that the number cannot be verified and that the applicant must provide evidence to the supervisor sufficient to verify the authenticity of the applicant’s driver’s license number, Florida identification card number, or last four digits of the social security number.” The dispute is whether this can be done by a pollworker calling in to the Supervisor’s office or only at the Supervisor’s office. The Florida Secretary of State has published a summary of his position.