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florida > The Florida Election Code > Registration Office, Officers, And Procedures

§ 98.045 Administration of voter registration.

Overview of Statute

This statute provides an outline of the administration of voter registration in Florida, and also elaborates on the election supervisor’s participation in the registration process. He or she must make sure that eligible applicants for voter registration are registered to vote. The supervisor also has to make sure that each voter registration application is processed in accordance with Florida law. To ensure that an applicant is eligible, the supervisor has to make sure that none of the following apply: the applicant cannot fail to complete the application[1], the applicant cannot be deceased, the applicant cannot be a convicted felon whose rights have yet to be restored, the applicant cannot be mentally incapacitated with respect to the right to vote, the applicant has to meet the age requirement[2], the applicant has to be a United States citizen, the applicant cannot be a fictitious person, and the applicant cannot have provided an address that is not his/her legal residence.

Once a voter is registered, he/she cannot be removed from the voter rolls unless he/she submits a written request, is convicted of a felony, is found to be mentally incapacitated with respect to voting, or is dead. Voters can also be removed after registration list maintenance, as long as that maintenance is conducted under s. 98.065[3] or 98.075[4]. If a voter registration official receives information from another state that shows that a Florida voter has registered to vote in a different state, the information constitutes a written request from the voter to be removed from the Florida voter rolls.

Another part of the supervisor’s job is to maintain all records regarding the use of registration list maintenance programs. The records must be maintained for at least 2 years, and must be available to the public. The records must include lists of the name and address of each person to whom maintenance notices were sent, and also must indicate whether the voter responded to the notice. The records cannot include confidential information or information exempt from public records requirements under Florida law.

The department of elections has to assemble and maintain a statewide electronic database of valid residential addresses from the information provided by the supervisors of elections. The department must also make the database available to the DMV, which uses it to validate the addresses provided in voter registration applications received by the DMV.

[1] See 97.053. Acceptance of voter registration applications

[2] See 97.041. Qualifications to register or vote

[3] See 98.065. Registration list maintenance programs.

[4] See 98.075. Registration records maintenance activities; ineligibility determinations

Statute

(1) ELIGIBILITY OF APPLICANT.The supervisor must ensure that any eligible applicant for voter registration is registered to vote and that each application for voter registration is processed in accordance with law. The supervisor shall determine whether a voter registration applicant is ineligible based on any of the following:

(a) The failure to complete a voter registration application as specified in s. 97.053.
(b) The applicant is deceased.
(c) The applicant has been convicted of a felony for which his or her civil rights have not been restored.
(d) The applicant has been adjudicated mentally incapacitated with respect to the right to vote and such right has not been restored.
(e) The applicant does not meet the age requirement pursuant to s. 97.041.
(f) The applicant is not a United States citizen.
(g) The applicant is a fictitious person.
(h) The applicant has provided an address of legal residence that is not his or her legal residence.
(i) The applicant has provided a driver license number, Florida identification card number, or the last four digits of a social security number that is not verifiable by the department.

(2) REMOVAL OF REGISTERED VOTERS.

(a) Once a voter is registered, the name of that voter may not be removed from the statewide voter registration system except at the written request of the voter, by reason of the voter’s conviction of a felony or adjudication as mentally incapacitated with respect to voting, by death of the voter, or pursuant to a registration list maintenance activity conducted pursuant to s. 98.065 or s. 98.075.
(b) Information received by a voter registration official from an election official in another state indicating that a registered voter in this state has registered to vote in that other state shall be considered as a written request from the voter to have the voter’s name removed from the statewide voter registration system.
(3) PUBLIC RECORDS ACCESS AND RETENTION.Each supervisor shall maintain for at least 2 years, and make available for public inspection and copying, all records concerning implementation of registration list maintenance programs and activities conducted pursuant to ss. 98.065 and 98.075. The records must include lists of the name and address of each person to whom a notice was sent and information as to whether each such person responded to the mailing, but may not include any information that is confidential or exempt from public records requirements under this code.

(4) STATEWIDE ELECTRONIC DATABASE OF VALID RESIDENTIAL STREET ADDRESSES.

(a) The department shall compile and maintain a statewide electronic database of valid residential street addresses from the information provided by the supervisors of elections pursuant to s. 98.015. The department shall evaluate the information provided by the supervisors of elections to identify any duplicate addresses and any address that may overlap county boundaries.
(b) The department shall make the statewide database of valid street addresses available to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles as provided in s. 97.057(10). The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall use the database for purposes of validating the legal residential addresses provided in voter registration applications received by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
(5) FORMS.The department may prescribe by rule forms necessary to conduct maintenance of records in the statewide voter registration system.

History:

s. 26, ch. 94-224; s. 36, ch. 97-13; s. 2, ch. 2002-17; s. 7, ch. 2003-415; s. 9, ch. 2005-277; s. 18, ch. 2005-278.

Annotation: January 28, 2016 5:37 pm

In April 2007, then Florida Governor Charlie Crist, changed the process for ex-offenders convicted of less serious offenses to regain their rights without a hearing provided that the state’s Parole Commission approved it. Nearly four years later, in March 2011, Governor Rick Scott, both elected the previous November, along with the Florida Cabinet, set a minimum five-year waiting period for ex-offenders.

Definition [Voter Registration Official]

Any supervisor of elections or individual authorized by the Secretary of State to accept voter registration applications and execute updates to the statewide voter registration system. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(43).

Definition [Person]

An individual or a corporation, association, firm, partnership, joint venture, joint stock company, club, organization, estate, trust, business trust, syndicate, or other combination of individuals having collective capacity. The term includes a political party, affiliated party committee, or political committee. Fla. Stat. § 106.011(14).

Definition [Election]

Any primary election, special primary election, special election, general election, or presidential preference primary election. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(12).

Regulations & Guidance

Additional Resources

Further Reading

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 47, Statewide voter registration system; database of valid residential street addresses

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 49, Powers and duties of supervisors of elections-Adminstration of voter registration