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florida > The Florida Election Code > Qualification And Registration Of ElectorsGeneral Provisions

§ 97.023 Procedures on complaints of violations.

Overview of Statute

This statute governs the process by which an individual can file a complaint alleging a violation of either the NVRA of 1993 or a voter registration/removal procedure in the Florida Election Code.

Statute

(1)
(a) Any person who is aggrieved by a violation of either the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 or a voter registration or removal procedure under the Florida Election Code may file a written complaint with the department, which shall serve as notice to the Secretary of State.
(b) A complaint must state the alleged violation and the person or entity responsible, who must be the department, a voter registration agency, a supervisor, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, or an Armed Forces Recruitment Center. If the department determines that a complaint fails to allege both a violation and a person or entity responsible for the violation, the department shall inform the complainant that he or she has not given sufficient notice and the steps that must be taken in order to give proper notice.
(c) For the purposes of this section, a violation of either the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 or a voter registration or removal procedure under the Florida Election Code is the failure to perform an act required or the performance of an act prohibited by either the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 or a voter registration or removal procedure under the Florida Election Code.
(d) The department has primary jurisdiction over complaints filed under the provisions of this section.

(2) When a complaint is filed with the department, the parties to the complaint must be given the opportunity to resolve the complaint through an informal dispute resolution process to be established by the department. This process must provide for:

(a) A time limitation of 30 days on the process, unless the alleged violation occurred within 120 days before the date of an election, in which case there must be a time limitation of 20 days;
(b) A mediator provided by the department, who may be a department employee unless the department is alleged to be responsible for the violation, in which case the Governor must appoint a mediator who is not a department employee;
(c) Notice to a complainant;
(d) Notice to a respondent of the allegations filed against him or her in the complaint;
(e) An opportunity for the parties to submit written statements, present oral argument either in person or by telephone, and present evidence; and
(f) A written statement by the mediator to the department stating the outcome of the dispute resolution process.

(3) If an alleged violation occurred within 30 days before the date of a state or federal election and the alleged violation will affect the registrant’s right to vote in that election, the complainant may immediately bring an action in the circuit court in the county where the alleged violation occurred. Otherwise, the following are conditions precedent for a complainant to bring an action for declaratory or injunctive relief in the circuit court in the county where the alleged violation occurred:

(a) The complainant gave proper written notice of the alleged violation to the Secretary of State;
(b) The complainant participated in the informal dispute resolution process; and
(c) An agreement is not reached or an alleged violation is not corrected within 90 days after receipt of notice or 20 days after receipt of notice if the alleged violation occurred within 120 days before the date of an election.

History:

s. 4, ch. 94-224; s. 1383, ch. 95-147.

Definition [Voter Registration Agency]

Any office that provides public assistance, any office that serves persons with disabilities, any center for independent living, or any public library. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(42).

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).

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