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florida > The Florida Election Code > Qualification And Registration Of ElectorsFlorida Voter Registration Act

§ 97.053 Acceptance of voter registration applications.

Overview of Statute

This statute governs the process by which voter registration applications are accepted by Supervisors of Elections, the Division of Elections, DMVs, voter registration offices, and armed forces recruitment offices.

Statute

(1) Voter registration applications, changes in registration, and requests for a replacement voter information card must be accepted in the office of any supervisor, the division, a driver license office, a voter registration agency, or an armed forces recruitment office when hand delivered by the applicant or a third party during the hours that office is open or when mailed.
(2) A voter registration application is complete and becomes the official voter registration record of that applicant when all information necessary to establish the applicant’s eligibility pursuant to s. 97.041 is received by a voter registration official and verified pursuant to subsection (6). If the applicant fails to complete his or her voter registration application prior to the date of book closing for an election, then such applicant shall not be eligible to vote in that election.
(3) The registration date for a valid initial voter registration application that has been hand delivered is the date that the application is received by a driver license office, a voter registration agency, an armed forces recruitment office, the division, or the office of any supervisor in the state.
(4) The registration date for a valid initial voter registration application that has been mailed to a driver license office, a voter registration agency, an armed forces recruitment office, the division, or the office of any supervisor in the state and bears a clear postmark is the date of that postmark. If an initial voter registration application that has been mailed does not bear a postmark or if the postmark is unclear, the registration date is the date the application is received by any supervisor or the division, unless it is received within 5 days after the closing of the books for an election, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays, in which case the registration date is the book-closing date.

(5)

(a) A voter registration application is complete if it contains the following information necessary to establish the applicant’s eligibility pursuant to s. 97.041, including:

1. The applicant’s name.
2. The applicant’s address of legal residence, including a distinguishing apartment, suite, lot, room, or dormitory room number or other identifier, if appropriate. Failure to include a distinguishing apartment, suite, lot, room, or dormitory room or other identifier on a voter registration application does not impact a voter’s eligibility to register to vote or cast a ballot, and such an omission may not serve as the basis for a challenge to a voter’s eligibility or reason to not count a ballot.
3. The applicant’s date of birth.
4. A mark in the checkbox affirming that the applicant is a citizen of the United States.
5.
a. The applicant’s current and valid Florida driver license number or the identification number from a Florida identification card issued under s. 322.051, or
b. If the applicant has not been issued a current and valid Florida driver license or a Florida identification card, the last four digits of the applicant’s social security number. 
In case an applicant has not been issued a current and valid Florida driver license, Florida identification card, or social security number, the applicant shall affirm this fact in the manner prescribed in the uniform statewide voter registration application.
6. A mark in the checkbox affirming that the applicant has not been convicted of a felony or that, if convicted, has had his or her civil rights restored.
7. A mark in the checkbox affirming that the applicant has not been adjudicated mentally incapacitated with respect to voting or that, if so adjudicated, has had his or her right to vote restored.
8. The original signature or a digital signature transmitted by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles of the applicant swearing or affirming under the penalty for false swearing pursuant to s. 104.011 that the information contained in the registration application is true and subscribing to the oath required by s. 3, Art. VI of the State Constitution and s. 97.051.
(b) An applicant who fails to designate party affiliation must be registered without party affiliation. The supervisor must notify the voter by mail that the voter has been registered without party affiliation and that the voter may change party affiliation as provided in s. 97.1031.
(6) A voter registration application may be accepted as valid only after the department has verified the authenticity or nonexistence of the driver license number, the Florida identification card number, or the last four digits of the social security number provided by the applicant. If a completed voter registration application has been received by the book-closing deadline but the driver 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 license number, Florida identification card number, or last four digits of the social security number. If the applicant provides the necessary evidence, the supervisor shall place the applicant’s name on the registration rolls as an active voter. If the applicant has not provided the necessary evidence or the number has not otherwise been verified prior to the applicant presenting himself or herself to vote, the applicant shall be provided a provisional ballot. The provisional ballot shall be counted only if the number is verified by the end of the canvassing period or if the applicant presents evidence to the supervisor of elections sufficient to verify the authenticity of the applicant’s driver license number, Florida identification card number, or last four digits of the social security number no later than 5 p.m. of the second day following the election.
(7) All voter registration applications received by a voter registration official shall be entered into the statewide voter registration system within 13 days after receipt. Once entered, the application shall be immediately forwarded to the appropriate supervisor of elections.

History:

s. 11, ch. 94-224; s. 27, ch. 97-13; s. 5, ch. 98-129; s. 4, ch. 2003-415; s. 5, ch. 2005-277; s. 6, ch. 2005-278; s. 13, ch. 2007-30; s. 3, ch. 2008-95; ch. 2016-23.

Definition [Department]

The Department of State.

Definition [Supervisor]

The supervisor of elections.

Definition [Provisional Ballot]

A conditional ballot, the validity of which is determined by the canvassing board.

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.

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.

Definition [Issue]

A proposition that is required by the State Constitution, by law or resolution of the Legislature, or by the charter, ordinance, or resolution of a political subdivision of this state to be submitted to the electors for their approval or rejection at an election, or a proposition for which a petition is circulated in order to have such proposition placed on the ballot at an election.

Definition [Ballot]

As used in the Electronic Voting Systems Act, ballot means the card, tape, or other vehicle upon which the elector’s choices are recorded.

Definition [Division]

The Division of Elections of the Department of State.

Definition [Election]

Any primary election, special primary election, special election, general election, or presidential preference primary election.

Cases

florida Cases

Out-of-State Cases

Federal Cases

Case Name: Florida State Conference of N.A.A.C.P. v. Browning

Citation: 522 F.3d 1153

Federal Circuit Court: 11th Circuit Court

Year: 2008

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/55f20b519298f8b407adce67c3c2487b

Case Summary: Florida State Conference of the NAACP v. Browning held that Florida Code § 97.053(6) was not preempted by HAVA.

Case Name: Diaz v. Cobb

Citation: 541 F.Supp.2d 1319

Federal District Court: Southern District of Florida

Year: 2008

Case URL: https://www.ravellaw.com/opinions/8fb54c2aa6f5cfc73fd51ae70ccb76d0?query=Diaz%20[...]

Case Summary: Diaz v. Cobb held that Florida's 29 day deadline for submitting a completed voter registration form was constitutionally permissible because it furthered the state's interest in holding orderly elections.

Regulations & Guidance

Additional Resources

Further Reading

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 58, Acceptance of voter registration applications; verification

  • 0050 SURVEYS 9; Voter Registration