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

§ 97.055 Registration books; when closed for an election.

Overview of Statute

This statute states that the registration logs in Florida must be closed on the 29th day before each election, and that they must stay closed until after each election. The statute then provides several exceptions to this rule regarding updating voter names and addresses.

Statute

(1)
(a) The registration books must be closed on the 29th day before each election and must remain closed until after that election. If an election is called and there are fewer than 29 days before that election, the registration books must be closed immediately.
(b) Except as provided in paragraph (c), when the registration books are closed for an election, updates to a voter’s name, address, and signature pursuant to ss. 98.077 and 101.045 shall be the only changes permitted for purposes of the upcoming election. New voter registration applications must be accepted but only for the purpose of subsequent elections.
(c) When the registration books are closed for an upcoming election, an update or change to a voter’s party affiliation made pursuant to s. 97.1031 shall be permitted for that upcoming election unless such election is for the purpose of nominating a political party nominee, in which case the update or change shall be permitted only for the purpose of subsequent elections.
(2) In computing the 29-day period for the closing of the registration books, the day of the election is excluded and all other days are included. If the 29th day preceding an election falls on a Sunday or a legal holiday, the registration books must be closed on the next day that is not a Sunday or a legal holiday.

History:

s. 2, ch. 25391, 1949; s. 2, ch. 26870, 1951; s. 5, ch. 29934, s. 1, ch. 29761, 1955; s. 3, ch. 65-134; s. 2, ch. 67-530; s. 1, ch. 71-124; ss. 7, 8, ch. 72-63; s. 4, ch. 74-5; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 5, ch. 77-175; s. 7, ch. 80-292; s. 5, ch. 81-304; s. 1, ch. 83-25; s. 27, ch. 84-302; s. 11, ch. 85-80; s. 6, ch. 89-338; s. 12, ch. 94-224; s. 6, ch. 2005-277; s. 8, ch. 2005-278; s. 3, ch. 2005-286; s. 5, ch. 2008-95.

Annotation: October 11, 2016 9:34 pm

A federal judge recently extended Florida’s voter registration deadline by one day in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. See http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/10/politics/federal-judge-extends-florida-voter-registration-deadline/ and http://electionlawblog.org/?p=87362. The court issued a temporary restraining order requiring Florida to allow voters to register through Oct. 12, when the books were supposed to close on Oct. 11. Democrats brought a constitutional challenge to the deadline after Fla. Gov. Rick Scott refused to extend the deadline. The court concluded that, “Florida’s statutory framework completely disenfranchises thousands of voters, and amounts to a severe burden on the right to vote,” because there is no provision in the Florida statutes that extends the voter registration deadline in the event of an emergency. Notably, the court applied strict scrutiny but said that even under a more flexible standard, Florida’s statutory framework would be unconstitutional.

Annotation: October 12, 2016 4:00 pm

After a hearing on Oct. 12, 2016, the district judge granted plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction, further extending the deadline for registration to Oct. 18, 2016. The judge reasoned: “No right is more precious than having a voice in our elections.” Further reading available here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/election/article107693662.html#storylink=cpy, http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/12/politics/judge-extends-florida-voter-registration-deadline-until-october-18/index.html.

Definition [Election]

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

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.

Case Name: Florida Democratic Party v. Scott

Case Number: No. 4:16cv626-MW/CAS

Federal District Court: Northern District of Florida

Year: 2016

Case PDF: Fla. Democratic Party v. Scott

Case Summary: Holding that Florida's statutory framework, which does not allow for extension of the voter registration deadline in the event of emergency, is unconstitutional.

Regulations & Guidance

Administrative Decisions

Additional Resources

Useful Links

Further Reading

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 36, Residence

  • Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 57, Generally; uniform statewide voter registration application

  • 0050 SURVEYS 9; Voter Registration