FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF STATE 2008 National Voter Registration Act Training Workshopfor Offices Issuing Driver’s Licenses and Other Services-DHSMV Examiner’s Offices/Tax Collectors’ Offices Kurt S. Browning Secretary of State Donald L. Palmer, Director Division of Elections Final Version: April-June 2008
NVRA Training Workshops Presented by: Maria I. Matthews- Assistant General Counsel, Florida Department of State Peggy J. Taff- Chief, Bureau of Voter Registration Services, Florida Division of Elections 7 Regional Workshops (April –June 2008) and DHSMV May Conference (Orlando)
Training Overview • History of the NVRA • Purposes • Statutory Responsibilities • General Procedures • Points to Remember • Election Year 2008-Key Dates • Communication • Conclusion-Questions/Evaluation
Question 1: What year was NVRA enacted? 2002 15 years ago 1865 Last year Answer: B. The year was 1993.
Question 2 • Which one of these entities is NOT a designated voter registration agency under state or federal law? • An office that offers public assistance • A military recruitment office • The clerk of circuit court office • A center for independent living • An office that issues driver’s licenses. • Answer: C
Question 3 • The youngest age a person can pre-register to vote is: • 16 years old • 17 years old • 15 years old • None of the above Answer: D. A 15 year old can pre-register if he or she has been or is being issued a driver’s license. DHSMV defines ‘license’ to include ‘permit.’ This provision became effective January 2008 but will change January 2009. The youngest that someone will be able to pre-register will be 16 years old. See s. 2, chapter 2008-95, Laws of Florida, amending s. 97.041, F.S.
Question 4 • If someone says “please register me as an ‘independent’, which of the following should be entered in the political party field? • Independence Party of Florida • No party affiliation • Independent Party of Florida • Independent Democrats of Florida • None of the above Answer: E.You must ask the person for further clarification. You cannot assume he or she meant a particular political party or no party affiliation.
Question 5: A parent or guardian has to approve or sign before a 17 year old or younger can pre-register to vote. True or False? Answer: False. Although state law requires parental or guardian approval for a 17 year old or younger to obtain his/her a driver’s license permit, no such co-approval is required to pre-register to vote. The right to pre-register lies exclusively with the 17 year old or younger. See s. 97.041, F.S.
Question 6 • If someone hand-delivers a paper voter registration application to you that is incomplete and/or filled out somewhere other than your office, do you . . .? • Reject it. • Accept it and file it away. • Direct the person to the local supervisor of elections’ office. • Accept it. Answer: D.Do not reject, file away or toss (it is a public record). Whether incomplete or filled out somewhere other than your office, you must accept the application. Stamp date of receipt (as it may become person’s registration date), enclose in agency-marked envelope or courier bag and forward to local supervisor of elections no later than 5 days of receipt.
Question 7 • Why must and should you record a declination? • Serves as compliance record of your agency’s registration activities under NVRA and state law. • Serves as program evaluation record in order to report to Congress if and how people are taking advantage of the many opportunities to register or update a registration record in locations other than just through the supervisor of elections’ office. • All of the above • A & B. • Answer: C or D, trick answers. • State and federal laws require DHSMV or other offices issuing driver’s licenses to keep a record of declinations.
Question 8 • A person who is registered to vote in a Florida county and moves to another Florida county has to re-register as a new voter in the other county in order to vote. True or False? Answer: False. Prior to January 2006, a person was required to re-register as a new registered voter whenever moving residence from one Florida county to another. As of January 2006, when the State launched the statewide Florida Voter Registration System as required by the Help America Vote Act of 2002, a person who moves between Florida counties does not have to re-register in his or her new county. The person simply updates his or her address. Any county supervisor of elections or the Division of Elections’ registration official can enter the information into FVRS as received, regardless in which county the person actually resides.
Question 9 • Your office or other voter registration agency determines whether someone is eligible to register. True or False? Answer: False. Only the Supervisor of Elections determines ultimately whether someone is eligible to register and continues to be eligible as a registered voter.
Question 10 Florida is a closed primary election state which means… • You must be registered with a major or minor political party in order to vote for your party’s candidate nominees in partisan races on the ballot in a Primary Election or Presidential Preference Primary Election (PPP Election). • You can vote, regardless of your political party affiliation, in non-partisan office or issue contests on the ballot in the Primary Election or the PPP Election. • You can vote, regardless of your political party affiliation, in a Universal Primary Contest(i.e., when all the candidate nominees for the partisan race belong to the same party and the winner of the primary election would face no opposition in the General Election. • All of the above. • A only. Answer: D.
Question 11 • An eligible person can register only up until book closing or must have made all updates to his or her voter registration record by book closing in order to vote in an upcoming election. True or False? Answer: True and False • Registration can occur at any time. • In order to vote in an upcoming election, a person must be registered or have submitted a complete and valid voter registration application by book closing. • After book closing, a person can still change or update a voter registration record except he/she can not change political party affiliation in order for it to apply to upcoming election. However, eff. January 2009, a person will be able to change his/her political party after the book closing date for a general election. See s.5, ch. 2008-95, Laws of Florida, amending s. 97.055, F.S.
Question 12 • A person’s political party affiliation information in a voter registration record is confidential and exempt from public disclosure. True or False? Answer: False. In Florida, voter registration records are public records and have been open to the public since at least 1913. Before 2006, these records could be inspected by anyone but could only be copied by certain governmental or political persons or entities. After January 2006, the law changed and the only information that is confidential and exempt is: 1. Information as to whether a person declined to register or update his/her registration record, 2. The location where a person registered or updated his/her record, and 3. A person’s social security number, Florida driver's license number, and Florida state ID card number. A person’s signature cannot be copied but can be viewed. (See section 97.0585, Florida Statutes)
History of NVRA • Congress enacted the National Voter Registration Act (42 U.S.C. 1973) in 1993 in response to declining years of voter turnout.
Federal Law Requirements NVRA (42 U.S.C. 1973gg-3) • Required simultaneous voter registration services with new or renewing driver’s license services • (also known as the Motor Voter law)
Federal Law Requirements (cont’d) Help America Vote Act of 2002 (specifically s. 303) • Enhanced processes for voting and voter registration processes started the Voting Rights Act and NVRA • Directed states to create single statewide voter registration systems-(Florida Voter Registration System-FVRS). • Before January 2006, 67 county voter registrations were unable to exchange or share information. A person could be registered in several counties without supervisors of elections’ knowledge. • DHSMV worked with FVRS to convert from a paper to electronic registration intake as the primary (not exclusive) registration process. • After January 2006, DHSMV’s electronic intake system and all county voter registration systems interface to create FVRS, primarily maintained by Department of State. The Bureau of Voter Registration Services is created to process registrations too. Now persons can register from anywhere in the state. Registered voters moving between Florida counties simply update their address, including at the polls, without having to re-register
State Law Requirements • Most states adopt implementing law by 1995. • Florida enacts Florida Voter Registration Act “FVRA” in January 1995 (ss. 97.057,97.058, Florida Statutes)) to implement the NVRA requirements. • Section 97.057, Florida Statutes specifically sets out voter registration requirements that apply to offices that provide driver’s license services.
To make it easier and more convenient for persons to register to vote: By increasing the number of locations, other than Supervisor of Elections’ offices, where eligible citizens can apply for or update voter registration information (42 U.S.C. 1973gg-3) By requiring the creation of a national mail-in voter registration application (42 U.S.C. 1973gg-4) One of NVRA’s Primary Purposes:
General Procedures: What Are You Required to Do? 1.Each time someone comes in . . . • For a new driver’s license, • For a driver’s license renewal, or • For a change of his or her residential address on driver’s license record a.ASK the person orally (or in writing, if the person is hearing impaired) ‘Do you want to apply to register to vote (in Florida) or do you want to update your (Florida) voter registration record?’
General Procedures (cont’d): • b. Let the person know orally (or in writing) that: • Some of the information gathered as part of the driver’s license service/application process can be automatically applied to complete a new voter registration record or update a current record. • You will be sending the person’s voter registration information and signature captured electronically for further processing by the Supervisors of Elections. • The information as to whether someone declined to register or update a record is confidential and will only be used for voter registration purposes. • The information as to the office where the person applied will also be confidential and can only be used for voter registration purposes.
General Procedures (cont’d): 2. Include a voter registration application with every driver’s license renewal extension application (s. 97.057(5), Fla. Stat.) 3. Treat every change of residential address the person makes as a request to change it also on his or her voter registration records UNLESS the person indicatess otherwise verbally or in writing. (42 U.S.C.1973gg-3(d)) [This would include residential address changes submitted online.]
General Procedures To Whom Do You Offer Voter Registration Services? Anyone who is 18 years or older (assuming otherwise eligible)
Special Class of Applicants 1. Pre-registrants Anyone who is 17 years old or older Anyone who is younger than 17 years old who is being issued or has been issued a driver’s license (includes “license permit”)(became effective January 2008) Pre-register to vote means the person is on the registration rolls but cannot vote until he or she turns 18 on the election. Registration system automatically converts to full-fledged voter on birthday. Parental or guardian co-approval is not required to pre-register to vote. Statutory right belongs to pre-registrant. Effective January 2009, the law will change so that only 16 years or older will be able to pre-register. See s. 2, chapter 2008-95, Laws of Florida, amending s. 97.041, F.S. If the electronic intake system does not allow you to input voter registration information on an applicant, offer the person a paper application to complete and assist them in completing the application.
Special Class of Applicants 2.Persons with Protective Orders Against Violence. • Do not intake or otherwise take their voter registration information. • Refer these persons immediately to the county supervisor of elections for registration. Special registration process applies. • Person must register (subject to 4-year renewal) with the Attorney General’s Address Confidentiality Program to obtain substitute mailing address for voter registration and voting. (Address Confidentiality Program, Attorney Genera/Victim’s Compensation Office, The Capitol PL-01, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-1050, Toll Free 1-800-226-6667) • Person’s voter registration is not ever stored in FVRS. • Person can only vote by absentee ballot.
Special Class of Applicants 3. Persons Who May Request Address Confidentiality • Who Are They? Judges, state attorneys, guardians ad litem, child abuse investigators, law enforcement officers, correction officers, firefighters, human resource personnel, etc. including their spouses and children. • Why?The Florida Legislature found that these to be high-risk professions based on decisions made. • What is protected? Residential address, phone number, photos, etc. may be exempted from public disclosure. See section 119.071(4)(d), Fla. Stat. • When Does it Apply? ONLY AFTER written request is submitted. An applicant is still required to submit residential address for proper precinct assignment. The exemption to records in each agency to which a person submits a written request for exemption. E.g., a request to DHSMV for DL information and a request to supervisor of elections for voter registration information. • How Will it Be Done? The agency custodian is responsible for ensuring that the residential address and other protected information in the public record are redacted and not released in a subsequent public records request.
General Procedures: What Do You Do If Someone Does Not Want to Register or Update His/Her Record? Accept person’s decision. A person has the right to refuse at any time before or during the registration process. He/she may decline orally or by failing to give his or her signature on the application. The latter is less likely since you capture the signature electronically at the beginning of the driver’s license portion. If he/she changes his or her mind, abort electronic record and record declination. 2. Record the declination. That information is forwarded to the statewide voter registration system. 3. Keep a record of the declination for two years (audit records).
Points to Remember: What is purpose of recording declination? It serves as a compliance record of your agency’s registration activities under NVRA and state law. 2. It serves as a program evaluation record for the basis of a bi-ennial Congressional report about if and how people are taking advantage of the opportunities under NVRA to register or update a record in places other than through the supervisor of elections’ office.
General Procedures: What Do You Do If Someone Accepts the Offer to Apply to Register or Update His/Her Record? Do not ask the person twice for the same information (NOTE: current DHSMV electronic process requires you to ask twice for residential address). Intake new or updated voter registration information. Explain fields as necessary or requested. Remember, prior to 2006, it was an entirely paper process. Person had the benefit of the application form to read top of form which explained eligibility, book closing, registration with a political party, right to confidentiality, and closed primary election concept. You are now the ‘living’ application form. Let person know if you have to abort driver’s license part and that re-entry of driver’s license/state identification card process means you have to re-enter voter registration information too.
General Procedures (cont’d) : What Do You Do If Someone Accepts the Offer to Apply to Register or Update His/Her Record? If the electronic intake system does not allow you to input voter registration information on an applicant, offer the person a paper application to complete and assist them in completing the application as you would if you were walking hims or her through the electronic registration intake process. Accept paper application. Stamp date of receipt. Enclose in agency-marked envelope/courier bag. Forward to Supervisor of elections’ office no later than 5 days from receipt.
Points to RememberWhat is required for ‘completed’ application?(refer to statewide form DS-DE #39) • Name (field #7)(first and last name minimum) • Date of Birth (field #5)(Month, day and year) • Check the boxes (fields #2, 3, 4)– • U.S. Citizen (permanent legal resident is not a U.S. Citizen), • Non-Felon or Felon with Rights Restored. • Non-adjudication of mental incapacity or Mentally adjudicated incapacitated as to rights but rights restored. • Personal identifying number (DL #, State ID Card #, or last 4 digits of social security) or if none issued, person must write the word “NONE” (field # 6) • Residential Address (field #8)(no mailing or business address) • Signature and date signed (field #16) (required; affirms oath and truth of information on form) A person may sign with an “X” if person has difficulty writing or has physical disability limiting his/her ability to execute ‘traditional’ signature. No guardian, parent, or person acting through power of attorney may sign or register for another.
Points to RememberWhat is not required for completed application?(refer to statewide form DS-DE #39) • Phone number (field #11) • Former name (field #11) • Former address (field #10) • Gender (field #14) • Race/ethnicity (field #13) • State or country of birth (field #14) • Political party affiliation (field #12) • All other non-required fields (assistance at polls, pollworker volunteer, etc.) However, all this information is important. It may be used identify duplicate registration records in the system, to contact an applicant or registrant regarding a question about his or her incomplete application or existing record, to ensure that a person receives assistance at the polls, or to determine whether someone may be able to vote in the Primary or Presidential Preference Primary Election and for which ballot contests based on his or her political party affiliation.
General Procedures 1. Enter name and date of birth information accurately. If wrong or misspelled name or wrong date of birth is entered, • It may create duplicate registration record because voter registration official relies on spelling of first, middle and last name and date of birth as match criteria to prior records. • It may become difficult to locate the person’s name on a precinct register or electronic poll-book at polls. Person may have to vote provisional ballot in lieu of regular ballot because record can not be found. Be sure that date of birth entry is in order of MONTH, DAY AND YEAR. In some foreign countries, the month and day are reversed.
General Procedures (cont’d) 2. Enter residential address as correctly a possible. If wrong residential address is entered or entered incorrectly, It may cause wrong precinct/polling place to be assigned. For example, person may appear at wrong precinct. Even though he or she could do address update at polls, the person may not have to time to go to right precinct to vote. If he or she votes provisional ballot at the wrong precinct, it will not count because the person was not in proper precinct. No business or mailing address may serve as residential address. However, the shelter where a homeless person stays in the evening(s) may serve as residential address. An address where a person docks his/her residential riverboat or houseboat and receives mail may serve as residential address.
Address Input a. Input data into proper separate address segment fields, i.e., street number, suffix, street name, street type, post direction, unit type, and unit number. Do not fit address all into one field.
General Procedures (cont’d) If DHSMV’s street validation program prompts you with message that address is invalid or not recognized, Review for obvious administrative input errors (i.e., inverted or omitted letters, transposed or omitted numbers.) Ask person to verify information he or she provided to you. Avoid using abbreviations in street names whenever possible (for example, if street name is Tennessee, do not abbreviate to Tenn. Do not leave out numbered street suffixes. For example, enter as 22nd, 5th, 1st, in lieu of 22, 5 or 1. Refer to any official street address list available for your county. Some streets known by several names. For example, in Leon County-Tennessee Street, Mahan Drive, and U.S. 90 are all the same road. Use the U.S. Postal Services’ website as resource for zip codes, etc. (www.usps.com ’.
General Procedures Be sure that political party affiliation is correctly entered. Although political party affiliation is not required for registration, Florida is a closed primary state. That means a person’s decision to select or not select a political party with which to register may affect his or her right to vote in a Primary Election or Presidential Preference Primary Election or the right to vote for certain contests on the ballot for that election.
Political Party Field Input What does closed primary election state mean? 1. Only persons registered with a (major or minor) political party can vote for that party’s candidate nominees on the ballot in the Primary or Presidential Preference Primary Election. 2. All registered voters regardless of party affiliation or no party-affiliation, can vote in contests in the primary or PPP: For issues (e.g., statewide constitutional amendments or other local referendums For non-partisan candidate offices (e.g. judges, school board districts or non-partisan constitutional offices (provided local ordinance says the office is non-partisan) For partisan candidate office if all the candidate nominees are from the same political party and the winner of the Primary Election or the PPP faces no opposition in the General Election. (known as Universal Primary Contest)
Political Party Field Input (cont’d) What if someone says “I want to register __?” . . . As an Independent. Do you input “No-party” “Independent Democrats of Florida” “Independent Party of Florida” or “Independence Party of Florida?” . . . As a Democrat. Do you input “Florida Democratic Party (aka Democratic Party)” or “Independent Democrats of Florida?” . . . As a Socialist. Do you input “Florida Socialist Workers” “Socialist Party of Florida” or “Party for Socialism and Liberation-Florida?” . . . As a Libertarian. Do you input “Libertarian Party of Florida” “Progressive Libertarian Party” or “Party for Socialism and Liberation?” . . . With the America Party. Do you input “The Real Food Party of the United States of America” “American Poor People Party” “American Reform Party of Florida” “Surfers Party of America” “Veterans Party of America” “America First Party of Florida” or “America Party of Florida?” . . . With the Reform Party. Do you input “American Reform Party of Florida” “British Reformed Sectarian Party” or “Reform Party?” THESE ARE ALL LEGITIMATELY REGISTERED POLITICAL PARTIES.
Political Party Field Input (cont’d) Ask for clarification as to which political party the person intended or whether he or she not want to register with any party at all. As of July 2008, there are 2 major political parties and 30 minor political parties registered in Florida. DOS sends party list updates to DHSMV for immediate implementation in system and current list of all registered parties is always available at: http://election.dos.state.fl.us/online/parties.shtml)
General Procedures (cont’d) DHSMV’s current(until mid-July 2008) system menu for political party selection Lists all registered major and minor political parties alphabetically in one list Provides no option for someone to enter ‘no-change to political party’ if someone does not want to change what is currently recorded Does not allow someone one to be able to print out a list of all the parties for the applicant or registered voter to review.
General Procedures (cont’d) DHSMV new system menu (available by mid-July 2008): Divides the political party menu selections into 3 major categories: Major party listing (Democratic Party stands for Florida Democratic Party and Republican Party stands for Republic Party of Florida) No party affiliation Minor party listing (alphabetical order) Allows someone to come in and make changes other than political party so that you do not have to enter anything into the political party field. Allows you to print-out the political party list for someone to review whereas previously you could not.
New Menu Screen for Party Change Major political parties Minor political parties
New Menu Screen for Changes Other than Party No party change (NPC)--Registered voter's recorded political party stays the same. If person turns out not to be registered, NPC will default to 'unknown' and clarification will be sought from voter
New Menu Screen for Signature Update Party selection not activated
Points to Remember • Do notinfluence or try to influence someone to pick a particular political party affiliation. • Do notdisplay any political party affiliation or party allegiance. • Do notsay or do anything that discourages someone from registering to vote. • Do notreveal any person’s registration information for any purpose other than administration of voter registration