|August 10, 2011|
For More Information Contact
Nancy Whitlock, Communications Director
(727) 464-7493 or (727) 464-6108
Supervisor of Elections continues to offer voter registration
Pinellas County Supervisor of Elections Deborah Clark announces a change in state law that will affect the way organizations conduct voter registration drives. House Bill 1355, which Governor Rick Scott signed on May 19, includes revisions to Chapter 97 of the Florida Statutes regarding third-party voter registration organizations. The Division of Elections has adopted a revised emergency rule, 1SER11-02, to update procedures and forms regarding third-party voter registration organizations, effective August 19.
Clark reminds organizations that with advance notice the Supervisor of Elections will continue to provide voter registration staff for community events, as long as the staff collects the applications for processing. To schedule, call (727) 464-5700.
A third-party registration organization is defined as “any person, entity or organization soliciting or collecting voter registration applications.” The law does not apply to anyone registering family members; or employees of the elections division, supervisors of elections, Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles or federally mandated voter registration agencies. (Section 97.021, Florida Statutes) The emergency rule further states that engaging in any voter registration activities means “soliciting for collection or collecting voter registration applications from Florida voter registration applicants.” It does not include groups who solicit persons to complete voter registration applications and submit them to the Division or the Supervisor of Elections.
Recent changes to section 97.0575, Florida Statutes make the registration process more complex for organizations, shorten the deadline to submit completed registration applications, and require elections officials to note the organization’s identification number on all applications provided to the organization.
“We are now required to print the organization’s identification number assigned by the Division of Elections on all voter registration applications before we can distribute them,” Clark said.
Organizations who wish to register with the Division of Elections must file a form (DS DE 119) to receive an identification number. Next, the organization must file another form (DS DE 120) for each person conducting voter registration on its behalf.
If a third-party organization collects and keeps any voter applications longer than 48 hours (or the next business day if the elections office is closed), a fine of $50 per application applies. Previously, an organization had 10 days to submit applications it collected before penalties began. The emergency rule provides that if an application is mailed, it is considered delivered on the date of its postmark.
In addition, if the organization submits any voter applications past the voter registration deadline for an election, there is a fine of $100 per application. The organization also will be fined $500 per application it does not submit. And, if the action was committed willfully, the fines will be higher ($250/ $500/ $1,000 per application, respectively). Fines are capped at $1,000 per calendar year per organization, but there is no longer a fee reduction for organizations that are registered with the Division.
There are also additional reporting requirements. Third-party registration organizations now must file monthly reports with the Division of Elections, instead of quarterly reports. Supervisors of elections are now required to report daily to the Division of Elections the number of applications provided to each organization and the number of applications any organization submits.
For more information about third-party voter registration procedures, contact the Florida Department of State, Division of Elections by phone: (850) 245-6286 or (850) 245-6290 or email: 3PVRO@dos.state.fl.us. All forms are available on the Division of Elections Web site: http://election.dos.state.fl.us/voter-registration/third-party.shtml.