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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Title IX
ELECTORS AND ELECTIONS
Chapter 98
REGISTRATION OFFICE, OFFICERS, AND PROCEDURES
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F.S. 98.075
98.075 Registration records maintenance activities; ineligibility determinations.
(1) MAINTENANCE OF RECORDS.The department shall protect the integrity of the electoral process by ensuring the maintenance of accurate and current voter registration records. List maintenance activities must be uniform, nondiscriminatory, and in compliance with the Voting Rights Act of 1965, the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, and the Help America Vote Act of 2002. The department may adopt by rule uniform standards and procedures to interpret and administer this section.
(2) DUPLICATE REGISTRATION.
(a) The department shall identify those voters who are registered more than once or those applicants whose registration applications within the state would result in duplicate registrations. The most recent application shall be deemed an update to the voter registration record.
(b)1. The department may become a member of a nongovernmental entity whose sole purpose is to share and exchange information in order to verify voter registration information. The membership of the nongovernmental entity must be composed solely of election officials of state governments, except that such membership may also include election officials of the District of Columbia. If the department intends to become a member of such a nongovernmental entity, the agreement to join the entity must require that the Secretary of State, or his or her designee, serve as a full member with voting rights on the nongovernmental entity’s board of directors within 12 months after joining the entity.
2. The department may share confidential and exempt information after becoming a member of a nongovernmental entity as provided in subparagraph 1. if:
a. Each member of the nongovernmental entity agrees to maintain the confidentiality of such information as required by the laws of the jurisdiction providing the information; or
b. The bylaws of the nongovernmental entity require member jurisdictions and the entity to maintain the confidentiality of information as required by the laws of the jurisdiction providing the information.
3. The department may only become a member of a nongovernmental entity as provided in subparagraph 1. if the entity is controlled and operated by the participating jurisdictions. The entity may not be operated or controlled by the Federal Government or any other entity acting on behalf of the Federal Government. The department must be able to withdraw at any time from any such membership entered into.
4. If the department becomes a member of a nongovernmental entity as provided in subparagraph 1., the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles must, pursuant to a written agreement with the department, provide driver license or identification card information to the department for the purpose of sharing and exchanging voter registration information with the nongovernmental entity.
5. If the department becomes a member of a nongovernmental entity as provided in subparagraph 1., the department must submit a report to the Governor, the President of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives by December 1 of each year. The report must describe the terms of the nongovernmental entity membership and provide information on the total number of voters removed from the voter registration system as a result of the membership and the reasons for their removal.
(c) Information received by the department from another state or the District of Columbia upon the department becoming a member of a nongovernmental entity as provided in subparagraph (b)1., which is confidential or exempt pursuant to the laws of that state or the District of Columbia, is exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution. The department shall provide such information to the supervisors to conduct registration list maintenance activities.
(3) DECEASED PERSONS.
(a)1. The department shall identify those registered voters who are deceased by comparing information received from:
a. The Department of Health as provided in s. 98.093;
b. The United States Social Security Administration, including, but not limited to, any master death file or index compiled by the United States Social Security Administration; and
c. The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
2. Within 7 days after receipt of such information through the statewide voter registration system, the supervisor shall remove the name of the registered voter.
(b) The supervisor shall remove the name of a deceased registered voter from the statewide voter registration system within 7 days after receipt of a copy of a death certificate issued by a governmental agency authorized to issue death certificates.
(4) ADJUDICATION OF MENTAL INCAPACITY.The department shall identify those registered voters who have been adjudicated mentally incapacitated with respect to voting and who have not had their voting rights restored by comparing information received from the clerk of the circuit court as provided in s. 98.093. The department shall review such information and make an initial determination as to whether the information is credible and reliable. If the department determines that the information is credible and reliable, the department must notify the supervisor and provide a copy of the supporting documentation indicating the potential ineligibility of the voter to be registered. Upon receipt of the notice that the department has made a determination of initial credibility and reliability, the supervisor shall adhere to the procedures set forth in subsection (7) before the removal of a registered voter from the statewide voter registration system.
(5) FELONY CONVICTION.
(a) The department shall identify those registered voters who have been convicted of a felony and whose voting rights have not been restored by comparing information received from, but not limited to, a clerk of the circuit court, the Board of Executive Clemency, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Law Enforcement, or a United States Attorney’s Office, as provided in s. 98.093. The department shall review such information and make an initial determination as to whether the information is credible and reliable. If the department determines that the information is credible and reliable, the department must notify the supervisor and provide a copy of the supporting documentation indicating the potential ineligibility of the voter to be registered. Upon receipt of the notice that the department has made a determination of initial credibility and reliability, the supervisor shall adhere to the procedures set forth in subsection (7) before the removal of a registered voter’s name from the statewide voter registration system.
(b) The supervisors shall coordinate with their respective clerks of the court to obtain information pursuant to s. 98.093 to identify registered voters within their respective jurisdictions who have been convicted of a felony during the preceding week and whose voting rights have not been restored. The supervisor shall adhere to the procedures set forth in subsection (7) before the removal of a registered voter’s name from the statewide voter registration system. For purposes of this paragraph, a supervisor’s duties under subsection (7) begin upon his or her determination that the information received from the clerk is credible and reliable.
(6) OTHER BASES FOR INELIGIBILITY.Subsections (2)-(5) do not limit or restrict the department or the supervisor in his or her duty to act upon direct receipt of, access to, or knowledge of information from any governmental entity that identifies a registered voter as potentially ineligible. If the department or supervisor receives information from any governmental entity other than those identified in subsections (2)-(5) that a registered voter is ineligible because the voter is deceased, adjudicated a convicted felon without having had his or her voting rights restored, adjudicated mentally incapacitated without having had his or her voting rights restored, does not meet the age requirement pursuant to s. 97.041, is not a United States citizen, is a fictitious person, or has listed an address that is not his or her address of legal residence, the supervisor must adhere to the procedures set forth in subsection (7) before the removal of the name of a registered voter who is determined to be ineligible from the statewide voter registration system.
(7) PROCEDURES FOR REMOVAL.
(a) If the supervisor receives notice or information pursuant to subsections (4)-(6), the supervisor of the county in which the voter is registered must:
1. Notify the registered voter of his or her potential ineligibility by mail within 7 days after receipt of notice or information. The notice must include:
a. A statement of the basis for the registered voter’s potential ineligibility and a copy of any documentation upon which the potential ineligibility is based. Such documentation must include any conviction from another jurisdiction determined to be a similar offense to murder or a felony sexual offense, as those terms are defined in s. 98.0751.
b. A statement that failure to respond within 30 days after receipt of the notice may result in a determination of ineligibility and in removal of the registered voter’s name from the statewide voter registration system.
c. A return form that requires the registered voter to admit or deny the accuracy of the information underlying the potential ineligibility for purposes of a final determination by the supervisor.
d. A statement that, if the voter is denying the accuracy of the information underlying the potential ineligibility, the voter has a right to request a hearing for the purpose of determining eligibility.
e. Instructions for the registered voter to contact the supervisor of elections of the county in which the voter is registered if assistance is needed in resolving the matter.
f. Instructions for seeking restoration of civil rights pursuant to s. 8, Art. IV of the State Constitution and information explaining voting rights restoration pursuant to s. 4, Art. VI of the State Constitution following a felony conviction, if applicable.
g. The following statement: “If you attempt to vote at an early voting site or your normal election day polling place, you will be required to vote a provisional ballot. If you vote by mail, your ballot will be treated as a provisional ballot. In either case, your ballot may not be counted until a final determination of eligibility is made. If you wish for your ballot to be counted, you must contact the supervisor of elections office within 2 days after the election and present evidence that you are eligible to vote.”
2. If the mailed notice is returned as undeliverable, the supervisor must, within 14 days after receiving the returned notice, either publish notice once in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the voter was last registered or publish notice on the county’s website as provided in s. 50.0311 or on the supervisor’s website, as deemed appropriate by the supervisor. The notice must contain the following:
a. The voter’s name and address.
b. A statement that the voter is potentially ineligible to be registered to vote.
c. A statement that failure to respond within 30 days after the notice is published may result in a determination of ineligibility by the supervisor and removal of the registered voter’s name from the statewide voter registration system.
d. An instruction for the voter to contact the supervisor no later than 30 days after the date of the published notice to receive information regarding the basis for the potential ineligibility and the procedure to resolve the matter.
e. An instruction to the voter that, if further assistance is needed, the voter should contact the supervisor of elections of the county in which the voter is registered.
f. A statement that, if the voter denies the accuracy of the information underlying the potential ineligibility, the voter has a right to request a hearing for the purpose of determining eligibility.
g. The following statement: “If you attempt to vote at an early voting site or your normal election day polling place, you will be required to vote a provisional ballot. If you vote by mail, your ballot will be treated as a provisional ballot. In either case, your ballot may not be counted until a final determination of eligibility is made. If you wish for your ballot to be counted, you must contact the supervisor of elections office within 2 days after the election and present evidence that you are eligible to vote.”
3. If a registered voter fails to respond to a notice pursuant to subparagraph 1. or subparagraph 2., the supervisor must make a final determination of the voter’s eligibility within 7 days after expiration of the voter’s timeframe to respond. If the supervisor determines that the voter is ineligible, the supervisor must remove the name of the registered voter from the statewide voter registration system within 7 days. The supervisor shall notify the registered voter of the supervisor’s determination and action.
4. If a registered voter responds to the notice pursuant to subparagraph 1. or subparagraph 2. and admits the accuracy of the information underlying the potential ineligibility, the supervisor must, as soon as practicable, make a final determination of ineligibility and remove the voter’s name from the statewide voter registration system. The supervisor shall notify the registered voter of the supervisor’s determination and action.
5. If a registered voter responds to the notice issued pursuant to subparagraph 1. or subparagraph 2. and denies the accuracy of the information underlying the potential ineligibility but does not request a hearing, the supervisor must review the evidence and make a determination of eligibility no later than 30 days after receiving the response from the voter. If the supervisor determines that the registered voter is ineligible, the supervisor must remove the voter’s name from the statewide voter registration system upon such determination and notify the registered voter of the supervisor’s determination and action and that the removed voter has a right to appeal a determination of ineligibility pursuant to s. 98.0755. If such registered voter requests a hearing, the supervisor must send notice to the registered voter to attend a hearing at a time and place specified in the notice. The supervisor shall schedule and issue notice for the hearing within 7 days after receiving the voter’s request for a hearing and shall hold the hearing no later than 30 days after issuing the notice of the hearing. A voter may request an extension upon showing good cause by submitting an affidavit to the supervisor as to why he or she is unable to attend the scheduled hearing. Upon hearing all evidence presented at the hearing, the supervisor shall make a determination of eligibility within 7 days. If the supervisor determines that the registered voter is ineligible, the supervisor must remove the voter’s name from the statewide voter registration system and notify the registered voter of the supervisor’s determination and action and that the removed voter has a right to appeal a determination of ineligibility pursuant to s. 98.0755.
(b) The following apply to this subsection:
1. All determinations of eligibility must be based on a preponderance of the evidence.
2. All proceedings are exempt from chapter 120.
3. Any notice must be sent to the registered voter by certified mail, return receipt requested, or other means that provides a verification of receipt or must be published in a newspaper of general circulation where the voter was last registered, on the county’s website as provided in s. 50.0311, or on the supervisor’s website, whichever is applicable.
4. The supervisor shall remove the name of any registered voter from the statewide voter registration system only after the supervisor makes a final determination that the voter is ineligible to vote.
5. Any voter whose name has been removed from the statewide voter registration system pursuant to a determination of ineligibility may appeal that determination under s. 98.0755.
6. Any voter whose name was removed from the statewide voter registration system on the basis of a determination of ineligibility who subsequently becomes eligible to vote must reregister in order to have his or her name restored to the statewide voter registration system.
(8) CERTIFICATION.
(a) No later than July 31 and January 31 of each year, the supervisor shall certify to the department that the supervisor has conducted the activities required pursuant to this section during the first 6 months and the second 6 months of the year, respectively. The certification must include the number of persons to whom notices were sent pursuant to subsection (7); the number of persons who responded to the notices; the number of notices returned as undeliverable; the number of notices published in the newspaper, on the county’s website, or on the supervisor’s website; the number of hearings conducted; and the number of persons removed from the statewide voter registration system and the reasons for such removals.
(b) If, based on the certification provided pursuant to paragraph (a), the department determines that a supervisor has not satisfied the requirements of this section, the department shall satisfy the appropriate requirements for that county. Failure to satisfy the requirements of this section constitutes a violation of s. 104.051.
History.s. 29, ch. 94-224; s. 1386, ch. 95-147; s. 20, ch. 2005-278; s. 9, ch. 2011-40; s. 1, ch. 2018-32; s. 1, ch. 2018-33; s. 24, ch. 2019-162; s. 10, ch. 2022-73; s. 9, ch. 2023-120.