Thursday, September 10, 2009

Warning Florida Voters - Voter Caging may become easier thanks to new rule 1S-2.041

The Florida Fair Elections Coalition warns that rules proposed by the Florida Dept of Elections would make voter caging easier. Rule 1S-2.041 is intended to address maintenance of voter registration rolls. The new rules make it easier for persons to maliciously, frivolously or fraudulently send in false or inaccurate claims of voter address changes. Any third party can report "address changes" without being held accountable. These actions result in valid voters being put on the "inactive" list. This could cause disenfranchisement, open voters up to challenges at the polls, and kicks voters names off of petitions.

Warning: All Florida voters, especially any who have been away or out of town- should contact their County Supervisor of Elections ASAP to make sure they are on the active voters list. This warning especially includes "snow-birds", college and military but could apply to anyone. They can get back on the active voters list by confirming their address with the county voters list.

If you have signed any petitions recently and are listed as "inactive", your signature may be considered invalid.

From the Florida Fair Elections Coalition website:


"If Florida passes proposed Rule 1S-2.041, it will permit officially sanctioned caging (vote suppression) to occur. Click here to read our comments on this proposed Rule.

Here are some excerpts from FFEC's letter:

Problem #1
Several requirements in the proposed rule absolutely and unequivocally violate both state and federal law. If approved in its current form, this rule will permit officially sanctioned caging (vote suppression) with no accountability. The rule permits voters to be placed on the inactive list without proper procedures being followed, and the signatures of inactive voters, by law, will not be counted on any petition...
The rule allows any third party to inform a Supervisor of Elections that a voter might have moved, apparently without verification or restrictions...

Problem #2
A third party could get away with falsely reporting an address change for one voter or address changes for multiple voters.

Problem #3
There is never a reason to send nonforwardable address notices. Nonforwardable address notices violate federal law and set up the possibility of caging...

Problem #4
The proposed rule never mentions the prohibition in federal and state law against conducting voter list maintenance activities within 90 days of a federal election...

It is critical that proposed rule 1S-2.041 FVRS Address and Records Maintenance Activities,meticulously follow the mandates of state and federal law in its instructions to supervisors of elections. The mailings of notices are the steps towards placing a voter on the inactive list, which prevents that voter’s signature from counting on any petition. List maintenance notices are also the steps for eventually removing a voter completely from the voting rolls. The proposed rule fails to provide proper instruction in several critical ways, by omission and by commission.

link to the letter

You may read the rule at this link.

Here are the accompanying forms to be completed by supervisors of elections at (scroll
down to Proposed Rule 1S-2.041,
FVRS Address and Records Maintenance Activities).

Thanks to Florida Fair Elections Coalition for bringing attention to this issue.

Voting News by Joyce McCloy.
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