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FL Secretary Of State Explains Voter ID Law

Florida Department of State
Kurt S. Browning
Secretary of State

For Immediate Release
September 23, 2008

Florida's Secretary of State on Voter Registration

The Truth About Voter Verification

By Secretary of State Kurt S. Browning

There have been many misstatements and confusion over the recent implementation of the Voter Verification law otherwise known as the “No-Match-No Vote” law. The Division of Elections’ mission along with local supervisors of elections is to register voters and make sure that they can cast a ballot on Election Day that will be counted. And just to clarify, this law will not affect the status of the 10.7 million already registered voters. The law will apply to all NEW applications received on or after September 8, 2008.

The Voter Verification law regarding new voter registration applications became effective January 2006. It was in effect until December 2007 when a court first ordered the Department to stop the almost 2-year old process. That ruling was overturned on appeal. The law was re-implemented September 8, 2008. The law is being implemented now because the court order denying the injunction became final in July. The implementation was delayed by pending litigation until June 2008, waiting for U.S. Department of Justice preclearance in July 2008, time needed to reprogram the system to automatically notice voters and set up revised procedures, and the time needed to prepare Supervisors who were otherwise engaged in administering the 2008 Primary Election.

Unlike what activists are saying, obvious errors, including nicknames or typos will be resolved and that applicant will be registered to vote. Every voter registration applicant must provide (if issued) a Florida driver’s license number, state identification card number or the last 4 digits of the social security number. The identification number is automatically cross-checked against the Florida driver’s license database (DHSMV) or the Social Security Administration database. If that number does not match, the Bureau of Voter Registration Services manually reviews for identifiable typographical errors or a difference between a nickname and formal name based on available records and the actual voter registration application.

If the number still cannot be matched, the applicant is notified to provide a photocopy of their identification by mail, by fax, or by e-mail; or the applicant may show their identification in person. If proof is provided before the election, the applicant becomes registered and the person is able to vote a regular ballot. If proof is not provided before the election, the person may vote a provisional ballot. The person may provide proof up until 5 p.m. of the 2nd day after the election for the ballot to be counted. Keep in mind, this is just for new applications since September 8, 2008.

This law does not keep any person with an unverified number from being able to vote. This law is about verifying identity at the time of registration, so that when the voter goes to the polls the voter can vote a regular ballot, not a provisional ballot. A voter can show a driver’s license, a Florida identification card from DSHMV, a passport, a debit or credit card, military identification, student identification, retirement center identification, neighborhood association identification and public assistance identification on Election Day.

This law does not target specific groups. The U.S. Department of Justice reviewed the law in 2005, and after revisions to the law in 2007 and 2008, found that the law did not deny or abridge the right to vote on account of race, color or membership in a language minority group.

I.D. required and checked at the polls is used solely to confirm the voter’s identity, not to verify the voter’s ID number or address. The photograph on the ID is compared to the person standing before the poll worker and the signature on the ID is compared to the signature on record.

The courts have held that the Voter Verification law is valid because the state has a “compelling” interest to have accurate voter rolls. And despite what others have said, the state provided examples of fraudulent applications that had come through the system because the law had been temporarily stopped. This is a good law that will help our voter rolls achieve more accuracy and less fraud, while creating minimal inconvenience for prospective voters. We encourage you to register now, review your application before submission, and call your local supervisor if you have any questions. See you on Election Day.



October 6 – Deadline for New Voter Registrations

October 20 –Early Voting Begins

October 29 – Deadline for Requests for Absentee Ballots to be Mailed to Voters

November 2 – Early Voting Ends

November 4 – Election Day


(a) Florida driver's license.

(b) Florida identification card issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

(c ) United States passport.

(d) Debit or credit card.

(e) Military identification.

(f) Student identification.

(g) Retirement center identification.

(h) Neighborhood association identification.

(i) Public assistance identification.


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