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ACLU Guide To Florida's "No Match" Voter ID Law

Questions & Answers about Florida's "No Match" Law

Q: What is the "no match" law?

A: The "no match" law prevents voter applicants from becoming registered to vote if the state cannot match their driver's license number, Florida identification number ("Florida ID"), or the last four digits of their Social Security number with a record in the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles or Social Security Administration databases.

If a voter applicant's information cannot be "matched," the supervisor of elections must notify the applicant by mail that s/he must provide a copy of his or her ID by mail, fax, email, or in person to the supervisor before Election Day to become registered to vote and allowed to vote with a regular ballot. If a voter has a Florida driver's license (or a Florida non-driver ID card), she must provide a copy of the license (or non-driver Florida ID card). If a voter does not have one of these cards, and provided the last 4 digits of his/her Social Security number on his/her voter registration application, s/he must provide a copy of his/her Social Security card.

If an unmatched applicant has not produced a copy of the relevant ID before Election Day, the applicant must vote by provisional ballot, which will not count unless s/he produces officials a copy of the relevant ID to the supervisor of elections by 5:00 p.m. on the Thursday after the Election.

Q: I am already a registered voter. Does the "no match" law affect me?

A: No. The "no match" law does not affect voters who were registered by September 8, 2008. The law applies only to new voter registration applications received on or after September 8, 2008.

Q: If I vote by provisional ballot because my number didn't match, will my vote count?

A: If you vote by provisional ballot because of a "no match," your ballot will count only if: (a) you cast it in your assigned precinct and (b) you provide a copy of your driver's license, Florida ID card, or Social Security card by Thursday, November 6, 2008, at 5:00 p.m. You can provide a copy of your ID to your supervisor of elections by fax, mail, email, or in person. If you have a driver's license or Florida ID card, you must send a copy of that card. If you do not have one of those cards, and wrote the last 4 digits of your Social Security number on your application, you must send a copy of your Social Security card. Other identification documents (like a passport) will not be accepted.

Q: I haven't yet registered to vote. What can I do to keep my registration from being rejected due to the "no match" law:

A: Take the following steps:

1. Register as soon as possible. The more time you have before Election Day to correct any "non-match," the better.
2. Complete all the required fields of your voter registration application carefully and accurately.
3. If you have a Florida driver's license number or Florida ID number, you must list it, rather than the last four digits of your social security number, on your registration application. There is lower risk of "no match" if you list your driver's license or Florida ID number, rather than the last four digits of your social security number. If you do not have a Florida driver's license or Florida ID card, you must list the last 4 digits of your social security number.
4. After you have submitted your voter registration application, contact your local supervisor of elections office to verify that you are registered to vote and carefully review your mail to see whether you have received a voter identification card (indicating that your registration application has been accepted) from your supervisor of elections. Keep checking until you know you have been added to the voter rolls.
5. If you receive a letter saying that your ID number could not be matched, immediately provide a copy of your ID to your local supervisor of elections. Taking this step before Election Day will help ensure that you will be permitted to vote with a regular ballot. You can bring a copy of your card to the supervisor of elections' office, or mail, fax, or e-mail it in. Follow up with your local supervisor of elections to be sure they received the copy of your ID and that you are registered to vote.

To find your local supervisor of elections visit: http://election.dos.state.fl.us/soe/supervisor_elections.shtml

Q: I'm registered to vote. Will the "no match" law prevent me from voting if the address on my driver's license is not the same as the address on my voter registration?

A: No. The address on your driver's license does not need to match the address you use to register to vote. If you have moved since you registered, you should update your address with your local supervisor of elections before Election Day. You can also do this when you appear at the polls on Election Day.

Q: What is the purpose of the "no match" law?

A: Supporters of the law now argue that it is necessary to prevent voter fraud; however, there is scant evidence of voter fraud in Florida. Florida's "no match" law is one of the most burdensome in the country. The law results in many "no matches" for African-Americans, Haitians, and Latinos with nontraditional or hyphenated names and, thus, disproportionately prevents these voter applicants from becoming registered to vote.

Q: Is this "no match" law new?

A: No. The Florida legislature enacted the original version of the no-match law in 2005. It went into effect in January 2006. The law prevented 13,000 voters from being registered on Election Day in 2006, and in 2007, it prevented 16,000 voter applicants from being added to the voter rolls. In September 2007, several organizations that conduct voter registration sued to challenge the law, arguing that it needlessly prevented eligible voters from registering to vote.

In December 2007, a federal trial court issued a preliminary ruling that blocked enforcement of the law. That ruling was overturned in a split decision by an appellate court in April 2008, and in June 2008, the trial court refused to issue another preliminary injunction to block enforcement of the law. The case is now proceeding on the merits. Notwithstanding the pending lawsuit, on September 8 - less than one month before the October 6 voter registration deadline - Secretary Browning announced his intention to enforce the no-match law.

ENDS

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