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Florida's new election law...here are pertinent parts of concern sent by our county party.

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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-07 10:43 AM
Original message
Florida's new election law...here are pertinent parts of concern sent by our county party.
This is rather long. I have not read it all yet. I thought maybe since Florida is hogging the primary system now, that someone more informed than me on the subject could pick up on important parts.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

The new election law, HB 537, signed by the governor is effective January 1, 2008.

There are changes that are of concerns regarding proof of identity and provisional ballots.


This bill eliminates employee badges or buyers club cards as acceptable proof of identify. Voters without a Florida Drivers License could apply for a Florida identification card issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
(Acceptable ID: Florida driver's license, Florida identification card issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, U.S. Passport, Debit or credit card.
Military identification, Student identification, Retirement center identification. Neighborhood association identification, Public assistance identification).
Prior to election day, voters must provide evidence necessary to validate the identification number on the voters registration application.
Voter who vote a provisional ballot now have only 2 days, instead of 3, to present evidence necessary to validate the identification number on their voter registration application.
Educating voters regarding these changes could reduce the number of voters whose ballot is disqualified because they lack an acceptable form of identification.


HB 537 Election Reform
This bill is an omnibus elections package that addresses numerous issues, including:
Primary Dates for the Presidential Preference and the Fall Primaries
Paper Ballots for Voting Systems
Initiative Petition Signature Gathering and Revocation
Resign-to-Run Exemptions
Write-In Candidate Qualifying
Minor Political Party Primary Elections
Third Party Voter Registration Group Requirements and Penalties
Absentee Ballot Requests
Political Party Internal Procedures
Florida Elections Commission Procedures and Standards of Proof
Campaign Finance
Third Party Registration Organizations
The bill redefines a third party registration organization to include political parties. The bill lowers the amount of fines applicable to third party registration organizations for violations and caps the total amount of fines at $1,000 per calendar year. The bill also provides for the waiver of fines upon a showing of force majeure or impossibility of performance.
Primary Dates
The bill moves the date of the Florida presidential preference primary from the second Tuesday
in March (March 11, 2008) to the last Tuesday in January (January 29, 2008) of a presidential
election year. It also authorizes municipalities, by ordinance, to move municipal elections
currently scheduled for March 2008 and thereafter to coincide with the new presidential
preference primary date.
The bill also moves Floridas fall primary up one week to 10 weeks before the general election.
Voting Systems/Paper Ballots
The bill requires all voters, except disabled voters, to cast a mark-sense ballot on an optical scan
voting system beginning with the fall primary election of 2008; disabled voters may continue to
vote on the existing touch-screen equipment through 2012, at which time they must be provided a means to cast an independent, mark-sense ballot.
Further, the bill allows the use of ballot-on-demand technology to produce early-voting and
absentee mark-sense ballots, and authorizes the Secretary of State to permit counties to use
ballot-on-demand for election-day ballot production (should the technology prove successful).
The bill requires the Secretary of State/Department of State to negotiate the disposition of
unnecessary touch-screen voting equipment and to purchase new equipment for certain counties.
The bill authorizes an expenditure of approximately $27.86 million from the Grants and
Donations Trust Fund (federal Help America Vote Act, or HAVA, monies) to be used for the
purchase of optical scan voting equipment ($22.86 million) and ballot-on-demand technology
($5 million), including optical scan tabulators, to replace touch-screen equipment. Any money
realized by the sale or other disposition of a county's existing touch-screen voting equipment,
after paying off the county's current indebtedness, will be deposited back to the Trust Fund up to
and including the amount of state funding the county has accepted.
Finally, the bill replaces an unused audit provision in Florida law with a requirement that local
canvassing boards complete a public, random, post-election audit of one to two percent of the
precincts in a randomly-selected race on the ballot. The board must make the audit results public
by the 7th day after the election, which allows time for the filing of an election contest; and, file
a report with the Department of State no later than 15 days after the audit is complete.
Pre-Registration to Vote
The bill expands the current under-l8, voter pre-registration system from pre-registering
17 year-olds to pre-registering persons to vote when they reach their 17th birthday or receive a
valid Florida drivers license, whichever occurs first.
Voter Registration
The bill provides the voter with notice and an opportunity to present evidence necessary prior to
election day to validate the identification number on the voters registration application. The bill
also allows a voter who votes a provisional ballot to present evidence necessary to validate his or
her identification number on the voter registration application within two days after the election
instead of 3 days. The bill provides elections officials with 13 days to enter voter registration
information rather than 15 days.
Resign-to Run Exemptions
The bill exempts persons seeking federal office from the resign-to-run law, s. 99.012, F.S.
Candidate Oath
The bill exempts federal candidates from the current candidate and public employee oath and
creates a new candidate oath for federal candidates.
Candidate Qualification
With regard to candidate qualification, the bill does the following:
Sets the qualification period for state, multi-county district, county, district, and special
district offices, with the exception of judicial offices, federal offices, and the offices of
state attorney and public defender, between the 71st and 67th days prior to the primary
election.
Sets the qualification period in apportionment years for federal candidates between the
71st and 67th days prior to the primary election.
Provides a uniform method of qualifying for special district offices, which includes either
paying a $25 qualifying fee not required to be drawn from the campaign account, or
qualifying by the petition method by obtaining 25 signatures of voters from the
geographical area represented by the office sought.
Provides that single county special district candidates qualify with the county supervisor
and multi-county district candidates qualify with the Department of State.
Exempts special district candidates from appointing a campaign treasurer or designating a
primary campaign depository if the candidate does not collect contributions and has only
the filing or signature verification fee as an expense.
Requires certifications for federal, state, multi-county district, or multi-county special district candidates qualifying by petition to be submitted to the Division of Elections by the 7th day prior to the 1st day of qualifying for the office sought.
Requires write-in candidates to reside in the district of the office sought at the time of
qualifying.
Minor Political Parties
The bill requires minor political parties to hold primary elections instead of designating its
nominees.
County Commissioners
The bill provides that a county commissioner is deemed elected at the time the election results
are certified.
Canvassing Returns
With regard to canvassing returns, the bill does the following:
Conforms the canvassing of special elections to that of general elections.
Provides that ballot canvassing may begin six days prior to the election, rather than four
days prior to the election, in a local all mail-ballot election.
Provides that absentee ballots may be canvassed six days prior to the election, rather than
four.
Provides an additional 19 hours for the submission of final returns after a general election
from 5 p.m. on the 11th day after the election to noon on the 12th day.
Requires county canvassing boards to submit preliminary election returns to the Deparment of State on election night in a format specified by the department.
Requires provisional ballots to be included in the first set of unofficial returns.
Provides that the unofficial returns must be submitted by noon on the fourth day after a
general election, or any election other than a primary election, rather than the fifth day
after an election.
Provides an extra day for the submission of the second set of unofficial returns after a
general election in which a recount was conducted.
Initiative Petitions
With regard to initiative petitions, the bill does the following:
Requires petition forms to be signed by the constitutionally required distribution of
electors in addition to the constitutionally required number of electors currently required
under law.
Requires supervisors to verify signatures within 30 days of receiving petition forms.
Requires supervisors to record in the statewide voter registration system the date each
form is received and the date the signature on the form is verified as valid.
Requires the form to contain the electors original signature, the date the form was signed
as recorded by the elector, the electors na
Requires the elector, at the time of signing the form, to be a registered elector of the
county in which his or her signature is submitted.
Provides that a signature may be revoked within 150 days of the date it was signed by the
elector by submitting a signed petition-revocation form to the appropriate supervisor.
Provides that petition-revocation forms and the process by which revocation form
signatures are obtained, submitted, and verified are subject to the same relevant
requirements and timeframes as petition forms.
Requires supervisors to provide petition-revocation forms to the public at all main and
branch offices.
Provides that petition-revocation forms must be filed with the supervisor by February 1st preceding the next general election; however, if the initiative is not certified for ballot position in that election, the revocation forms must be filed by February 1st preceding the next successive general election.
A fee of 10 cents or the actual cost of verifying such revocation signature, whichever is
less, must be paid to the supervisor in order for the signature to be verified.
The supervisor must record each valid and verified revocation form in the statewide voter
registration system.
Identification at the Polls
The bill eliminates forms of identification accepted at the polls:
Employee badge or identification
Buyers club identification
Precinct-Level Reporting by Supervisors
The bill requires supervisors to report in an electronic format specified by the Department of
State precinct level election results within 35 days, rather than 75 days, after a special, primary,
presidential preference primary, municipal, and general election. The bill provides that the
precinct level election results must separately record for each precinct all demographic data
associated with each precinct at book closing for each election and individual vote history in
addition to current data requirements. The bill requires this data to be cross-referenced by
political party and other demographic information as defined by the Department of State. The
bill mandates that the department create a uniform system for the collection and reporting of this
data.
Absentee Ballots
The bill provides that an absentee ballot request is effective for all elections through the next two
general elections after the request is made, rather than just for the elections in the calendar year
in which the request was made. The bill requires supervisors to send absentee ballots overseas at
least 45 days before the general election. The bill also provides an extra day for delivery of an
absentee ballot to a voters designee, from 4 days before an election to 5 days.
Provides that petition-revocation forms and the process by which revocation form
signatures are obtained, submitted, and verified are subject to the same relevant
requirements and timeframes as petition forms.
Requires supervisors to provide petition-revocation forms to the public at all main and
branch offices.
Provides that petition-revocation forms must be filed with the supervisor by February 1st
preceding the next general election; however, if the initiative is not certified for ballot
position in that election, the revocation forms must be filed by February 1st preceding the
next successive general election.
A fee of 10 cents or the actual cost of verifying such revocation signature, whichever is
less, must be paid to the supervisor in order for the signature to be verified.
The supervisor must record each valid and verified revocation form in the statewide voter
registration system.
Use of Names Associated with Political Parties
The bill provides that political parties may file with the Department of State the names of groups
associated with that party which may not be used by another organization or entity without
obtaining prior written permission from the partys executive committee chair.
Political Parties
The bill sets the qualification period for candidates for a state or county executive committee
office of a political party between the 71st and 67th days prior to the primary election. The bill
requires a state committeeman and a state committeewoman to be a member in good standing of
the county executive committee in which the man or woman is a registered voter. The bill also
expands the membership of a state executive committee to include 10 state registered voters
appointed by the Governor if the voters are members of the party and if the Governor is a
member of the party.

Removal or Suspension of Certain Party Members
The bill expands the authority of the state executive committee chair to remove or suspend
certain state or county party officers or members for violation of the oath of office or for
activities that either interfere with the partys activities or cause harm to the name or status of the
party.
Campaign Treasurers for Candidates and Political Committees
The bill removes the requirement that a campaign treasurer or deputy treasurer for a political
committee or candidate be a Florida registered voter.
Committees of Continuous Existence
The bill allows groups to collect dues from its members and forward those dues to the committee
of continuous existence, which must report the dues as coming from the member who originally
paid the dues.
Valuation of Private Air Travel
The bill provides that travel in a private aircraft must be valued at the actual cost of per person
commercial air travel for the same or a substantially similar route.
Contribution Limits
The bill allows contributions to political committees and committees of continuous existence
through affiliated organizations. The affiliated organization may commingle the contributions
with its own funds and write a single check to the political committee or the committee of
continuous existence for the aggregate amount of the contributions provided the funds are
identified as intended to be contributed to the political committee or committee of continuous
existence. Contributions received in this manner must be reported by the political committee or
committee of continuous existence as having been made by the original contributor.
Cash Contributions
The bill prohibits a person from making or accepting a cash contribution in excess of $50 instead
of $l00.
Political Advertisements
The bill requires a specific disclosure for 3-pack ads. These ads must state:
That they are paid political advertisements;
The names of those who sponsored and paid for the ad; and
The names of persons, their party affiliation, and offices sought in the ad.
Candidacy Polls and Surveys
The bill provides that committees of continuous existence and electioneering communication
organizations may conduct polls or surveys relating to candidacy for public office.
Florida Elections Commission
With regard to the Florida Elections Commission, the bill does the following:
Requires sworn complaints to be based on personal information or information other than hearsay.
Provides that if an expense item is reimbursed before a complaint is filed alleging
violations regarding that expense item, the commission may not investigate the
allegations contained in the complaint.
Provides that a complaint may be withdrawn, before a probable cause hearing is held, if
good cause is shown.
Repeals s. 106.37, F.S., relating to the definition of a willful violation.
Provides that willfulness is a determination of fact.
Allows a respondent to request a hearing on the determination of willfulness.
Revises the procedures, notice requirements, and scope of inquiry of the commission
after a complaint has been filed.
Requires the commission to attempt to reach a consent agreement with the respondent if
probable cause is found to exist.
Requires that a hearing be conducted before an administrative law judge when the
commission files allegations unless the alleged violator elects to have a formal or
informal hearing before the commission or elects to resolve the complaint through a
consent order. The administrative law judge is required to enter a final order subject to
appeal.
Requires the commission to maintain a searchable database of all final orders and agency actions.
Distribution of Election Campaign Financing Trust Funds
The bill requires the distribution of Election Campaign Financing Trust funds to begin on the
32nd day prior to the primary.
Municipal Officers
The bill provides that if a person is selected to fill a temporary vacancy in a municipal office due
to the suspension of the officeholder, that person may serve the remainder of the officeholders
term if the officeholder is subsequently removed from office.
Effective Date
If approved by the Governor, these provisions take effect January 1, 2008, except as otherwise
provided.
Vote: Senate 37-2; House 118-0
Voting NAY: Alenander, Gaetz
05/09/07 Signed by Officers and presented to Governor




CS/SB 900 Initiatives; General Requirements and Revocation Procedures
This bill, entitled the Beatrice T. Posey Truth in Petition Act, amends s. 100.371, F.S., and
provides the following:
Requires petition forms to be signed by the constitutionally required distribution of
electors in addition to the constitutionally required number of electors currently required
under law.
Requires the elector who signs a petition form to date the form when he or she signs it.
Requires a petition form to be given to a supervisor within 30 days from the date it is
signed by the elector in order to be verified as valid.
Requires supervisors to record in the statewide voter registration system the date each
form is received and the date the signature on the form is verified as valid.
Provides that a signature may be revoked within 120 days after it has been verified by the supervisor by submitting a signed petition-revocation form to the appropriate supervisor.
Provides that petition-revocation forms and the process by which revocation form
signatures are obtained, submitted, and verified are subject to the same relevant
requirements and timeframes as petition forms.
Requires supervisors to provide petition-revocation forms to the public at all main and
branch offices.
Provides that petition-revocation forms must be filed with the supervisor by February 1st
preceding the next general election; however, if the initiative is not certified for ballot
position in that election, the revocation forms must be filed by February 1st preceding
the next successive general election.
A fee of 10 cents or the actual cost of verifying such revocation signature, whichever is
less, must be paid to the supervisor in order for the signature to be verified.
The supervisor must record each valid and verified revocation form in the statewide voter
registration system.
If approved by the Governor, these provisions take effect August 1, 2007.
Vote: Senate 27-9; House 96-22
SENATE Voting NAY: Aronberg, Bullard, Deutch, Hill, Lawson, Joyner, Justice, Ring, Storms, Wilson
HOUSE Voting NAY: Brise, Bucher, Chestnut, Cusack, Garcia, L., Gelber, Gibbons, Heller, Jenne, Kiar, Kriseman, Long, Reed, Roberson, Schwartz, Seiler, Skidmore, Taylor, Thompson, G., Thurston, Vana, Waldman,

CS/SB 1920 Initiatives; Property Rights
This bill provides that a private person exercising lawful control over any privately-owned
property, including commercial property open to the public, may prohibit all activities on the
property that support or oppose constitutional amendment initiatives.
If approved by the Governor, these provisions take effect July 1, 2007.
Vote: Senate 38-0; House 119-0


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LiberalFighter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-07 10:51 AM
Response to Original message
1. Provides that absentee ballots may be canvassed six days prior to the election
Provides that absentee ballots may be canvassed six days prior to the election, rather than
four.

Why the need to tally the votes ahead of time?


All they need to do is count those votes at each of the polling places where the votes would had been cast if they had voted on election day.

I would require that the number of absentee ballots sent to each of the voting places be recorded and then matched with absentee counts from the voting place.
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napi21 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-07 11:06 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. I can think of a few reasons why this was inserted.
Canvassing absentee votes before the election might be a problem IF a very large number of absentee votes are cast. I reemember in the 04 election, many organizations were urging their members to vote absentee because they thought it would insure their votes would be counted. That was wrong of course, but it generated a hugh number of absentee ballots. They DO talk some time to open and enter into the voting system, no matter what method is used.

As far as sending each absentee ballot to the precinct where the voter would have legally cast their ballot, that seems link an additional and unnecessary step to me. All absentee ballots are sent to one address in a particular area via the US Mail. Ultimately, all precinct votes are sent to a central location for final merge and tabulation. Why would you add the additional step of taking the absentee ballots, having someone decide where that voter should have voted, send them to that precince (hopefully the right one), only to be entered into the voting system at the precinct level so the information can be ultimately sent BACK to the central locaction for final tabulation? I believe every time additional hands have to touch these ballots, the risk of error increases.
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LiberalFighter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-07 01:43 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. That is how it is done here and I am sure in many of the states.
The votes are tallied by precincts or wards.

What do you mean final tabulation? There should be only ONE tabulation of the votes and it should be at the precinct or ward level. The results then are sent to the county seat to be recorded not counted.

So you would suggest having all the absentee ballots in one central location and then counted? WHY? Where do you get the manpower to make that happen? The election workers in each of the precinct are already there and just counting the absentee ballots valid in their precinct is a better way. Instead of 10,000 absentee ballots counted in a room how big? and with how many people available? VS 10,000 absentee ballots divided by about 250 voting locations averages about 40 absentee ballots at each voting site? THAT is what would be found in our county with a population of about 300,000.

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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-22-07 01:02 PM
Response to Original message
3. This one about prohibiting getting constitutional amendment petitions signed
on private, including commercial property...bothers me.

We had a peace rally in front of shopping center on the sidewalk...they called tow trucks to tow the cars away if we were parked in the parking lot. Here there is a lot of petitioning done in front of stores or malls. Guess there won't be much of that.

CS/SB 1920 Initiatives; Property Rights
This bill provides that a private person exercising lawful control over any privately-owned
property, including commercial property open to the public, may prohibit all activities on the
property that support or oppose constitutional amendment initiatives.
If approved by the Governor, these provisions take effect July 1, 2007.
Vote: Senate 38-0; House 119-0
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