Notice of Proposed Rule

Division of Elections
1S-2.048: NVRA-Voter Registration Agencies
PURPOSE AND EFFECT: The purpose of the new rule is to ensure that each voter registration agency designated by the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) of 1995 and by Section 97.058, F.S., complies with the requirements of NVRA. The proposed rules requires each such agency: 1) to designate a coordinator and act as a liaison to the Department of State’s NVRA coordinator, 2) to ensure compliance with the federal and state law governing voter registration activities, 3) to record for each client voter registration services provided, 4) to report quarterly the number of applications for new registration and updates are received by using form DS-DE #131, NVRA Voter Registration Agencies Quarterly Activities Report Form and 5) to require training for staff. The proposed rule also incorporates by reference DS-DE #77-ENG and DS-DE #77-SPN, a form in English and in Spanish that combines the preference form (facilitates the tracking of voter registration activity) and a detachable national mail-in application form.
SUMMARY: NVRA duties of federal and state designated voter registration agencies.
The Agency has determined that this will not have an adverse impact on small business or likely increase directly or indirectly regulatory costs in excess of $200,000 in the aggregate within one year after the implementation of the rule. A SERC has not been prepared by the agency.
The Agency has determined that the proposed rule is not expected to require legislative ratification based on the statement of estimated regulatory costs or if no SERC is required, the information expressly relied upon and described herein: 1) no requirement for SERC was triggered under Section 120.541(1), F.S. and 2) based on past experiences with election-related activities and rules of this nature, the adverse impact or regulatory cost, if any, do not exceed nor would be expected to exceed any one of the economic analysis criteria set forth in Section 120.541(2)(a), F.S.
Any person who wishes to provide information regarding a statement of estimated regulatory costs, or provide a proposal for a lower cost regulatory alternative must do so in writing within 21 days of this notice.
RULEMAKING AUTHORITY: 20.10(3), 97.012, 97.058(9) FS.
LAW IMPLEMENTED: 97.012(7), (10), 97.058 FS. .; 42 U.S.C. 1973gg
DATE AND TIME: October 17, 2011, 2:00 p.m.
PLACE: Room 307, R.A. Gray Building, Florida Department of State, 500 S. Bronough Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399
Pursuant to the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, any person requiring special accommodations to participate in this workshop/meeting is asked to advise the agency at least 5 days before the workshop/meeting by contacting: Room 307, R.A. Gray Building, Florida Department of State, 500 S. Bronough Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399. If you are hearing or speech impaired, please contact the agency using the Florida Relay Service, 1(800)955-8771 (TDD) or 1(800)955-8770 (Voice).
THE PERSON TO BE CONTACTED REGARDING THE PROPOSED RULE IS: Maria Matthews, Assistant General Counsel, Office of General Counsel, at (850)245-6536, or Dr. Gisela Salas, (850)245-6200,, Florida Department of State, 500 S. Bronough Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0250


1S-2.048 NVRA Voter Registration Agencies – Responsibilities.

(1) General application. These provisions apply to voter registration agencies as designated by section 1973gg-5 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, and Section 97.021, F.S. Voter registration agencies are not considered third-party voter registration organizations. Applicable voter registration agencies include:

(a) Any office that provides public assistance (e.g., any office that provides assistance through the food assistance program under the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the Medicaid program, Children’s Health Kidcare, Department of Children and Families Medicaid program, the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children, and the Temporary Cash Assistance Program).

(b) Any office that serves persons with disabilities. The office may be a stand-alone governmental agency or an office operating within a state or local government agency such as the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, a state-funded college or university, the Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs, the Florida Department of Children and Family Services, the Florida Department of Education’s Division of Blind Services and Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

(c) Any center for independent living as defined in Section 413.20, F.S.

(d) Any public library. A public library refers to any library that serves a community, district or region and provides an organized collection of printed and other library materials or combination thereof, paid staff, a schedule in which staff services are available to public, facilities to support collection, staff and schedule, and is supported in whole or in part with public funds. The term does not include an academic library.

(e) Any armed forces recruitment office.

(2) For purposes of designating a coordinate under subsection (3) and reporting voter registration activities under subsection (7), “each voter registration agency” refers to the highest level of administrative unit or a consortium unit that oversees and monitors activities over one or more jurisdictional office or district or regional offices or divisions.

(3) Coordinator. Each voter registration agency shall designate an agency coordinator for voter registration activities related to NVRA and Section 97.058, F.S. The coordinator shall:

(a) Notify the Division of Elections of his or her name and contact information and keep the Division up-to-date regarding any changes.

(b) Identify those agency staff whose duties involve offering new agency services or renewal or recertification thereof, or the intake of address changes for those services.

(c) Ensure that the duties of agency staff identified in paragraph (b) delineate responsibility to provide voter registration and update opportunities to their clients at the same time as they are being offered the agencies services.

(d) Provide training to agency staff identified in paragraph (b) which may be satisfied by in-house training, or training offered by the Supervisor of Elections’ office, or the Department of State’s NVRA Coordinator. The training should cover at a minimum the following topics: how and to whom voter registration services must be offered whether services are provided in person, by phone, online, or other means, how to process the voter registration of special classes of clients as victims of domestic violence or stalking violence, and high-risk professional classes of applicants who may be entitled to address confidentiality under certain circumstances, what the procedures are for advising clients of certain voter registration rights under federal and state law as set out in the preference form referenced further in this rule, how to make applications in electronic or paper format available or accessible, what is the degree of assistance required if client requests assistance to complete the application, what are the mandatory and optional fields of a voter registration application, how to record or track an agency’s voter registration activities, and what is the process for collecting and submitting voter registration applications or if authorized by law, electronic voter registration information.

(4) Voter registration applications. A voter registration agency shall ensure that regardless of the manner in which the person applies (in-person, over the phone, online or other means), for new or renewal of agency services or for updates to his or her address with respect to those services, the person shall be offered the opportunity to apply for voter registration at the same time whether it is through access or availability of a voter registration application in paper form or electronic format or online, or through electronic intake. The person shall also be provided the same degree of assistance, if requested, as the assistance provided for the agency’s own services.

(5) Notice of Rights. When a person applies for primary agency services or assistance from a voter registration agency for the first time or renews or recertifies eligibility for such services or assistance, or changes his or her address with respect to that service or assistance, the voter registration agency, with the exception of public libraries, must give in person or provide paper or electronic access to the following information about their rights:

(a) The right to apply to register or update his or her voter registration record through the voter registration agency, or decline to do so.

(b) The right to have his or her benefits or services unaffected by whether he or she decides to register or not register to vote.

(c) The right to ask for and receive the same degree of help to fill a voter registration application as the person would receive to apply for the agency’s own services.

(d) The right to privacy so as to be able to complete a voter registration application without assistance, and to have a person’s decision to register or not register be kept confidential including not disclosing to the public where a person submitted his or her voter registration information.

(e) The right to submit a complaint to the Florida Department of State if the person believes that someone has interfered with his or her right to apply to register or to decline to register, his or her right to privacy in such decision, or his or her right to choose his or her own political party.

(6) Preference form. The preference Form DS-DE #77-ENG, entitled “National Voter Registration Act Preference Form and Application” (eff. 01/2012, incorporated herein by reference, may be used to comply with the requirements in subsections (4) and (5). Otherwise, the voter registration agency must ensure that any programmatic or electronic interface with the client complies with the requirements in subsections (4) and (5). A Spanish version is also available and is entitled “National Voter Registration Act Formulario de Preferencia y Solicitud de Registrar (DS-DE #77-SPN, eff.01/2012). Both forms are available online at: or directly from the Division of Elections, Room 316, R.A. Gray Building, 500 S. Bronough Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0250, or by phone at (850)245-6200. A public library is not required to develop or use a preference form except when it is acting in the capacity of another voter registration agency.

(7) Data collection.

(a) On behalf of each voter registration agency, each voter registration coordinator shall report quarterly on the prior 3-months of voter registration activities. Such reports are due on April 15, July 15, October 15, and January 15. Such report shall be submitted to the Division of Elections. The coordinator shall use the form DS DE #131, entitled “NVRA Voter Registration Agencies Quarterly Activities Report Form,” (eff. 01/2012) incorporated herein by reference. The form is available for electronic input on the Division’s webpage at: If the electronic system is not functioning, the form may be downloaded and submitted in hard-copy to the Division of Elections, at (850)245-6200, or R.A. Gray Building, Room 316, 500 South Bronough Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0250. Alternatively, subject to approval by the Department, a coordinator may submit the information in an electronic format using delimited text or excel spreadsheet. Except as provided in subsection (8) for public libraries, a voter registration agency must report the following aggregated data as set forth in the form.

1. How many clients declined to register or update their voter registration record. For purposes of this rule, the term “decline” does not include those persons who request that the application be mailed or who take an application in lieu of completing or submitting voter registration information at the time of applying for or receiving new or renewal of agency services, or updating an address for those services.

2. How many clients sought new or a renewal of agency services or assistance or made an address change with an agency in each category: in person, by mail, via online, webservice, or electronic remote location, by telephone, or through home site visit.

3. How many voter registration applications were mailed to clients.

4. How many clients submitted voter registration information or an application to the agency (including applications received in the mail or delivered to the agency).

5. How many voter registration applications were forwarded for each county to the Supervisor of Elections’ office, regardless of whether they were invalid, incomplete, or a duplicate of an existing registration.

(8) A public library must:

(a) Provide to its patrons access to a paper, electronic or other online voter registration application at the same time its patron applies for a new or renewal of a library card or updates an address for purposes of a library card.

(b) Assist patrons if help is requested to complete the voter registration application to the same degree it provides assistance with the completion of its own forms to obtain a new library card or renewal thereof, or to update their address.

(c) Report to the Department of State, the number of voter registration applications forwarded by each public library in the county to the local Supervisor of Elections’ office.

(9) This rule is effective January 1, 2012.

Rulemaking Authority 20.10, 97.012(9), 97.058 FS. Law Implemented 97.058 FS., 42 U.S.C. 1973 gg, History–New 1-1-12.

NAME OF PERSON ORIGINATING PROPOSED RULE: Dr. Gisela Salas, Director, Division of Elections