1S-2.039: FVRS Voter Registration Processes
PURPOSE AND EFFECT: The primary purpose of the proposed new rule is to codify procedures and practices affecting voter registration under the Florida Voter Registration System (FVRS) consistent with the requirements of chapter laws 2005-277, 2005-278, 2007-30, and 2008-95, Laws of Florida. The proposed rule also provides requirements for uploading street address indices in order to be able to validate residential street addresses as necessary for registration. These practices and procedures have evolved since FVRS was first implemented in January 2006. These processes ensure that the entry and processing of voter registration information is uniform, that registration records are accurate and current, and that the official list of registered voters contains only eligible registered voters.
SUMMARY: The proposed rule codifies uniform voter registration procedures for the FVRS.
SUMMARY OF STATEMENT OF ESTIMATED REGULATORY COSTS: No Statement of Estimated Regulatory Cost was prepared.
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.
SPECIFIC AUTHORITY: 20.10(3), 97.012(1)-(2) 97.052(1), 98.015(10)-(12), 98.035(5), 98.045(5) FS.
LAW IMPLEMENTED: 97.052, 97.053, 98.015, 98.035, 98.045 FS.
A HEARING WILL BE HELD AT THE DATE, TIME AND PLACE SHOWN BELOW:
DATE AND TIME: November 30, 2009, 2:00 p.m.
PLACE: Florida Department of State, R. A. Gray Building, Room 307, 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: Eddie Phillips, Executive Assistant, Office of General Counsel, Department of State, R. A. Gray Building, 500 S. Bronough Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0250; telephone: (850)245-6536 or ELPhillips@dos.state.fl.us. 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, telephone: (850)245-6536; firstname.lastname@example.org. or Donald Palmer, Director, Division of Elections, Florida Department of State, R. A. Gray Building, 500 S. Bronough Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0250
THE FULL TEXT OF THE PROPOSED RULE IS:
1S-2.039 FVRS Voter Registration Procedures.
(1) Applicability. These voter registration procedures apply to ensure uniform voter registration processes and maintain current and accurate voter registration records.
(2) Definitions. The terms herein shall have the following meaning:
(a) “BVRS” refers to the Bureau of Voter Registration Services.
(b) “DHSMV” refers to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
(c) “FVRS” refers to the Florida Voter Registration System that contains the official list of registered voters in the state.
(d) “Personal identifying number” refers to the applicant’s or registered voter’s Florida driver’s license card number, Florida identification card number or the last four digits of his or her social security card number.
(e) “SSA” refers to the Social Security Administration.
(f) “SSN4” refers to the last four digits of an applicant’s or registered voter’s social security number.
(g) “Supervisor” refers to the Supervisor of Elections.
(h) “Valid application” refers to any application as referenced in Sections 97.052(1) and (5), F.S.
(i) “Voter registration agency” refers to any entity designated by the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA), 42 U.S.C. 1973gg-5(a) and (c), or designated in Section 97.021(40), F.S. Such entities include any office that provides public assistance, any office that services persons with disabilities including any center for independent living, any public library, and any armed forces recruitment office.
(j) “Voter registration official” or “registration official” as used interchangeably herein is as defined in Section 97.021(41), F.S.
(3) Existing record search. Before information from an application for new registration is entered into the FVRS, the voter registration official must search FVRS to determine if an active application record or current voter registration record already exists for the applicant in the FVRS.
(a) If an existing record is found and determined to belong to the applicant, the registration official shall update the existing record with the information from the application. If the legal residency might have changed out-of-state in the period between the records’ creation and the latest application but the registered voter was never official removed during that period, the application shall be processed as an update to the existing record without removing the registered voter or assigning a new FVRS identification number.
(b) If one or more records are found but are determined not to belong to the applicant, the registration official shall enter the information and apply a duplicate override flag to the record. However, if the records found are voter registration records (with a status of active, inactive or pre-registered) that belong to the same registered voter the earlier record are to be removed as a duplicate. If the voter’s record to be removed shows the voter with a residency in another county, the registration official shall suspend the record to the Supervisor of the county of residence in the record and include details of the duplication in the field for application process status remarks.
(c) The FVRS shall contain only one voter registration record (with a status of active, inactive, or pre-registered) for each registered voter.
(4) Data entry.
(a) A voter registration official shall enter into the FVRS information from valid and invalid applications for new registration or registration update subject to paragraph (b).
1. A valid application for new registration is incomplete if it does not contain all the information necessary to establish the applicant’s eligibility under Section 97.041, F.S., and to allow for verification of identity under Section 97.053(6), F.S. A registration official shall not complete or fill in a field on an application that is otherwise left blank. If a new registration application is incomplete, the applicant shall be notified in accordance with Section 97.073, F.S., and sent a voter registration application indicating the required missing information. If the applicant completes the second application without including information submitted on the initial valid application, the applications shall be considered as one provided all the required information necessary to establish the applicant’s eligibility under Section 97.041, F.S., is included.
2. If an applicant submits an invalid application, the Supervisor of the county of residence shall send a valid application to the applicant to complete.
(b) A voter registration official shall enter information from an application for new registration or registration update as it appears on the application, except as follows:
1. The new applicant’s SSN4 shall only be entered into the FVRS even if the applicant provides the full number. The number on the original application shall not be altered.
2. The name on the application shall be inputted as printed or handwritten in the field soliciting the applicant or registered voter’s name. If a registration official is unable to determine the name or correct spelling through a comparison of the signature and printed name, the printed shall be entered, and if the information from the application is entered by a voter registration official other than from within the office of the Supervisor of the applicant’s county of residence, the application record shall be suspended to the Supervisor with a comment through the FVRS that the record involves a name discrepancy. The Supervisor shall then notify the applicant or registered voter to resolve the matter. If the applicant’s name can not be deciphered at all, the information shall not be entered into the FVRS. The application shall be mailed to the Supervisor of the applicant’s county of residence for resolution.
(c) Original signature. Any and each application submitted for a new registration or registration update to an existing registration record must include the original signature, or the digital signature transmitted by the DHSMV.
(5) Identification verification. Any valid application for new registration that is submitted other than electronically through DHSMV shall be routed to DHSMV or SSA for verification of the authenticity or nonexistence of the personal identifying number provided on the application. However, no application shall be routed to DHSMV unless the Supervisor first determines that the applicant is eligible in accordance with Section 97.041, F.S.
(a) Personal identifying number provided.
1. If DHSMV or SSA is able to verify the personal identifying number, the applicant’s completed application shall become the official registration record and the applicant’s name shall be listed as an active voter in the FVRS.
2. If DHSMV or SSA is unable to verify the personal identifying number, the application record shall be routed to the BVRS to check for data entry errors using the scanned image of the application in the FVRS, and a comparison of information available from DHSMV. If a data entry error occurred, the BVRS shall correct the application record and resubmit the record to DSHMV OR SSA for verification. If no data entry error occurred, but the BVRS is able to confirm that the number belongs to the applicant, the BVRS shall override the FVRS to complete the registration process. The applicant’s completed application shall become the official registration record and the applicant’s name shall be listed as an active voter in the FVRS. If the BVRS is unable to resolve the verification issue, the BVRS shall flag the record as unverified and suspend the record through the FVRS to the Supervisor of the new applicant’s county of residence resolutions as follows:
a. The Supervisor shall then send the applicant written notice stating that:
i. The applicant’s personal identifying number as provided on the application could not be verified,
ii. In order to vote a regular ballot in the upcoming election, the applicant must provide beforehand to the Supervisor a copy of his or her Florida driver’s license, Florida identification card or social security card in person or mail, fax or e-mail a copy of the card to the office [with the necessary Supervisor’s contact information provided]; or
iii. If the applicant does not provide evidence of his or her Florida driver’s license, Florida identification card or social security card, before going to the polls, the applicant will be allowed to vote a provisional ballot and has the right to present the evidence until 5 p.m. of the second day after Election Day in order to ensure that the provisional ballot is counted.
iv. That Florida law exempts from public disclosure a person’s driver’s license number, identification card number and social security number.
b. If the applicant provides evidence of his or her personal identifying number, the Supervisor shall retain a copy of the evidence as part of the applicant’s application but shall not be scanned into the FVRS. The Supervisor shall change in the FVRS the source of the applicant’s number from “F” (referring to form) to “P” (referring to proof). If the personal identifying number presented to the Supervisor is different from the number and type provided on the application, the new number shall also be recorded and replace the existing number in the FVRS. The personal identifying number on the application shall not be changed. The personal identifying number provided by the applicant is deemed verified and shall be not routed to DHSMV or SSA for verification. The applicant’s completed application shall become the official registration record and the applicant’s name shall be listed as an active voter in the FVRS.
c. If it is determined after notice to the applicant that the personal identifying number could not be verified that a data entry error occurred, the record shall be corrected and the number resubmitted through the FVRS for verification by DHSMV or SSA, whichever is applicable. If the number is returned as verified, the Supervisor shall notify the applicant if the applicant has not already provided personal proof of a personal identifying number.
(b) No personal identifying number. If an applicant does not provide a personal identifying number and checks or writes “NONE”, the applicant’s record shall be routed to DHSMV or SSA to determine if a personal identifying exists.
1. If DHSMV or SSA determines that a personal identifying number may exist for such applicant, the application record shall be suspended to the Supervisor of the applicant’s county of residence for resolution. The Supervisor shall contact the applicant and provide him or her with an opportunity to confirm or deny the information found. If the applicant provides evidence of a personal identifying number, the Supervisor shall apply the applicable procedures in paragraph (a).
2. If DHSMV or SSA is unable to determine that a personal identifying number exists for such applicant, the record shall be suspended to the Supervisor of the applicant’s county of residence. The Supervisor shall override the FVRS and the applicant’s completed application shall become the official registration record and the applicant’s name shall be listed as an active voter in the FVRS. If the applicant is a special applicant pursuant to Section 97.0535, F.S., who registers by mail and has never previously voted in the state, the applicant’s application record shall be flagged accordingly until such time as he or she provides identification required by law.
(c) Blank field. If an applicant does not provide a personal identifying number and does not check or write “None” on the application, the application is incomplete. A registration official shall not complete or fill in the blank field on such application or in the FVRS. The applicant must be notified and provided the opportunity to resubmit a complete application.
(6) Political party affiliation. A new applicant or registered voter who chooses or changes his or her party affiliation shall be registered:
(a) With his or her requested party using the party codes assigned by the Division of Elections for each political party registered in Florida.
(b) Without political party affiliation under the code of “NPA” (no party affiliation) if the person:
1. Marks ‘No party,”
2. Fails to designate a party affiliation, or
3. Designates a political party that is non-existent, not registered or no longer registered in Florida.
(7) Source code assignment. Each application for new registration or registration update shall be assigned a code in the FVRS that indicates how the application was submitted as follows:
(a) Code 1: Any electronic intake application completed at or paper applications mailed or hand-delivered to a driver’s license examiner’s office for the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles or a tax collector’s office that issues driver’s licenses.
(b) Code 2: Any application that arrives through the postal service or other mail delivery service and that does not otherwise fall into any of the other source codes listed under this paragraph. This includes the federal postcard application.
(c) Code 3: Any application that is completed at or submitted to, and forwarded by a public assistance program as is defined in Section 97.021(29), F.S. (for example, food stamp program, the Medicaid program, the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children, and the WAGES program).
(d) Code 4: Any application that is completed at or submitted to, and forwarded by an office that serves persons with disabilities including any office serving students with disabilities at an educational institute, and any center for independent living.
(e) Code 5: Any application that is completed at or submitted to, and forwarded by an armed forces recruitment office.
(f) Code 6: Any application that is completed at or submitted to, and forwarded by a public library.
(g) Code 7: Any application that is completed at or hand-delivered by the applicant or registered voter or someone on his or her behalf to the Supervisor’s office.
(h) Code 8: Any application that is submitted by a third-party registration organization such as an advocacy group or political party.
(8) Registration date. The registration date for a new applicant shall be governed by Section 97.053(3) or (4), and shall be entered in the FVRS accordingly.
(9) Special applicants-domestic violence victims. Any application that is received by a Supervisor of Elections, an office that issues driver’s licenses, or a voter registration official or voter registration agency knows or has reason to believe that the applicant or registered voter is a victim of domestic violence who is or may be entitled to address confidentiality under the provisions of Sections 741.401-741.465, F.S., must be processed as follows:
(a) If not already authorized or if the original authorization has expired or was withdrawn, the new applicant or registered voter must be directed to the Supervisor for information as to the Florida Attorney General Address Confidentiality Program (ACP). If the applicant or registered voter still seeks address confidentiality, the Supervisor shall refer the person to the Florida Attorney General’s Office for certification in the 4-year program (subject to renewal) in order to be able to register with a substitute mailing address and to vote by absentee ballot.
(b) If the applicant or registered voter has obtained an authorization card as proof of participation in the ACP, the Supervisor shall process the new registration or the registration record update manually. The application shall not be entered or scanned into the FVRS in order ensure that information revealing the personal identifying information and location of the applicant are not disclosed to the public. If it is determined that the applicant is already a registered voter whose record is in the FVRS, the existing registration record in the FVRS shall be cancelled and any update to the record should be processed manually.
(c) The Supervisor shall forward to the Division of Elections’ BVRS a copy of the completed and signed application for new registration or for registration record update with the legal address redacted. The documents shall be forwarded in an envelope marked private and confidential and addressed to: Chief, Bureau of Voter Registration Services/ACP, Department of State, Division of Elections, 500 S. Bronough Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399. The BVRS chief shall retain the documentation in a separate secure data store from other registrations.
(d) The BVRS chief shall verify through the DHSMV or SSA the new applicant’s personal identifying number and shall report the results of the verification to the Supervisor of elections of the voter’s county of residence.
(e) The BVRS Chief shall conduct monthly checks to determine if the ACP registered voter is matched with data regarding death, an adjudication of mental incapacity or a felony conviction, and if a match is found, to report such match to the respective Supervisor.
(f) The names of participants in the Attorney General’s Address Confidentiality Program shall not appear on any registered voter list, absentee ballot list, tape, label or precinct register.
(10) Scanned application image. The voter registration official inputting the information from an application for new registration or for registration record update must scan and index the image of the application into the FVRS no later than three days after inputting the information.
(11) Notices. Once an application for new registration or registration update is processed, the Supervisor shall record in the FVRS the date and type of the following notices:
(a) A notice of disposition as to a new applicant’s application pursuant to Section 97.073, F.S.
(b) A notice of nonverification regarding the new applicant’s personal identifying number pursuant to Section 97.053(6), or
(c) A voter information card issued pursuant to an update to a name, address of party affiliation pursuant to Section 97.071 or 97.1031, F.S.
(12) Street Address Index Updates.
(a) At least monthly, each county Supervisor shall submit electronically to the Division of Elections as an upload to the statewide voter registration system a list of valid residential street addresses for purposes of verifying the legal addresses of applicants and registered voters in the Supervisor’s county. The street address index may be submitted more frequently as street additions or changes occur in the prior month. No monthly update is required if no additions or changes in street addresses have occurred in the prior month.
(b) The street address index update shall be submitted either by:
1. Batch method in which the entire existing index is replaced with an updated index,
2. Change method in which a street address index is updated with individual changes as they occur.
(13) Effective Date. This rule is effective March 1, 2010.
Rulemaking Authority 20.10(3), 97.012(1)-(2), 97.052, 98.015(10)-(12), 98.035(5), 98.045(5) FS. Law Implemented 97.052, 97.053, 98.014, 98.035, 98.045 FS. History–New 3-1-10.