Facts about the Voter Registration Verification Law (So-called ”No Match” Law)

TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Department of State wants to clarify the rumors regarding the Voter Registration Verification Law (So-called “No Match” Law)

* This law IS NOT new. It 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. DOJ 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.

* This law will not affect the status of already registered voters. The law will apply to all NEW applications received on or after September 8, 2008.

* Obvious errors, including nicknames or typos will be resolved automatically. Every 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. If so, the applicant in placed on the active voter roll. 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 votes a provisional ballot. The person can provide proof up until the 2nd day after the election for the ballot to be counted in the election results.

* 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.

* This law IS NOT unconstitutional. It was first challenged in September 2007. NAACP and the Brennan Center obtained a preliminary injunction in December 2007. On appeal though, the court overturned the injunction in April 2008, finding no violation of federal law. In June 2008, the court rejected the groups’ second attempt to get another injunction, this time finding no violation of constitutional law. Neither NAACP or the Brennan Center appealed the order.

* 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.

* A provisional ballot is always counted when the voter is shown to be registered and eligible, regardless of the closeness of the outcome of the election. A person who votes provisionally simply because he or she forgot ID at the polls will not have to do anything else. If the signatures on that ballot certificate and the voter rolls match, the provisional ballot is counted.

* 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.

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