The Benefits of Mail/Absentee Voting
For the 2012 General Election, more than ever before Supervisors of Elections across the state are encouraging voters to vote by mail/absentee. Absentee voting is no longer just for voters who will be out of town during an election. It is ideal for those who prefer to vote in the comfort of their own home, or wherever they are located throughout the world, where they can read the ballot at their own pace.
This can be especially helpful during the upcoming election. With high turnouts expected, and multi-page ballots (including over 2,600 words for the state constitutional amendments), voters who vote absentee will be able to spend all the time they desire to research the issues and avoid the long lines that may occur at polling places.
Every valid absentee ballot will be counted, no matter how close a contest might be. To ensure that an absentee ballot is legally valid, Elections offices verify that the voter’s signature on the ballot return envelope matches the voter’s signature on record from their voter registration form.
Voters who wish to vote absentee have until October 31 to request a ballot be sent to them via mail. After that date, voters can pick up their ballot after requesting one from their local Supervisor of Elections office. All voted absentee ballots must be returned to the voter’s local Elections office by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day, November 6th.
Florida’s Non-Citizen Voter Purge - Fall 2012
A hot issue in election news this year has been the “non-citizen voter purge” effort in Florida. As county Supervisors of Elections, we agree that clean voter rolls are critical, and just as important we agree that the processes used to update the rolls must be accurate and protect voters’ rights.
For more information on how county elections offices are responding to the issue in general, we invite you to review the memos on our public policy page. We have also provided a sampling of articles from around the web (see below). For details on your county’s process, contact your local Supervisor of Elections.
Florida Redistricting - Summer 2012
Every 10 years, following a census, Florida redraws its political boundary lines in response to population changes. This process, known as “redistricting”, determines representation in the state legislature.
NEWS UPDATE: On April 30, 2012 the U.S. Department of Justice approved State House, Senate, and Congressional redistricting plans. Local Supervisors of Elections can now begin implementing the new districts.
New District Maps and Details
To learn more about the 2011-2012 redistricting process, visit FloridaRedistricting.Org.
Additional reading materials:
Redistricting Time Line 2011-2012 John Guthrie, Florida Senate Committee on Reapportionment (01/12/11)
Redistricting Local Governments in Florida - 2011 Cindy Laquidara, General Counsel, City of Jacksonville (01/12/11)
Five counties in Florida – Hillsborough, Monroe, Collier, Hardee, and Hendry – are “preclearance” counties, meaning election changes cannot be implemented without federal approval. This process, set by the national Voting Rights Act, aims to prevent discrimination in voting.
This March, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) cleared one of four remaining aspects of the new election law passed by the Florida legislature in 2011. The approved provision, which will now be implemented statewide, reduces the shelf life of voters' signatures from four years to two on petitions seeking Florida constitutional amendments. Additionally, each person who signs a petition must provide their home address.
Three provisions are still under review by federal judges:
The DOJ recently filed court papers asserting that these provisions do not protect from voting discrimination. Florida’s Department of State expressed confidence that the law was non-discriminatory and would be approved.
If the provisions are not approved before Florida’s August 14th Primary, the five preclearance counties will conduct that election under the old law .For more information, visit the DOJ Voting Section and the Florida Department of State.
New Supervisors of Elections - 2008 Elections