Florida State Summary

October 23, 2014



Florida is improving accessibility at polling places and the training of poll workers, but it should also adopt online voter registration and expand opportunities to vote before Election Day

Unsatisfactory

States should adopt online voter registration (“OLVR”).

No online voter registration.

Unsatisfactory

Interstate exchanges of voter information should be expanded.

Florida opted into Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck (IVRC) for one year in 2013. It is not a member of the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC).

Satisfactory

States should seamlessly integrate voter data acquired through DMVs with their statewide voter registration lists.

Florida has fully implemented electronic voter registration systems with election officials, such that the entire process of sharing information between DMVs and election administrators is digital.

Mixed

Schools should be used as polling places; to address any related security concerns, Election Day should be an in-service day.

Florida does not have statutory language regarding use of schools as polling places, but if the elections supervisor requests the use of public-tax-supported buildings, they must be made available.

Unsatisfactory

States should consider establishing vote centers to achieve economies of scale in polling place management while also facilitating voting at convenient locations.

Florida has neither considered nor adopted legislation establishing vote centers.

Mixed

Jurisdictions should develop models and tools to assist them in effectively allocating resources across polling places.

Florida has no statewide rule in place. However, we encourage jurisdictions to utilize the tools made available by the Commission. In 2012, voters waited an average of 45 minutes in line – unfortunately, the longest wait time in the United States.

Mixed

Jurisdictions should transition to electronic pollbooks.

Some jurisdictions in Florida use electronic pollbooks, but not all do; there is no state-wide mandate.

Satisfactory

Jurisdictions should recruit public and private sector employees, as well as high school and college students, to become poll workers.

Florida has no specific program under state law for youth poll worker programs, but it does allow 16- and 17-year-olds who have pre-registered to vote the opportunity to serve as poll workers. Florida law has an exemplary provision that recommends that election supervisors create programs within their communities to forge public and private partnerships for poll-worker recruitment.

Satisfactory

States should institute poll worker training standards.

Florida has strong statutory language prescribing a uniform state-wide training for poll workers. Although its Secretary of State’s website does not provide any manuals or videos regarding the training, it does specify that the training runs at least two hours. Training materials, moreover, are sent directly to the counties.

Mixed

Election authorities should establish advisory groups for voters with disabilities and for those with limited English proficiency.

No statewide statutory policy in place. We encourage Florida to adopt this recommendation of the Commission.

Satisfactory

States and localities must adopt comprehensive management practices to assure accessible polling places.

Florida uses a DOJ-issued accessibility checklist. Although it does not post accessibility training videos on the Division of Elections’ website, such videos are sent directly to counties.

Satisfactory

States should survey and audit polling places to determine their accessibility.

Florida requires an accessibility checklist to be completed for each polling location prior to an election. Florida’s ADA polling place survey checklist is the most detailed.

Satisfactory

Jurisdictions should provide bilingual poll workers to any polling place with a significant number of voters who do not speak English.

Florida (partially covered by Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act) advertises a voter assistance hotline in Spanish and English on its Division of Elections’ website; previously it made no reference to bilingual poll workers, but its FAQs have been updated to encourage applications from bilingual speakers. We recommend that it accordingly update its statutes.

Unsatisfactory

Jurisdictions should test all election materials for plain language and usability.

No statewide statutory policy in place to test for plain language and usability. However, Florida does require that voter registration application forms “be in plain language.”

Satisfactory

States should expand opportunities to vote before Election Day.

Florida allows early voting and no-fault absentee voting.

Satisfactory

States should provide ballots and registration materials to military and overseas voters via their websites.

A link to the Federal Postcard Application (FPCA) is provided directly on Florida’s website, as is a link to the Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot (FWAB).

N/A

The standard-setting and certification process for voting machines must be reformed.

N/A; a federal question.

Mixed

Audits of voting equipment must be conducted after each election as part of a comprehensive audit program, and data concerning machine performance must be publicly disclosed in a common data format.

Florida requires post-election audits of voting machine equipment and mandates significant public disclosure of the audit results. However, Florida still deploys some voting systems that do not produce a voter-verifiable paper record and, therefore, a manual audit is not fully possible.

Satisfactory

Local jurisdictions should gather and report voting-related transaction data for the purpose of improving the voter experience.

Florida has published the number of registrations received from different agencies and by means of registering – such as from the DMV, whether by mail or online – as well as information on the number of voters who voted early or by mail. The state could do more by way of capturing wait times and frequent polling place problems, but it gets extra points for capturing detailed registration data.

READ: Did We Fix That? 2014 Florida State Summary


Leave a Comment

Take Action

The Supreme Court gutted a key provision of the Voting Rights Act.

Tell Congress to fix the court’s bad decision!

Take action.

Donate

Give Today