Florida 2011 Election Laws in the News and Voter Information 2012
Are you aware that there are Primary elections to be held August 14, 2012, as well as Presidential elections on November 6, 2012? Get ready for them now!
Why? Because this year Floridian voters will likely witness significant developments in where, when, and how they can vote. The Florida Legislature passed new voter laws in 2011– Title IX, Ch. 97-107/Electors and Elections. View this statute at On-line Sunshine — where all laws and statutes passed by the Florida Legislature since 1997 may be found.
*Are you a citizen who has registered to vote, but have not voted for a while and don’t know where your precinct is?
*Are you registered to vote, but uncertain if your district may be re-districted and altered later this year?
Florida has now completed its electoral re-districting and those districts have been pre-cleared by the U.S. Department of Justice. Maps can be viewed at FloridaRedistricting.org. Palm Beach County, as well as other South Florida county voting districts have changed significantly since 2010 — locally, state-wide, and congressionally. There are lots of new maps, but I found helpful “Maps and Block Equivalencies for New Congressional and Legislative Districts” — this is being provided to Supervisors of Elections across the state.
I did this because my neighborhood in Lantana has now been re-districted for congressional and state-wide elections. Confirm for yourself your districts, and get a sense of how they have been re-drawn. (Napoleon supposedly claimed that geography was destiny, but he may have not have been able to foresee that modern election maps can and do change from time to time). My district is likely to have different candidates to vote for in all the races than in 2010.
The Town of Lantana also maintains a local municipal elections page, as Lantana has five elected officials — see www.lantana.org.
*Are you a U.S. citizen unsure of how to register to vote in Palm Beach County?
Register directly with the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections or register with the help of one of the State of Florida’s registered third party voter registration organizations. The State of Florida’s list of these third party organizations is available on the State of Florida Department of State Division of Elections website.
*Are you a citizen wanting to change your address, name, or party affiliation in Palm Beach County?
You can do all of these, but only in advance; see the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Voter F.A.Q. page.
*Are you registered to vote in Palm Beach County, but are wondering if your name may be on a purge list?
Contact the County Supervisor for more information. Voters who had been identified as ineligible by the State are supposed to receive advance notification and be given the opportunity to produce proof of eligibility to Supervisors.
Courtesy of the Florida Division of Elections, voters can look up their voter registration status in Florida. (Note: I initially checked twice and was not successful at retrieving my status. When I entered my information (name and birthdate), I had to type in some additional script to verify that I was a live person and not a spammer. On my third attempt, I was able to retrieve my voter status. My advice to users — try this lookup feature a couple of times, slowly and carefully.)
In addition, I was able to find out if my absentee ballot status and also the location of my precinct where I can go to vote.
*Are you registered to vote, but prefer to vote early and are unsure when the early voting period ends? *Are you registered to vote by absentee ballot, but are unsure of your status?
See again the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections website on Election Information or the State Division of Elections on Early Voting, as the early voting window has also been shortened in Florida with the new 2011 law.
More updates and links will be provided as the elections near. Local newspapers will also publish election guides — be sure to watch for them.
The U.S. Department of Justice issued a warning to Florida to halt purge efforts, claiming the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the 1993 National Voter Registration Act (NRVA) are being violated. (See Reuters article of June 2, 2012, “Florida Weighs Warning Against Voter Purge“.)
Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher recently halted completion of purge efforts, as did other County Supervisors. (See “Governor Rick Scott’s voter purge on hold” in the Sun Sentinel, June 1, 2012, and Ignored by Obama DHS: Florida’s Request for Citizenship Database to Review Voting Lists” by Jim Turner, Sunshine State News, June 1, 2012)
Note: All 67 County Supervisors of Elections in Florida suspended purge efforts. See the Palm Beach Post article of June 2, 2012, Voter Purge Gets pushback from elections supervisors, U.S. Justice.
Update on 6/24/2012:
Note: Lawsuits filed against Florida and the Federal Government. See the Palm Beach Post article of June 11, 2012, Feds, Florida in Dueling Lawsuits over Voter Purge.
Update on 8/13/2012
Apparently the State has still been unable to access the Department of Homeland Security’s SAVE database while it continues to purge ineligible voters from its rolls, according to Sunshine State News on August 9, 2012: Florida Still Can’t Access DHS Citizenship Database.