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Statement of EAC Chair Rosemary E. Rodriguez On Florida’s Voter Registration Law PDF  | Print |  Email
By EAC Chair Rosemary Rodriguez   
July 08, 2008
On June 24, a federal trial court upheld the state of Florida’s voter registration verification law, which outlines the requirements that must be met to verify a voter’s identity through the state’s voter registration database.

The Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) requires the chief election official in each state to implement a “single, uniform, official, centralized, interactive computerized statewide voter registration list.” That list is to be “defined, maintained, and administered at the state level” and must contain the “name and registration information of every legally registered voter in the state.”

In 2005, the United States Election Assistance Commission (EAC) issued voluntary guidance to assist the states in implementing the provisions of HAVA relating to statewide voter registration list requirements.

The EAC also contracted with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to further study the implementation of statewide registration lists, including some of the issues that have sparked vigorous debate, such as matching protocols, security and interoperability. An interim report issued earlier this year outlines initiatives that can be implemented now and will make a difference in the November election.


Regardless of the debate over the verification procedures in Florida, I urge states to consider the recommendations put forth in the interim report:
•    Make sure the public is well informed about the state’s voter registration requirements, including the definition of a “completed” voter registration form.
•    Emphasize to the public how important it is that information is legible and complete.
•    Provide human review of all computer indicated removals of a voter from the voter registration list.
•    Develop written procedures for the verification of new voters and the removal of voters from the voter registration list. Share this information with the public.
•    Collect and publish data about how many names were added and how many were removed from the voter registration list.
The purpose of the statewide voter registration lists was to ensure cleaner, more accurate voter registration lists. However, in our efforts to meet this HAVA mandate, I believe we should also take great care to double and triple check not only the eligibility of those who want to register, but also those names the statewide list deems inactive or ineligible.

We anticipate record turnout in November, and we must take great care to remove roadblocks and bureaucratic hurdles that could prevent eligible voters from making their voices heard on Election Day.
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