Over the past several months, we have been receiving a lot of questions about the security of voting systems and potential voter fraud in the upcoming Election Cycle. I greatly appreciate citizens who contact their Supervisor of Elections office to get factual information on the election process and am providing you with answers to many of the questions this office has been receiving:
HOW DO YOU VERIFY VOTERS WHEN THEY REGISTER TO VOTE?
In Florida, as citizens register to vote, their information is entered into the Florida Voter Registration System (FVRS) and is electronically cross-checked and verified with the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and/or the Social Security Administration (SSA) before becoming a verified voter.
Once registered, each county’s voter registration records are electronically cross-checked against the SSA, Department of Health and Vital Statistics, and/or against the Department of Corrections and County Clerk records for felony convictions and for voters who have been adjudicated mentally incapacitated with respect to voting. When it is confirmed that a voter is deceased, has been convicted of a felony or adjudicated mentally incapacitated, they are removed from the voter registration database.
HOW DO YOU VERIFY THAT A VOTER IS WHO THEY CLAIM TO BE WHEN THEY GO TO VOTE?
In Florida, we have a photo and signature identification requirement for voters who vote at early voting sites and their polling place on election day. There are twelve acceptable forms of photo identification from which to choose. If the photo identification presented does not include a signature the voter will be asked to provide an additional form of identification that has their signature.
If a voter does not have proper identification when they go to vote, they will be permitted to vote a provisional ballot and sign a certificate. The provisional ballot is counted if the signature on the certificate matches the signature(s) in the voter’s record.
If a voter’s eligibility cannot be determined when they go to vote they will be permitted to vote a provisional ballot and have until 5 p.m. on the second day after election day to provide evidence of their eligibility. The canvassing board will determine whether to count the ballot based on the evidence presented.
WHAT SHOULD I DO I IF I SUSPECT THAT SOMEONE IS COMMITTING VOTER FRAUD?
Report it to the Florida Division of Elections or the Voter Fraud Hotline at 1-877-868-3737 or contact our office at 850-838-3515
IS THE VOTING EQUIPMENT SUBJECT TO HACKING?
In Florida, elections are programmed on stand-alone computers that are not connected to the internet. In Taylor County, the election is programmed with a password protected system. Additionally, a public logic and accuracy test is performed before early voting begins to ensure all ballots are tabulating accurately and that all types of ballots (early voting, vote by mail, and election day) are reported correctly on the results reports, In Florida, all counties use paper ballots including our voters with disabilities.
DO VOTE-BY-MAIL BALLOTS COUNT WHEN THERE ARE NO CLOSE RACES?
Yes, all ballots cast by eligible voters are tabulated. In fact, early voting and vote-by-mail ballots are the first to be reported on our website immediately after 7 p.m. on election day.
The following are a few reminders to ensure an easy voting experience:
- Make sure your address is current with your Supervisor of Elections. You can review your record on our website (Am I Registered?) or contact our office at 850-838-3515 to verify or update your information.
- Learn about candidates and issues and mark your sample ballot to use as a reference when you vote.
- If voting in person, make sure you have your photo and signature identification with you.
- If voting by mail, make sure that you don’t forget to sign your Voter’s Certificate on the back of your return envelope before returning your ballot, and that your signature is current in your voter record. Ballots must be received in the elections office by 7 p.m. on election day. The USPS recommends that ballots be mailed at least five days before election day to ensure their safe, timely delivery.
Please contact our office at 850-838-3515 or visit our website at www.tayorelectionsfl.gov for more information.
In conclusion, Florida has a very secure voter registration system, election equipment certification process, and voter ID laws to provide for a fair, secure and transparent election process. I cannot speak to what other states have in place to conduct fair, secure and transparent elections in their state, but I am confident in the State of Florida’s system.
Make your voice heard and VOTE !!!