Florida Senate - 2010 SB 2486
By Senator Storms
1 A bill to be entitled
2 An act relating to elections; amending s. 97.052,
3 F.S.; requiring that the federal write-in absentee
4 ballot be accepted as an application for voter
5 registration when it contains information required by
6 the constitution and laws of the state; amending s.
7 101.6103, F.S.; requiring the counting of absentee
8 ballots cast by overseas voters in a mail ballot
9 election if received within 10 days after the election
10 and legal; amending s. 101.65, F.S.; revising the
11 printed instructions that accompany an absentee
12 ballot; amending s. 101.67, F.S.; conforming
13 provisions relating to when an absentee ballot must be
14 received to be counted; amending s. 101.6923, F.S.;
15 revising the printed instructions that accompany
16 special absentee ballots for certain first-time
17 voters; amending s. 101.6925, F.S.; requiring the
18 counting of a special absentee ballot cast by an
19 overseas voter if received within 10 days after an
20 election and legal; amending s. 101.694, F.S.;
21 providing for the processing or mailing of an absentee
22 ballot upon receipt of a federal write-in absentee
23 ballot; amending s. 101.6952, F.S.; requiring the
24 supervisor of elections to e-mail ballots and
25 balloting materials to certain absent voters;
26 permitting the use of the federal write-in absentee
27 ballot by overseas voters in any federal, state, or
28 local election; authorizing the use of facsimile
29 transmission or e-mail delivery if offered by the
30 voter’s jurisdiction; creating s. 101.6956, F.S.;
31 requiring the counting of absentee ballots cast by
32 overseas voters if received within 10 days after an
33 election and legal; amending s. 101.697, F.S.;
34 removing provisions requiring the Department of State
35 to make a determination regarding secure electronic
36 ballots from overseas voters; requiring the department
37 to adopt rules governing the acceptance of absentee
38 ballots from uniformed services voters and the use of
39 electronic mail; amending s. 102.112, F.S.; revising
40 the deadline for submission of county returns for a
41 primary election to the Department of State; providing
42 an effective date.
44 Be It Enacted by the Legislature of the State of Florida:
46 Section 1. Subsection (5) of section 97.052, Florida
47 Statutes, is amended to read:
48 97.052 Uniform statewide voter registration application.—
49 (5) The voter registration application form prescribed by
50 the Election Assistance Commission pursuant to federal law,
51 the federal postcard application, or the federal write-in
52 absentee ballot must be accepted as an application for
53 registration in this state if the completed application, federal
54 or postcard application, or federal write-in absentee ballot
55 contains the information required by the constitution and laws
56 of this state.
57 Section 2. Subsection (7) of section 101.6103, Florida
58 Statutes, is amended to read:
59 101.6103 Mail ballot election procedure.—
60 (7) With respect to absent electors overseas entitled to
61 vote in the election, the supervisor of elections shall mail an
62 official ballot with a secrecy envelope, a return mailing
63 envelope, and instructions sufficient to describe the voting
64 process to each such elector on a date sufficient to allow such
65 elector time to vote in the election and to have his or her
66 marked ballot reach the supervisor by 7 p.m. on the day of the
67 election. However, a ballot cast by an overseas voter shall be
68 counted if the ballot is received within 10 days after the date
69 of the election, is postmarked or signed and dated no later than
70 the date of the election, and is legal.
71 Section 3. Section 101.65, Florida Statutes, is amended to
73 101.65 Instructions to absent electors.—The supervisor
74 shall enclose with each absentee ballot separate printed
75 instructions in substantially the following form:
77 READ THESE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY BEFORE MARKING BALLOT.
78 1. VERY IMPORTANT. In order to ensure that your absentee
79 ballot will be counted, it should be completed and returned as
80 soon as possible so that it can reach the supervisor of
81 elections of the county in which your precinct is located no
82 later than 7 p.m. on the day of the election.
83 2. Mark your ballot in secret as instructed on the ballot.
84 You must mark your own ballot unless you are unable to do so
85 because of blindness, disability, or inability to read or write.
86 3. Mark only the number of candidates or issue choices for
87 a race as indicated on the ballot. If you are allowed to “Vote
88 for One” candidate and you vote for more than one candidate,
89 your vote in that race will not be counted.
90 4. Place your marked ballot in the enclosed secrecy
92 5. Insert the secrecy envelope into the enclosed mailing
93 envelope which is addressed to the supervisor.
94 6. Seal the mailing envelope and completely fill out the
95 Voter’s Certificate on the back of the mailing envelope.
96 7. VERY IMPORTANT. In order for your absentee ballot to be
97 counted, you must sign your name on the line above (Voter’s
99 8. VERY IMPORTANT. If you are an overseas voter, you must
100 include the date you signed the Voter’s Certificate on the line
101 above (Date) or your ballot may not be counted. An absentee
102 ballot cast by an overseas voter shall be counted if the ballot
103 is received within 10 days after the date of the election, is
104 postmarked or signed and dated no later than the date of the
105 election, and is legal.
106 9. Mail, deliver, or have delivered the completed mailing
107 envelope. Be sure there is sufficient postage if mailed.
108 10. FELONY NOTICE. It is a felony under Florida law to
109 accept any gift, payment, or gratuity in exchange for your vote
110 for a candidate. It is also a felony under Florida law to vote
111 in an election using a false identity or false address, or under
112 any other circumstances making your ballot false or fraudulent.
113 Section 4. Section 101.67, Florida Statutes, is amended to
115 101.67 Safekeeping of mailed ballots; deadline for
116 receiving absentee ballots.—
117 (1) The supervisor of elections shall safely keep in his or
118 her office any envelopes received containing marked ballots of
119 absent electors, and he or she shall, before the canvassing of
120 the election returns, deliver the envelopes to the county
121 canvassing board along with his or her file or list kept
122 regarding such said ballots.
123 (2) Except as otherwise provided in s. 101.6956, all marked
124 absent electors’ ballots to be counted must be received by the
125 supervisor by 7 p.m. the day of the election. All ballots
126 received after the applicable deadline thereafter shall be
127 marked with the time and date of receipt and filed in the
128 supervisor’s office.
129 Section 5. Subsection (2) of section 101.6923, Florida
130 Statutes, is amended to read:
131 101.6923 Special absentee ballot instructions for certain
132 first-time voters.—
133 (2) A voter covered by this section shall be provided with
134 printed instructions with his or her absentee ballot in
135 substantially the following form:
137 READ THESE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY BEFORE MARKING YOUR BALLOT.
138 FAILURE TO FOLLOW THESE INSTRUCTIONS MAY CAUSE YOUR BALLOT NOT
139 TO COUNT.
141 1. In order to ensure that your absentee ballot will be
142 counted, it should be completed and returned as soon as possible
143 so that it can reach the supervisor of elections of the county
144 in which your precinct is located no later than 7 p.m. on the
145 date of the election.
146 2. Mark your ballot in secret as instructed on the ballot.
147 You must mark your own ballot unless you are unable to do so
148 because of blindness, disability, or inability to read or write.
149 3. Mark only the number of candidates or issue choices for
150 a race as indicated on the ballot. If you are allowed to “Vote
151 for One” candidate and you vote for more than one, your vote in
152 that race will not be counted.
153 4. Place your marked ballot in the enclosed secrecy
154 envelope and seal the envelope.
155 5. Insert the secrecy envelope into the enclosed envelope
156 bearing the Voter’s Certificate. Seal the envelope and
157 completely fill out the Voter’s Certificate on the back of the
159 a. You must sign your name on the line above (Voter’s
161 b. If you are an overseas voter, you must include the date
162 you signed the Voter’s Certificate on the line above (Date) or
163 your ballot may not be counted. An absentee ballot cast by an
164 overseas voter shall be counted if the ballot is received within
165 10 days after the date of the election, is postmarked or signed
166 and dated no later than the date of the election, and is legal.
167 6. Unless you meet one of the exemptions in Item 7., you
168 must make a copy of one of the following forms of
170 a. Identification which must include your name and
171 photograph: United States passport; debit or credit card;
172 military identification; student identification; retirement
173 center identification; neighborhood association identification;
174 or public assistance identification; or
175 b. Identification which shows your name and current
176 residence address: current utility bill, bank statement,
177 government check, paycheck, or government document (excluding
178 voter identification card).
179 7. The identification requirements of Item 6. do not apply
180 if you meet one of the following requirements:
181 a. You are 65 years of age or older.
182 b. You have a temporary or permanent physical disability.
183 c. You are a member of a uniformed service on active duty
184 who, by reason of such active duty, will be absent from the
185 county on election day.
186 d. You are a member of the Merchant Marine who, by reason
187 of service in the Merchant Marine, will be absent from the
188 county on election day.
189 e. You are the spouse or dependent of a member referred to
190 in paragraph c. or paragraph d. who, by reason of the active
191 duty or service of the member, will be absent from the county on
192 election day.
193 f. You are currently residing outside the United States.
194 8. Place the envelope bearing the Voter’s Certificate into
195 the mailing envelope addressed to the supervisor. Insert a copy
196 of your identification in the mailing envelope. DO NOT PUT YOUR
197 IDENTIFICATION INSIDE THE SECRECY ENVELOPE WITH THE BALLOT OR
198 INSIDE THE ENVELOPE WHICH BEARS THE VOTER’S CERTIFICATE OR YOUR
199 BALLOT WILL NOT COUNT.
200 9. Mail, deliver, or have delivered the completed mailing
201 envelope. Be sure there is sufficient postage if mailed.
202 10. FELONY NOTICE. It is a felony under Florida law to
203 accept any gift, payment, or gratuity in exchange for your vote
204 for a candidate. It is also a felony under Florida law to vote
205 in an election using a false identity or false address, or under
206 any other circumstances making your ballot false or fraudulent.
207 Section 6. Subsection (3) of section 101.6925, Florida
208 Statutes, is amended to read:
209 101.6925 Canvassing special absentee ballots.—
210 (3) If the identification is not enclosed in the mailing
211 envelope and the voter has not indicated that he or she is
212 exempt from the identification requirements, the supervisor
213 shall check the voter registration records to determine if the
214 voter’s identification was previously received or the voter had
215 previously notified the supervisor that he or she was exempt.
216 The envelope with the Voter’s Certificate shall not be opened
217 unless the identification has been received or the voter has
218 indicated that he or she is exempt. The ballot shall be treated
219 as a provisional ballot until 7 p.m. on election day and shall
220 not be canvassed unless the supervisor has received the required
221 identification or written indication of exemption by 7 p.m. on
222 election day. However, an absentee ballot cast by an overseas
223 voter shall be counted if the ballot is received within 10 days
224 after the date of the election, is postmarked or signed and
225 dated no later than the date of the election, and is legal.
226 Section 7. Section 101.694, Florida Statutes, is amended to
228 101.694 Mailing or processing of absentee ballots upon
229 receipt of federal postcard application or federal write-in
230 absentee ballot.—
231 (1) Upon receipt of a federal postcard application for an
232 absentee ballot executed by a person whose registration is in
233 order or whose application is sufficient to register or update
234 the registration of that person, the supervisor shall mail to
235 the applicant a ballot, if the ballots are available for
236 mailing. The federal postcard application request for an
237 absentee ballot shall be effective for all elections through the
238 next two regularly scheduled general elections.
239 (2) Upon receipt of a federal write-in absentee ballot
240 executed by a person whose registration is in order or whose
241 information on the form is sufficient to register or update the
242 registration of that person, the supervisor shall consider the
243 ballot as an absentee ballot request and, if voted, process the
244 ballot pursuant to s. 101.67(1). If the federal write-in
245 absentee ballot received isn’t voted, the supervisor shall mail
246 to the applicant an absentee ballot, if the ballots are
247 available for mailing.
248 (3) (2) Upon receipt of a federal postcard application for
249 an absentee ballot or a federal write-in absentee ballot
250 executed by a person whose registration is not in order and
251 whose application is insufficient to register or update the
252 registration of that person, the supervisor shall follow the
253 procedure set forth in s. 97.073.
254 (4) (3) Absentee envelopes printed for voters entitled to
255 vote absentee under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee
256 Voting Act shall meet the specifications as determined by the
257 Federal Voting Assistance Program of the United States
258 Department of Defense and the United States Postal Service.
259 (5) (4) Cognizance shall be taken of the fact that absentee
260 ballots and other materials such as instructions and envelopes
261 are to be carried via air mail, and, to the maximum extent
262 possible, such ballots and materials shall be reduced in size
263 and weight of paper. The same ballot shall be used, however, as
264 is used by other absentee voters.
265 Section 8. Section 101.6952, Florida Statutes, is amended
266 to read:
267 101.6952 Absentee ballots for overseas voters.—
268 (1) If an overseas voter’s request for an absentee ballot
269 includes an e-mail address, the supervisor of elections shall
270 inform the voter of the names of candidates who will be on the
271 ballots via electronic transmission. The supervisor of elections
272 shall e-mail to the voter ballots and balloting materials the
273 list of candidates for the primary and general election not
274 later than 30 days before each election.
275 (2) A voter who is entitled to vote absentee under the
276 Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act may use the
277 federal write-in absentee ballot in any federal, state, or local
278 election for which the voter is entitled to vote. The voter may
279 choose facsimile transmission or e-mail delivery if offered by
280 the voter’s jurisdiction. The supervisor of elections shall
281 transmit ballots and balloting materials to the voter using the
282 electronic means that the voter has chosen.
283 (3) (2) For absentee ballots received from overseas voters,
284 there is a presumption that the envelope was mailed on the date
285 stated on the outside of the return envelope, regardless of the
286 absence of a postmark on the mailed envelope or the existence of
287 a postmark date that is later than the date of the election.
288 Section 9. Section 101.6956, Florida Statutes, is created
289 to read:
290 101.6956 Receipt and counting of absentee ballots of
291 overseas voters.—An absentee ballot cast by an overseas voter
292 which is postmarked or signed and dated no later than the date
293 of the applicable federal, state, or local election shall be
294 counted if received within 10 days after the date of the
295 election and legal.
296 Section 10. Section 101.697, Florida Statutes, is amended
297 to read:
298 101.697 Electronic transmission of election materials.—The
299 Department of State shall determine whether secure electronic
300 means can be established for receiving ballots from overseas
301 voters. If such security can be established, the department
302 shall adopt rules to authorize a supervisor of elections to
303 accept from a uniformed services voter or an overseas voter a
304 request for an absentee ballot and or a voted absentee ballot by
305 secure facsimile machine transmission, electronic mail, or other
306 secure electronic means. The rules must provide that in order to
307 accept a voted ballot, the verification of the voter must be
308 established, the security of the transmission must be
309 established, and each ballot received must be recorded.
310 Section 11. Subsection (2) of section 102.112, Florida
311 Statutes, is amended to read:
312 102.112 Deadline for submission of county returns to the
313 Department of State.—
314 (2) Returns must be filed by 5 p.m. on the 11th 7th day
315 following a primary election and by noon on the 12th day
316 following the general election. However, the Department of State
317 may correct typographical errors, including the transposition of
318 numbers, in any returns submitted to the Department of State
319 pursuant to s. 102.111(1).
320 Section 12. This act shall take effect July 1, 2010.