Florida Legislative Session Review – Part VI: Elections

There was one major elections bill that passed this year, and it contained a lot of provisions. A few, less extensive bills passed dealing with citizen initiatives.

HB 573 is the major election package. It’s provisions include:

  • requiring voter registration organizations, including political parties, to submit voter registrations in a timely manner;
  • setring the presidential preference primary on the last Tuesday of January and allows cities to move their election to the same day in 2008 (January 28th);
  • allowing Supervisors of Elections to use “ballot on demand” technology at early voting sites;
  • requiring the use of optical scan (“marksense”) systems;
  • require local canvassing board to audit their voting system by hand counting one randomly selected race;
  • providing financial assistance to counties who sell their touch screen systems, but require them to sell through the state;
  • allowing teenagers to pre-register when they obtain their driver’s license;
  • require Supervisors of Elections to verify voter registration information on an application;
  • allowing elected officials in Florida to run for federal office without resigning to run;
  • moving the period for qualifying back from 46-50 days before an election to 67-71 days;
  • making it easier for candidates to run for special district offices;
  • making it easier for candidates in minor parties to run for office, by removing the requirement the party executive committee submit candidates;
  • allowing a voter who signs a petition to revoke his or her signature;
  • removing employer ID and buyers club ID from the list of acceptable forms of identification at polling places;
  • allowing the Governor to appoint ten voters to the state political party executive committee;
  • allowing the chair of a state political party to remove an officer of that party at the state or local level for violation of the oath of office;
  • redefining the value of travel on a private aircraft to be that of a commercial ticket along a similar route;
  • reducing the limit for receiving a cash contribution from $100 to 50;
  • specifying the disclaimer for “three pack” ads;
  • allowing committees of continuous existence and electioneering communications organizations to commission political polls;
  • requiring people submitting an election complaint to have direct personal information;
  • clarifying the procedure for the Florida Elections Commission to investigate the complaint;
  • changing the payout schedule for public campaign finance funds; and
  • requiring write-in candidates to live in the district to which they seek election upon the time of qualification.

Passed 118-0 and 37-2.

SB 900 allows a voter who signs a petition to revoke his or her signature. Passed 27-9 and 96-22.

SB 1920 clarifies the right of the owner of a property has the right to allow or disallow citizen initiative petition gathering. Passed 38-0 and 119-0.


Schedule of Review Posts:

Mon May 21: Public Records/Public Meetings
Thu May 24: Education
Tue May 29: Environment, Growth Management, & Natural Resources
Mon Jun 4: Legal System & Public Safety
Mon Jun 18: Veterans/Military Affairs
Tue Jun 19: Elections
Wed Jun 20: Transportation & Economic Development
Fri Jun 22: Health Care
Mon Jun 25: Insurance (excluding property)
Wed Jun 27: Human & Social Services
Fri Jun 29: Gambling & General Government
Mon Jul 2: Property Insurance & Property Taxes (including the special session legislation)
Tue Jul 3: Miscellaneous Bills not included in previous reviews

About Jim Johnson

Editor and publisher of The State of Sunshine.
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