By Janet Adkins
The Nassau County Supervisor of Elections Office is committed to safe, secure, and accurate elections. We are blessed in Nassau County to have competent staff who collectively have over 80 years of election experience.
Data integrity is key. We understand that election security is based on a foundation of clean voter rolls. In 2021 and early 2022, we removed nearly 2,500 voters who were identified in ERIC as voters who had moved out of Nassau County. We also completed over 1,700 updates using the USPS National Change of Address.
While this is a good start, we acknowledge that list maintenance work is never done. Every day, our staff are updating voter records to reflect deaths, address changes, party changes, and to process potentially ineligible voters. In the election world, voters can be active, inactive, or ineligible.
Inactive voters are defined in FS 98.065. It states that we must designate as inactive all voters who have been sent an address confirmation final notice and who have not returned the postage prepaid, preaddressed return form within 30 days or for which the final notice has been returned as undeliverable.
A voter on the inactive list may be restored to the active list of voters upon the voter updating his or her registration, requesting a vote-by-mail ballot, or appearing in person to vote. However, if the voter does not update his or her voter registration information, request a vote-by-mail ballot, or vote by the second general election after being placed on the inactive list, the voter’s name shall be removed from the statewide voter registration system and the voter shall be required to reregister
to have his or her name restored to the statewide voter registration system.
Ineligible voters are defined in FS 98.075 and include deceased persons, registered voters who have been adjudicated mentally incapacitated with respect to voting and who have not had their voting rights restored, registered voters who have been convicted of a felony and whose voting rights have not been restored, voters who do not meet the age requirement pursuant to FS 97.041, an individual who is not a United States citizen, is a fictitious person, or has listed a residence that is not his or her legal residence.
While we know that our work is never done, I would ask that anyone who has the “3,700 challenged voter registrations” share this information with our office. Please note that to protect the security of our information technology systems, we do not open files received via email. We kindly ask that this information be given to us in paper form.
The reality is that while FS 97.1031 requires voters to notify their Elections Office when they relocate outside of Florida, very few voters comply. We are grateful when they do; but we are equally grateful for tools that enable us to conduct voter list maintenance when they do not.
ERIC (Electronic Registration Information Center) is a database for sharing voter information. Florida’s membership in ERIC is permitted under Florida Statute 98.075(2), which authorizes membership in a nongovernmental entity whose sole purpose is to share and exchange information in order to verify voter registration information. It requires that membership of the nongovernmental entity must be composed solely of election officials of state governments or the District of Columbia.
This statute allows the Department of State to share confidential and exempt information after becoming a member of a nongovernmental entity.
I have heard concerns that health information is shared with ERIC. According to FS 98.075, this would be a violation of law in Florida. The statute directs, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, pursuant to a written agreement with the department, to provide driver license or identification card information to the Department of State for the purpose of sharing and exchanging voter registration information with the nongovernmental entity. There is no provision for sharing health information.
Readers may also find it of interest to know that Florida Statutes require the sharing of confidential information between agencies. Specifically, FS 98.093 directs the Department of Health to furnish to the Department of State monthly a list containing the name, address, date of birth, date of death, social security number, race, and sex of each deceased person 17 years of age or older.
This statute also requires each clerk of the circuit court to furnish monthly to the Department of State a list of those persons who have been adjudicated mentally incapacitated with respect to voting during the preceding calendar month, a list of those persons whose mental capacity with respect to voting has been restored during the preceding calendar month, and a list of those persons who have
returned signed jury notices during the preceding month to the clerk of the circuit court indicating a change of address. Each list shall include the name, address, date of birth, race, sex, and, whichever is available, the Florida driver license number, Florida identification card number, or social security number of each such person.
For individuals with a drivers license, it is important to note that the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is required to furnish monthly to the Department of State a list of those persons whose names have been removed from the driver license database because they have been licensed in another state. The list shall contain the name, address, date of birth, sex, social security number,
and driver license number of each such person.
Many Elections Offices, like Nassau County, have access to the DAVID system. DAVID is the Driver And Vehicle Information Database used by Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and contains personal information including the last four digits of the social security number. Security protocols are in place which require specialized training before access to the database is granted. In the Nassau County Elections Office, each query is documented on a log identifying the date, staff
member and reason for the query. Audits are performed quarterly.
Supervised voting is governed by FS 101.655 which allows the supervisor, in cooperation with the facility administrator, to select a date and time when the supervised voting will occur. Written requests for supervised voting must be made no later than 28 days prior to the election As such, we are unable to fulfil requests for a full list of the assisted living and nursing homes that have requested supervised voting, nor a specific scheduled date for voting as this information has not been finalized.
Finally, FS 101.69 specifies the location of secure ballot intake stations (formerly referred to as drop boxes). This statute mandates that secure ballot intake stations be located at all early voting locations during the hours of early voting AND that they be monitored in person.
Secure ballot intake stations shall be placed at
- the main office of the supervisor,
2. at each permanent branch office of the supervisor,
3. and at each early voting site.
Additional restrictions related to secure ballot intake stations include:
- Secure ballot intake stations may also be placed at any other site that would otherwise qualify as an early voting site under FS 101.657(1).
2. Secure ballot intake stations must be geographically located so as to provide all voters in the county with an equal opportunity to cast a ballot, insofar as is practicable.
3. Except for secure ballot intake stations at an office of the supervisor, a secure ballot intake station may only be used during the county’s early voting hours of operation and must be monitored in person by an employee of the supervisor’s office.
4. A secure ballot intake station at an office of the supervisor must be continuously monitored in person by an employee of the supervisor’s office when the secure ballot intake station is accessible for deposit of ballots.
While Florida Statutes are silent regarding surveillance cameras on secure ballot intake stations; FS 102.031 prohibits photography inside a polling location, except for photographing one’s own ballot.
Please know that the Nassau County Elections Team is working hard to ensure that our election is safe, secure, and accurate. We mailed vote-by-mail ballots to our military and overseas voters on July 5 and plan to mail ballots to domestic voters on July 14. Vote-by-mail envelopes will look different this year as we are working to protect voter signatures. You can scan the QR code on your vote-by-mail secrecy sleeve to view a video on how to return your ballot.
We will also mail each Nassau County registered voter a sample ballot on July 14. If you would like to come to our office to receive your ballot, July 14 is the first day that this service is available.
Our website is updated weekly and now you can download our new mobile app. With your Apple iPhone, enter “Vote Nassau FL” and you will find the first elections mobile app in Florida. With this app, you will be able to update your voter registration, review candidate information and learn the wait times at your polling location.
We encourage all Nassau County voters to get election ready: download the app, update your signature, and verify your address. Please visit www.VoteNassauFL.gov to learn about other important election news.
Janet Adkins is the Nassau County, FL Supervisor of Elections- read MORE