Questions continue to swirl around Florida election bill SB7050 sponsored by Senator Travis Hutson. Sen. Hutson stated the bill was created by Secretary of State Cord Byrd, the Florida Supervisors of Elections (FSE) and other legislators. Interestingly enough he did not mention any input was adopted from the public or election integrity advocacy groups.
SB7050 contains a clause that allows Gov. DeSantis to run for President while remaining Governor. The clause should have been decoupled from the other election bill provisions that raise questions remaining to be answered or resolved before Gov. DeSantis signs the bill.
While the bill certainly contains some minor election integrity improvements, it also appears to contain provisions that remove transparency and public visibility into the elections process. These provisions seem to be far more damaging than the new improvements the bill provides.
The decrease in transparency is particularly of concern in light of the recent discovery of thousands of blank voted ballots in Broward and other counties for Florida’s last major election. These generated an unbelievable 10% or more blank ballots cast as previously reported.
At a minimum, the voters of Florida deserve concrete answers to the following questions about SB 7050:
Why is the requirement for a voter to return an address confirmation request being eliminated? (See line 328)
Why does the bill eliminate sending an address confirmation final notice when there is no response from a voter to an address confirmation request? (See line 301)
Why is duplicate registration data received from another state or entity so confidential that it should not be subject to Florida Open Government Sunset Review Act? (See line 347)
Why is there no longer a requirement to produce voting history within 30 days after election certification? (See line 817)
How can voter secrecy be fragile that the systems must falsely report the votes by ballot type as zero when there are less than 30 voters for the ballot? (See line 949)
Why are the voter’s precinct, unique identifier and voting type being eliminated from legislative report requirements? Why are general specifications for the report being eliminated? (See Line 845)
The bill requires transmission of some of the above Legislative Report data but that does not necessarily make it publicly accessible. Although technical specifications can logically be removed to rule much of the business specifications needed for election verification are at risk of being eliminated.
These are just some examples of bill changes that do not appear to be in the best interest of the public. While they may be legitimate explanations for some of these examples, together they paint a picture of a nefarious attempt to hide future errors and fraud. In light of our recent reporting on the Miami Dade’s reluctance to comply with reporting requests, the people of Florida have reason to be concerned.
We have included a link to the bill in this article and some sample text below so voters can make their own decision.
(c) If an address confirmation request required by paragraph (2)(b) is returned as undeliverable without indication of an address change,
or there is no response from the voter within 30 days, or if any other nonforwardable return if-undeliverable mail is returned as undeliverable with no indication of an address change, the supervisor must send an address confirmation final notice to all addresses on file for the voter. indication of an address change, the supervisor must send an address confirmation final notice to all addresses on file for the voter .
98.0655 Registration list maintenance forms.—The department shall prescribe registration list maintenance forms to be used by the supervisors which must include:
(1) An address confirmation request that must contain:
If the address confirmation request is required by s. 329 98.065(2)(a), a statement that if the voter has not changed his or her legal residence or has changed his or her legal residence within the state, the voter should return the form within 30 days after the date on which the notice was sent to the voter;
c) Information received by the department from another state or the District of Columbia upon the department becoming a member of a nongovernmental entity as provided in subparagraph
(b)1., which is confidential or exempt pursuant to the laws of that state or the District of Columbia, is exempt from s. 119.07(1) and s. 24(a), Art. I of the State Constitution. The department shall provide such information to the supervisors to conduct registration list maintenance activities.
This paragraph is subject to the Open Government Sunset Review Act in accordance with s. 119.15 and shall stand repealed on October 2, 2023, unless reviewed and saved from repeal through reenactment by the Legislature.
(b) Voting history.—For each
Within 30 days after certification by the Elections Canvassing Commission of a presidential preference primary, special election, special primary election, primary election, or general election, as applicable, supervisors of elections shall transmit completely updated voting history information for each qualified voter to the department. Such information must be provided, in a uniform electronic format pursuant to file specifications adopted by the department by rule. The voting history information must include: specified in paragraph (d), completely updated voting history information for each qualified voter who vote
(2)(b) LEGISLATIVE REPORT.—
After receipt of the information in paragraph (a), The department shall prepare an election summary compiled for a presidential preference primary election, special primary election, special election, primary election, or general election, as applicable, a report in an electronic format which contains the following information, separately compiled for the primary and general election for all voters qualified to vote in either election:
1. The voting history information as transmitted under paragraph (1)(b) and the precinct boundaries as transmitted under paragraph (1)(c).
unique identifier assigned to each qualified voter within the statewide voter registration system;
2. All information provided by each qualified voter on his or her voter registration application pursuant to s. 97.052(2), except that which is confidential or exempt from public records requirements.;
3. Each qualified voter’s date of registration.;
4. Each qualified voter’s
current state representative district, state senatorial district, and congressional district, county commission district, and school board district at the time of voting, assigned by the supervisor of elections; 5. Each qualified voter’s current precinct; and 6. Voting history as transmitted under paragraph (a) to include whether the qualified voter voted at a precinct location, voted during the early voting period, voted by vote by-mail ballot, attempted to vote by vote-by-mail ballot that was not counted, attempted to vote by provisional ballot that was not counted, or did not vote.
(b)(c) Submission.—Within 60 days after
certification by the Elections Canvassing Commission certifies a presidential preference primary, special election, primary election, or general election, the department shall submit to the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Senate Minority Leader, and the House Minority Leader an election summary report in electronic format that includes all information set forth in paragraph (a)
(d) File specifications are as follows: 1. The file shall contain records designated by the categories below for all qualified voters who, regardless of the voter’s county of residence or active or inactive registration status at the book closing for the corresponding election that the file is being created for: a. Voted a regular ballot at a precinct location. b. Voted at a precinct location using a provisional ballot that was subsequently counted. c. Voted a regular ballot during the early voting period. d. Voted during the early voting period using a provisional ballot that was subsequently counted. e. Voted by vote-by-mail ballot. f. Attempted to vote by vote-by-mail ballot, but the ballot was not counted. g. Attempted to vote by provisional ballot, but the ballot was not counted in that election. 2. Each file shall be created or converted into a tab901 delimited format. 3. File names shall adhere to the following convention: a. Three-character county identifier as established by the department followed by an underscore. b. Followed by four-character file type identifier of “VHO3” followed by an underscore. c. Followed by FVRS election ID followed by an underscore. d. Followed by Date Created followed by an underscore. e. Date format is YYYYMMDD. f. Followed by Time Created - HHMMSS. g. Followed by “.txt”. 4. Each record shall contain the following columns: Record Identifier, FVRS Voter ID Number, FVRS Election ID Number, Vote Date, Vote History Code, Precinct, Congressional District, House District, Senate District, County Commission District, and School Board District. (e) Each supervisor of elections shall reconcile, before submission, the aggregate total of ballots cast in each precinct as reported in the precinct-level election results to the aggregate total number of voters with voter history for the election for each district. (f) Each supervisor of elections shall submit the results of the data reconciliation as described in paragraph (e) to the department in an electronic format and give a written explanation for any precincts where the reconciliation as described in paragraph (e) results in a discrepancy between the voter history and the election results.
When one or more ballot types, also known as counting groups, in a race or an issue have fewer than 30 voters voting on the ballot, the ballot type must be reported as zero except for the total votes counting group for that precinct.
Ballot types or counting groups include election day, early voting, vote-by-mail, provisional voting, and total votes
However, ballot type or precinct subtotals in a race or question having fewer than 30 voters voting on the ballot type or in the precinct may not be reported in p recinct results