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ACLU and Advancement Project Issue Guide to Florida’s “No Match” Laws PDF  | Print |  Email
By ACLU and Advancement Project   
September 29, 2008
View Questions and Answers About Florida's "No Match" Law

The American Civil Liberties Union of Florida and the Washington, D.C.-based Advancement Project today issued a guide to Florida’s “no match” law. The guide, written in question and answer format, will be distributed throughout Florida, and can be downloaded from the ACLU website.

Secretary of State Kurt Browning began enforcing Florida’s “no match” law on September 8. Since then, rumors misstating the impact of the law have been swirling.

“The Secretary of State’s decision to implement this law on the eve of the election, and less than a month before the voter registration deadline, has resulted in widespread and unnecessary confusion.” said Muslima Lewis, Director of the ACLU of Florida’s Voting Rights Project. “Further, the ‘no match’ law unnecessarily prevents thousands of eligible Floridians from being registered to vote. Proponents of the law now argue that the law is necessary to prevent voter fraud, but this argument is specious and unfounded since there is virtually no evidence of voter fraud in Florida.”

The law at issue bars any Florida citizen from voting a regular ballot (as opposed to a provisional ballot) if the state cannot validate the citizen’s driver’s license or Social Security number at the time of registration, no matter how much identification the voter is able to bring to the polls. The process starts with an attempt to “match” voter information to other government databases, a practice for which the Social Security Administration reports a 46% failure rate. In Florida NAACP vs. Browning, the lawsuit brought by voter registration groups to challenge this law, state officials admitted that typographical errors by government workers are often responsible for the failures.

“The most senseless part is that the state creates these errors, and then makes it unnecessarily hard to fix the problem,” said Elizabeth Westfall of Advancement Project, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs. “You can’t show a passport. You can’t show a military ID. And though you can show your driver’s license itself, it doesn’t count if you show it at the polls — the very place where voters have to show a photo ID anyway.”
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