ACLU and Advancement Project Issue Guide to Florida’s “No Match” Laws
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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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