§ 97.055 Registration books; when closed for an election.
Overview of Statute
This statute states that the registration logs in Florida must be closed on the 29th day before each election, and that they must stay closed until after each election. The statute then provides several exceptions to this rule regarding updating voter names and addresses.
(b) Except as provided in paragraph (c), when the registration books are closed for an election, updates to a voter’s name, address, and signature pursuant to ss. 98.077 and 101.045 shall be the only changes permitted for purposes of the upcoming election. New voter registration applications must be accepted but only for the purpose of subsequent elections.(c) When the registration books are closed for an upcoming election, an update or change to a voter’s party affiliation made pursuant to s. 97.1031 shall be permitted for that upcoming election unless such election is for the purpose of nominating a political party nominee, in which case the update or change shall be permitted only for the purpose of subsequent elections.
s. 2, ch. 25391, 1949; s. 2, ch. 26870, 1951; s. 5, ch. 29934, s. 1, ch. 29761, 1955; s. 3, ch. 65-134; s. 2, ch. 67-530; s. 1, ch. 71-124; ss. 7, 8, ch. 72-63; s. 4, ch. 74-5; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 5, ch. 77-175; s. 7, ch. 80-292; s. 5, ch. 81-304; s. 1, ch. 83-25; s. 27, ch. 84-302; s. 11, ch. 85-80; s. 6, ch. 89-338; s. 12, ch. 94-224; s. 6, ch. 2005-277; s. 8, ch. 2005-278; s. 3, ch. 2005-286; s. 5, ch. 2008-95.
A federal judge recently extended Florida’s voter registration deadline by one day in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew. See http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/10/politics/federal-judge-extends-florida-voter-registration-deadline/ and http://electionlawblog.org/?p=87362. The court issued a temporary restraining order requiring Florida to allow voters to register through Oct. 12, when the books were supposed to close on Oct. 11. Democrats brought a constitutional challenge to the deadline after Fla. Gov. Rick Scott refused to extend the deadline. The court concluded that, “Florida’s statutory framework completely disenfranchises thousands of voters, and amounts to a severe burden on the right to vote,” because there is no provision in the Florida statutes that extends the voter registration deadline in the event of an emergency. Notably, the court applied strict scrutiny but said that even under a more flexible standard, Florida’s statutory framework would be unconstitutional.
After a hearing on Oct. 12, 2016, the district judge granted plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction, further extending the deadline for registration to Oct. 18, 2016. The judge reasoned: “No right is more precious than having a voice in our elections.” Further reading available here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/election/article107693662.html#storylink=cpy, http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/12/politics/judge-extends-florida-voter-registration-deadline-until-october-18/index.html.
1. Definition for Election
Any primary election, special primary election, special election, general election, or presidential preference primary election. Fla. Stat. § 97.021(12).
Case Name: Florida State Conference of N.A.A.C.P. v. Browning
Citation: 522 F.3d 1153
Federal Circuit Court: 11th Circuit Court
Case Summary: Florida State Conference of the NAACP v. Browning held that Florida Code § 97.053(6) was not preempted by HAVA.
Case Name: Diaz v. Cobb
Citation: 541 F.Supp.2d 1319
Federal District Court: Southern District of Florida
Case Summary: Diaz v. Cobb held that Florida's 29 day deadline for submitting a completed voter registration form was constitutionally permissible because it furthered the state's interest in holding orderly elections.
Case Name: Florida Democratic Party v. Scott
Case Number: No. 4:16cv626-MW/CAS
Federal District Court: Northern District of Florida
Case PDF: Fla. Democratic Party v. Scott
Case Summary: Holding that Florida's statutory framework, which does not allow for extension of the voter registration deadline in the event of emergency, is unconstitutional.
Regulations & Guidance
Order Granting Preliminary Injunction After Hurricane Matthew in Fla. Democratic Party v. Scott Order Granting Preliminary Injunction
Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 36, Residence
Fla. Jur. 2d Elections s 57, Generally; uniform statewide voter registration application
0050 SURVEYS 9; Voter Registration