As a result of redistricting, my office was statutorily required to mail new voter
information cards to ALL registered voters. Of the 300,000 + voter information cards that were mailed, nearly 10,000 were returned to us by the United States Post Office as “undeliverable.” Additionally, I received many phone calls and emails complaining about cards that were received for voters who no longer reside at that address, including several reports of voters who no longer live in the state of Florida.
These results were achieved with due diligence to the statutorily prescribed list
maintenance. In spite of the best intentions of the law, the procedure often falls short of the desired results. Protocol requires reliance upon information which is voter generated, e.g. change of address information supplied by the United States Postal Service, jury notices, and the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. As a result, the process is only able to identify those who have proactively reported an address change to these entities, thus leaving the voter registration rolls with thousands of voters still “missing in action.”
The short explanation for this: people move, plain and simple. As simple as the explanation may seem, it’s intentioned to neither excuse the voters who have moved, nor to minimize the complaints of those receiving cards and election materials for others. If we are looking to place blame, it is voters who create this problem when they fail to report address changes to my office, or to notify us when leaving the state.
The fact is there is no crystal ball, and voters who move have an obligation to insure their registration is maintained. Ideally and in a perfect world, if every voter who moved or left the state would notify my office, or at a minimum notify the United States Postal Service, there would be no undeliverable or unsolicited mail being sent from my office. In reality, however, when none of these events occur, there is no way of knowing that a voter has moved. We are then statutorily required to retain voter registrations for these voters through a series of undeliverable mail, and a resultant inactive status through a period of two general election cycles.
Avoidable negligence on the part of inactive voters bloats the registration numbers and artificially reflects lower voter turnout than we actually experience. Too, it can potentially affect the integrity of the elections process by creating a chance that someone can be registered in more than one location. People move and that’s okay, however, it’s imperative that they notify the Supervisor of
Elections! We are a phone call away (800-851-8754) or a click away (www.pascovotes.com). My staff and I stand ready to help!