30 Florida counties won't follow state's voter ID suggestion

Miami HeraldOctober 27, 2008 

Florida's Broward and Miami-Dade counties have announced that they will buck the state's recommendations for handling voters flagged by the controversial Florida Voter Verification Law on election day, streamlining the process to require less paperwork from challenged voters.

The state's final unverified list, released Monday, leaves the voting status of more than 12,000 newly registered voters in limbo unless they can clear up identification mismatches in driver's license and Social Security databases.

Miami-Dade ranked at the top of the list, with nearly a quarter of the so-called ''no match'' voters. Broward, with 13 percent, ranked No. 3, just behind Orange County.

Statewide, Hispanics and blacks outnumbered non-Hispanics by more than three to one -- and by nearly six to one in South Florida. Democrats outnumbered Republicans about four to one statewide and in South Florida.

The ''no-match'' law, temporarily suspended a year ago after a lawsuit by voting and civil rights groups, applies only to 437,638 residents who registered since Sept. 8. A political rift has erupted over enforcing it.

Last week, Broward Elections Supervisor Brenda Snipes announced she would follow procedures set by Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning that require a two-step process for ''no match'' voters who show up at the polls. First they must fill out a ''provisional'' ballot and then deliver, e-mail or fax ID documents to the elections office within 48 hours.

But Broward elections spokeswoman Mary Cooney said Snipes, a Democrat in a county that is a stronghold for the party, decided to tweak Broward's policy after a weekend talk with Lester Sola, Miami-Dade County's elections supervisor.

Broward will still require a provisional ballot, but if a voter brings copies of a driver's license or Social Security card, that information will be attached to the ballot and no further action would be required by the voter.

''You do not need to do anything further,'' she said. `You have complied with the request to provide proof of identification.''

At least 30 counties are offering similar one-stop options. Miami-Dade's process goes further, allowing unverified voters to use a regular ballot, which can't later be contested, if they supply copies of ID proof.

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