What Is the Constitutional Validity of Updating Voter Registration Rolls Every Odd-Numbered Year ?
In Krivanek v. Take Back Tampa Political Committee, 625 So. 2d 840 (Fla. 1993) the Supreme Court of Florida decided the constitutional validity of a Division of Elections opinion interpreting section 98.081, Florida Statutes (1991), which required the local supervisors of elections to update their voter registration rolls during each odd-numbered year.
More specifically, the statute required the supervisors to mail an information card to registered voters who had not voted in the prior two years. See Krivanek, 625 So. 2d at 841-42.
Thereafter, the registered voter had thirty days to return the information card and, if the voter did not return the card within that time, the voter was temporarily removed from the registration books. Id.
If the voter did not return the card within three years or did not re-register during that time, the voter was removed from the registration books altogether. Id.
The Court explained that "[t]he purpose of these provisions is to assure that voters who have not voted in the last two years are still alive and still reside at the localities indicated on the voter registration rolls." Id. at 842.
The Division of Elections issued an advisory opinion, which interpreted section 98.081 and determined that any voter who had been temporarily removed from the registration books was ineligible to participate in the initiative process. Id. at 843.
Thus, an elector who had been temporarily removed could not validly sign an initiative petition until his or her registration became current. Id.
This Court concluded that the statute and subsequent Division advisory opinion did not violate article XI, section 3 of the Florida Constitution. Id. at 845.
The court held that the temporary removal of electors from the registration books and their corresponding inability to participate in the citizen initiative process prevented fraud and was "necessary to preserve ballot integrity and a valid election process." Id. at 844.
The court stated, "We do not find the interpretation rendered by the Division of Elections to be unreasonable or unduly burdensome." Id.