“That could be an indication that they were not at home,” Clark said. “Their homes could be vulnerable.”
In Citrus County, a citizen is challenging the secrecy provision in court.
Last month, Robert Schweickert Jr., of Inverness, asked Citrus Supervisor of Elections Susan Gill for email addresses of all voters who requested absentee ballots (a voter seeking an absentee ballot in Citrus must provide an email address).
Gill refused to provide the information, and Gov. Rick Scott’s administration supported her stand with an advisory legal opinion noting that the law allows elections officials to withhold release of “such other information he or she may deem necessary” to process a request for an absentee ballot.
The state Division of Elections told Gill: “Because state statutes do not prescribe uniform statewide requirements for absentee ballot requests, you may establish your own requirements.”
Schweickert, who has filed several lawsuits alleging Sunshine Law violations in Citrus County, says the information should be public.
“If a political candidate can get this information, I don’t see why a citizen can’t get it,” he said.
But with last month’s Miami-Dade election clouded by allegations of absentee-ballot fraud, county commissioners recently passed a resolution urging legislators to keep secret the names of voters requesting absentee ballots — even from candidates.
The proposal came from Commission Chairman Joe Martinez, who lost a bid for county mayor last month and has sued to challenge the results, citing absentee-ballot fraud in Hialeah.
If absentee-ballot requests remain secret, he said, campaigns can’t hire brokers to collect absentee ballots because they won’t know who requested them.
“You won’t have anybody knocking on your door, because they won’t know you got an absentee ballot,” Martinez said in July.
Miami Herald staff writer Patricia Mazzei and Times researchers Caryn Baird and Carolyn Edds contributed to this report.