Regarding the Dec. 25 article, Voters told to update signature in advance of Florida's presidential primary." When I received the letter from the Elections Department, I thought it was one more attempt at voter suppression. I may have been wrong, but these are the reasons I thought so:
▪ The letter stated that I had an absentee ballot request on file and had to complete an enclosed voter registration application and check the “signature update” box to update my voter registration record.
▪ The letter and form are confusing with respect to the terms “application” and “update.” First, I have had a voter’s registration for decades, so it doesn’t sound right to speak of my “application” for a voter’s registration. Second, the department’s letter is about updating one’s signature, not applying for a voter’s registration.
▪ There is an unnumbered line in the form, before the numbered rows, that says this is (a) a new registration, (b) to record/update/change something, such as one’s signature, or to request to replace the voter information card. The form says “numbered rows 1 through 7 and 12 must be completed for a new registration.”
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▪ Numbered rows 1 through 7 require identifying information, including name, address, last four digits of social security number, driver’s license number and date of birth. However, there’s no identifying information requested in the other rows, so if one followed the instructions,the department would not be able to identify the voter.
▪ Line 7 is for the “address where you live” and line 9 for the “address where you were last registered to vote.” Last registered can be the same as address where you live.
I’m an attorney used to parsing convoluted language and could figure all of this out, but I wonder how many people get it wrong or are deterred from following up when they receive the letter.