CS/CS House Bill 1355 has been signed into law by Governor Scott. Below are some of the major changes in election laws effective May 19, 2011:
Presidential Preference Primary Election
The change in law eliminates the current date (January 31, 2012) for the Presidential Preference Primary and creates a 10-member Presidential Preference Primary Date Selection Committee, which will establish the (PPP) date every four years to fall between the 1st Tuesday in January and no later than the 1st Tuesday in March. The date must be selected by October 1st of the year preceding the presidential election.
The change in law provides that the Primary Election be held on the Tuesday 12 weeks prior to the General Election instead of 10 weeks. The Primary Election will be held on August 14, 2012. Due to the change in date for the Primary Election, candidate qualifying will also be two weeks earlier.
The change in law provides for an 8-day early voting period beginning on the 10th day before an election that contains state or federal races and ends on the 3rd day before the election. Early Voting shall be provided for at each site no less than 6 hours and no more than 12 hours per day.
The change in law provides voters who move from county to county the same options for updating their address other than by voter registration application (i.e., in person, by phone, by mail, by e-mail, by fax, or by written signed notice) provided that the change is made directly to the Supervisor of Elections of their new residence. Otherwise they will be required to make their change of address on a voter registration application.
Except for an active uniformed services voter or a member of his or her family, an elector whose change of address is from outside the county may not change his or her legal residence at the polling place and vote a regular ballot; however such elector is entitled to vote a provisional ballot.
Third Party Voter Registration Organizations
Before engaging in any voter registration activities, a third-party voter registration organization must register and provide to the Division of Elections the name and address of the organization’s registered agent in the state and all other information designated by law.
Provides that each registered agent employed or volunteering for the organization be required to sign a sworn statement that they will obey all state laws and rules regarding the registration of voters. Such statement must be on a form containing notice of applicable penalties for false registration.
All voter registration application forms must contain information identifying the organization to which the forms are provided.
The Third Party Voter Registration Organization shall deliver voter registration applications to the Division of Elections or Supervisor of Elections within 48 hours after the applicant completes the application form, or the next business day if the appropriate office is closed for that 48-hour period.