Voter Felony Conviction Verification Procedures
Florida election law (s.98.075, F.S.
) establishes specific circumstances to be considered by county Supervisors of Elections in determining the eligibility of Florida citizens to vote. Included as one of those factors, a voter who has been CONVICTED OF A FELONY and whose rights have NOT been restored, is not eligible to vote.
In order to assist with the identification of ineligible voters, Florida law provides specifically that the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) must provide information to the Florida Secretary of State, Division of Elections, identifying those individuals who have been convicted of a felony who also match to a registered voter in their files. These voters are then notified by the county Supervisor of Elections of their potential ineligibility to vote.
It is important to note that criminal history records maintained by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement are based entirely and exclusively on the submission of fingerprints taken at the time of arrest and booking by law enforcement agencies statewide. Names, dates of birth, social security numbers and other identifying information also provided by individuals at the time of arrest are frequently NOT correct and are often given by the individual as a means to avoid true identification.
Florida voter registration records do not include fingerprints. Instead, voter registration is dependent on the provision of other non-biometric elements, such as name, race, sex, date of birth, etc. These are the identifiers, not fingerprints, that must be used by the Division of Elections to identify Florida’s registered voters who may have been convicted of a felony and may therefore be ineligible to vote, pursuant to law.
Florida registered voters who have been notified by their county Supervisor of Elections
that they are potentially ineligible to vote because of an apparent felony conviction, and who wish to appeal that designation, may wish to contact their local Supervisor of Elections or the Department of State's Bureau of Voter Registration Services and provide specific information for review and verification.
Fingerprints are very often the ONLY way in which positive identification of a registered voter in comparison to a convicted felon can be made. Accordingly, voters should know that FDLE staff may require that the voter be fingerprinted by representatives of the local Sheriff’s Office, and ask that those fingerprints be provided to FDLE as part of the identification process.