Today, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), Common Cause Florida, and 12 other partner organizations sent a letter to Florida Secretary of State Laurel Lee urging her to “immediately restore the voter information lookup tool on your website so that voters can use your website to find their polling place location and determine the status of their vote-by-mail ballot.” The capability has been deactivated since at least Friday evening.
According to the letter, instead of providing voters with their polling place locations and vote-by-mail ballot status, the tool now simply directs voters to a separate webpage that lists contact information for all 67 Supervisors of Elections (SOEs). Additionally, the Secretary of State’s website still incorrectly advises voters that they can use the voter information lookup tool to check for “voting status including your polling place, sample ballot and vote-by-mail ballot status.”
In order to access the tool, voters must first input their personal information, and then complete a complex online security verification procedure. Only after voters successfully complete these procedures is it revealed that they cannot obtain their polling place location and the status of their vote-by-mail ballot from the voter information lookup tool, and instead must go to their county SOE for this information.
“The Secretary of State’s decision to deactivate the only centralized government website where Floridians can find their polling place and confirm the status of their vote-by-mail ballot is unacceptable,” said Michael Pernick, LDF’s Florida state team lead for the Prepared to Vote and Voting Rights Defender projects. “This change was made without public notice just days before Election Day and will only serve to create confusion and frustration among voters – likely resulting in voter suppression. It is imperative that the Secretary of State restore the full functionality of the voter information lookup tool today so that voters can confirm their vote-by-mail status and easily learn the location of their polling place.”
“Many of our organizations linked to the Voter Information Lookup tool and used communications with our members and through social media outreach to the public to share this information,” said Liza McClenaghan, State Chair of Common Cause Florida. “We are following the National Association of Secretaries of State #TrustedInfo2020 program to promote election officials as the trusted sources of election information. That trust is as broken as the link of the Lookup page.”
The following organizations have signed onto the letter:
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
Common Cause Florida
League of Women Voters of Florida
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
Campaign Legal Center
SPLC Action Fund
ACLU of Florida
Florida for All Education Fund
The Florida 501(c)3 Civic Engagement Table
Fair Elections Center
All Voting is Local
Read the letter here.
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Follow LDF on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.