Following problems in last month's Florida presidential primary — including complaints from voters who said they were prevented from casting a ballot because they no longer had a party affiliation — a new measure is being taken to prevent confusion.
After the March 15 primary, News 13 received numerous calls from voters who said they were turned away because they no longer were registered to a major political party.
All had one thing in common: They'd recently updated their driver’s license information.
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When Floridians visit a tax collector’s office to obtain a driver’s license or update their information, they're asked whether they are up to date on their voter registration.
This is when hundreds of Floridians, the majority in Palm Beach County, claimed their voter affiliation had changed. Many claimed they were registered as Republicans or Democrats but instead were listed in the system as "NPA," or no party affiliation. That meant they weren't able to vote in Florida’s closed primary.
Orange County officials denied there was a problem with the "motor voter" system. Tax Collector Scott Randolph said that after examining the state system, the voters' claims that their party affiliation had changed isn't possible.
“It’s a pretty solid system,” Randolph said. “It takes at least three clicks of a button to change a party affiliation when you’re updating your voter reg.”
Randolph said the misunderstanding in last month's election may be a case of voter confusion. But just to be sure that no one leaves the tax collector’s office confused, everyone will now receive a printed receipt verifying their voter registration information.
“My guess would be a lot of these people had always been registered NPA, and they'd never voted in a regular primary,” Randolph said.
But on Randolph’s own voter printout, under "Party Affiliation," it said, “No Party Change.”
So how do you know it’s correct?
“That’s why you’re going to get your voter card in the mail in the next few days,” Randolph said. “Whether it was voter confusion or not, if there was no party change, then you were what you were when you came in the door.”
This will now be the ultimate test of the paper trail system as Florida prepares for another primary in August and the presidential election in November where again the nation’s eyes will be on Florida.
If you would like to check the status of your party affiliation or make changes to your information, officials said to contact your county’s Supervisor of Elections office.